How much do you pay for good sex? Would you pay $100 a month to keep it going strong? For double the results, would you pay $200 a month? What if I told you that your spouse wouldn’t be mad at you?
Over a year ago, my wife and I made a deliberate and valuable decision. We decided to start seriously dating again. I mean with each other. We had a healthy marriage for fourteen years, but it seemed to be warranting a higher level of attention and maintenance. Life always gets more demanding doesn’t it? It wasn’t that we had stopped dating, it was just that it only occurred by happenstance, when the calendar happened to allow it. It also never really had a conscious purpose.
We needed each other more than life was allowing. Between raising four children under ten years old, homeschooling, and running multiple businesses, life had gotten busy. You all know what I mean. We all get consumed with responsibilities and get stuck in a tiring routine. Our best is given away all day to everyone else, and our spouse gets the leftovers, if there are any.
After some honest evaluation, we both decided that we needed more time together without any distractions. We haphazardly planned to spend some quality time together when we had time, but it never became predictably available. We realized that other people, events, and organizations were controlling our schedule, and therefore, our relationship. In short, it wasn’t enough of a priority. Boy scouts, tee-ball, dinner with friends, birthday parties, and Netflix should not be higher on the list that our marriage.
So we took decisive action and blocked off the calendar way in advance. The babysitter was reserved for one night per month for six months, and the square was marked “Date Night” in permanent marker. It was all laid out, which meant it could now actually happen.
For six months, the dates happened on schedule. We didn’t bump it when something else came up. It was a sacred space that could not receive an “I owe you” from another pressing need. It was a top priority. We didn’t double date with other couples. We gave ourselves three whole hours just to go out to eat and have conversation. Sometimes it was work and sometimes it was play. Both were big wins. Both were necessary.
Having a nice dinner and paying for a sitter costs about $100 a pop, but we quickly realized that the time and money were worth way more than that. We needed more time, and desired it. We disconnected our cable TV at home, saving about $100 a month, and doubled down on the investment that was paying big dividends. We altered the schedule, and reserved another babysitter for six months, making the date nights happen every two weeks. We’ve kept that going for two years now.
What happened? You already know: laughter, tears, memories, good times, deep connection, growth, stress relief, and real intimacy. This simple act of planning and discipline produces invaluable results.
We enjoy the break from the grind and from the kids. We bask in the non-hurried conversation and enjoy a slow dessert. We learn what fear, stress, excitement, joy, and desire are on each other’s mind. We work together to make future plans and to sort out problems. We enjoy ourselves and are reminded that we are in this together, and that we’re a pretty good team.
There are 720 hours in a given month. Reserving 6 of them for relationship maintenance is reasonable, right?
I can honestly say that this standing reservation is probably the most beneficial thing we have done in the last decade. I cannot recommend it enough. For the price of cable TV or unlimited text messaging, you can buy steroids for your marriage, or at least life insurance for it.
If you don’t already do something similar, try it out. If it’s a bust, dinner is on me.
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