The most critical element in a perfect marriage is communication. Not just information sharing but real, personal, intimate communication. One of the best tools to make it happen is dating. Our own home often is a barrier to intimate communication because of all the distractions. The kind of communication that effectively builds unity in the relationship takes time and in our own homes there are so many things that interrupt before much time can be spent on a regular basis. Kids, television, grandkids, our regular activities that we can see reminders of as we try to talk, cell phones, and a hundred other things. Also we get programmed in our home to just give information because of the schedules we keep we are usually in a hurry to do something or go someplace.
A husband who plans a date communicates value and worth to his wife. My personal goal is to plan a date once a week with Patty. We don’t make that goal, but we do probably average about 3 times each month. Our favorite date is to go to a restaurant because it lends itself to conversation sitting on opposite sides of a table making eye contact, waiting for our food and eating casually and drinking a cup of coffee after the meal. There is easily an hour of talking about a lot of different things but because of the time available it is much more intimate than normal conversation that happens on the fly in our everyday life.
In the early days of our marriage we didn’t have a lot of money so we seldom had a full meal, often just a piece of pie and a cup of coffee and many times just the coffee. We often would get a baby sitter after the kids were all in bed and go to WinCo shopping. I would push the cart and follow Patty as she put groceries in it. Then we would go to Shari’s restaurant which was a couple of blocks down the road from WinCo, both which were open 24 hours a day, and have a piece of pie. We sometimes would get just one piece, and split it, and get a cup of coffee or even just a glass of water, and talk for an hour.
Because of our regular times of talking we would both postpone talking about things that bugged us, or events where we were hurt or offended until we went on our date. Because of the delay we were usually much less emotion about the event and could talk about it calmly and rationally, and arrive at a solution or reconciliation. Because we planned on talking about things that were tough we approached the time much less defensively than if we discussed it at home impulsively.
We also have driving dates where we will drive up to see family or some other location, and talk in the car on the way. We both talk well in the car sitting next to each other, and there are no interruptions.
Patty and I have been married 51 years, raised 8 kids, have been very busy with ministry in our church, and have a very good marriage. I know that a key reason why is the regular times of escaping from the regular routines if life to connect.