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Why We Choose Date Night

Jonathan and I spend all of our time together. We live together, we work together, and everything else in between (it’s a good thing we like each other). We’ve only been married two years, I know I certainly don’t have all of the wisdom in the world to share, but it has not been 2 years without lessons - so I share what I have.

I had a newly married friend say to me “I don’t understand why people would go on dates after they’re married, I spend all of my time with my husband already.” And if that were the case, Jon and I would be the prime examples of date-night-exclusion. But more than anything, we‘ve found dates, now that we are married, to be of even higher importance, not less. Some nights I come home (aka upstairs from the office) and look at Jon - who I spent the entire day working 500 feet from - and genuinely miss him. Marriage is not about proximity, and a relationship will not flourish if it’s left to survive on that alone.

Even so, dinner and a movie won’t change anything without intention, so we’ve chosen to pursue our dates in such a way that they center us back on the Gospel. Every week, we hold ourselves to and hear the other on four questions:

 

  1. What are you proud of?
  2. What are you not proud of?
  3. What are you proud of me for?
  4. How are you doing spiritually?

 

It has not only forced us to grow individually as we process our thoughts and all the feelings that come with them, but grow together as we understand the other more. When I hear Jon lay out what he is proud of, I see where I can push him further and cheer him on for the next week. When I hear him express what he is not proud of, I see exactly where he needs encouragement and what I can focus on lifting up for the next week. Listening to him tell me what he is proud of me for can impact my whole view of myself. They’re not always things that I remember happening - moments that passed by, but that he held on to and treasured. It is incredibly powerful to hear him repeat those moments back to me in admiration, and to do the same in return.

Describing how we are doing spiritually is less of a report card on the number of times we read our Bible and prayed and more of a reminder of grace. Faith isn’t easy, and it takes community and vulnerability. We must be vulnerable enough to admit that we are struggling and to accept the grace that God requires nothing but our self-surrender. Both Jon and I need that reminder too often, and giving each other space to confess our weaknesses is when we find strength - as we point each other back to Christ.

Confession is never easy, but marriage can not survive without it. Creating a space that promises grace allows both of us to be and feel completely safe, trusting that the other desires our best. Admitting what I’m not proud of is hard; I’m not proud of it and I want to hide it - but it’s in the light that it can be redeemed and used for God’s glory. Together we are learning how to use our date nights to pull each other up and towards the Gospel - where we have nothing to be proud of, and yet stand unashamed, under the blood of Jesus.