"Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth." (Prov. 5:18) The word "rejoice" in this verse means "to make glad." I think many couples are "rejoicing" on the wedding day, but the daily grind may cause some to go through a reduction in their gladness. Dating may help restore the joy.
When we were in premarital counseling, one piece of advice really stood out: "Go on regularly scheduled dates." I wondered why the counselor had to tell us something so obvious. It seemed to me that people who were already dating would keep up the practice with no problem at all, right?
And then we said, "I do," and we understood.
The dating habit that came so naturally during the courtship (for most couples) can evaporate faster than fog on a sunny day if we're not careful. Dating allows us to stay connected. It reminds me of what happens when the computer is sluggish and you have to restart it to "reboot" it. Rebooting causes the operating system of a computer to load again, and then it works better.
Dating is like a marriage "reboot" that helps a couples' operating system. So what do we do for dates?
- Fancy restaurants make us feel robbed, so we save that for our anniversary once a year. And even then, we don't always do a fancy restaurant! In 2012, we decided that we both wanted gourmet bacon cheeseburgers! Total cost of this fancy date: $31.00.
- Popcorn dates are my personal favorite. We go to a local popcorn shop and buy two bags of buttered popcorn. Then we drive to Post Road and park in the cell phone lot at the airport and watch the airplanes takeoff and land. Total cost of this date: $5.00. It could be done cheaper by bringing popcorn from home, but I want take-out popcorn when I'm on a date!
- Sight-seeing is mostly free, unless you go to national parks, and even then the fees are usually reasonable. Of course, all the driving followed by walking or hiking stirs up an appetite, so expect to spring for snacks. We each had a big warm pretzel while walking around Seaport Village in San Diego. They scalped us because we were in a "tourist trap," but the pretzels were big enough to count as lunch. Total cost: $8.00. It would have been cheaper, but Norman just had to have the pepperoni pretzel.
- Long walks in pretty areas are also no charge, but it's nice if you walk to a location like a cafe or an ice cream shop, share a treat, then walk back. Cost varies, according to your treat, but you can surely keep this kind of date under $10.00.
- When our children were younger, we'd hire a sitter to spend the night so that we could drive 20 minutes into downtown Minneapolis once a year for an overnight stay in a nice hotel. In the morning, we'd stroll the shops, have lunch, and then head back home. If either of you travels for work, save those hotel points for these dates and you will only have the cost of your meals. Otherwise, look for hotel deals online. Cost of this date: depends on your taste in hotels. Just beware of the one-star hotels. You may end up counting bugs instead of sheep.
- Scenic drives are a great way to spend time together. You can stop at a park, and well, you know, park. Hey, married people have licenses for parking and smooching!
- Go on a photo date and take lots of fun pictures together. If your husband will endure it, get matching jackets or sweatshirts for the pics. This will make a memories not only for you and your beloved, but if you have children, they will enjoy seeing a happy Dad and Mom captured in photos.You'll cherish these pictures over the years.
The word "rejoice" is also used in this verse: "Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel." (Prov. 27:9) Here's some hearty counsel: Date your spouse.
"My beloved is mine, and I am his..." (Song of Sol. 2:16)