Regularly scheduled and spontaneous date nights long have been effective for spouses to build and deepen their relationships. But with limited options during a pandemic, marriages have been more stressed and dating is harder than usual. While I continue to advocate for creative date nights, I’ve learned what wives need from their husbands on these date nights. There’s more than just “taking her out” to make a date night really beneficial.
1. Thoughtful PlanningKeeping your wife’s wants and needs in mind is a simple but critical way to say ‘I love you.’
Showing consideration for your wife’s preferences and personality when planning a date tells her that you know her, you care about her, and you are willing to put her desires ahead of your own. This was probably more instinctive and easier in the days when you were wooing her, because you felt you had a lot on the line. The truth is, no matter how long you’ve been married, you still have a lot on the line with every date night you take. Keeping your wife’s wants and needs in mind is a simple but critical way to say “I love you.”
2. Undivided Attention
Nothing says “you’re not important to me” like being near your wife but not being really present with her in the moment. When you are sitting in front of her but your mind is miles away on something else, you risk implying, “I’d rather be anywhere but here.” Put the phone away. Look into each others’ eyes. Don’t ask “yes or no” questions. Avoid conducting family business meetings, saving those important conversations for before or after your date. Walk with her. Talk with her. Be with her, not just near her.
3. Emotional and Physical Connection (without Ulterior Motives)
This is one I struggle with because my love language is physical touch and intimacy with Susan. Her love language is to receive encouragement and affirmation. So we both need to be willing to show affection in meaningful ways, yet while holding our expectations of each other loosely (also a sign of love). For Susan, that means assuring her that I’m not going to assume that physical touch on dates is an automatic promise of intimacy, but rather just to appreciate something as simple as holding hands and deepening our connection in the moment.
4. The Out-of-the-Ordinary
When you do something really unique, you help pull your wife out of the day-to-day grind. You can surprise her with an unusual choice for cuisine or restaurant (avoiding the predictable go-to favorites that can convey being in a rut), or give her a gift. Such details can get you both out of the monotony of kids and schedules, and recapture some of the excitement and discovery from when you first started dating.
5. Your Sincere Adoration
Take an opportunity to remind her, to reassure her, of how much you treasure her. Don’t be the guy who says, “I said I love you when we married, and I’ll let you know if anything changes!” One of the chambers in your wife’s heart is the desire to be desired. Convey how much you crave her in your life, not just sexually but also for her wisdom and friendship, her skills and heart. Don’t assume that she knows, or that she should know. Just tell her, and show her, that you still do.
To further help you, here’s a checklist for before and during your date nights. All of these steps are important in part because they reconnect you both with those earlier, relationship-building days. And while you may think this list is not groundbreaking, remember that even the little things we do consistently can be a big deal in our marriage over time. The goal is to avoid complacency, choosing instead to take every opportunity you have, every day, and especially on those rare date nights, to remind each other of your love and commitment.
Sound off: How do you make dates special with your wife?