Last week, we talked about how to have an exceptional marriage. Today, I want to share with you how we connect on a much deeper level. Weekly date nights are a big part of it. I want you to have that too.  Even if you have eight children, I want you to make your marriage a priority and schedule a weekly date night. 

When I’m speaking, I ask the question, “Who wants an exceptional marriage?” Almost every hand goes up. But then I ask them to keep their hands up and I ask them this very important question, “How many of you have a weekly non-negotiable date night?” 

Almost every hand goes down. Then I tell them the hard truth. “Your chances of having an exceptional marriage are very small if you aren’t prioritizing your marriage.” John Gottman of the Gottman Institute has done extensive work on divorce prediction and marriage stability, “The plain and simple truth is — date nights make relationships.” 

Date nights are simply a special date once a week that you make a priority. Sitting together watching a Netflix show doesn’t count!  Look, I get it…you haven’t been on a date for years and now you are super busy with kids, sporting events, and a million other kid related activities. 

But you can’t wait for date nights to happen after the loads of laundry are finished, you’ve paid the bills, reconciled the accounts, and all other “duties” are done to make this happen. Date nights are planned and prioritized.

A date night is a pre-planned time where the two of you leave your home and work life and spend a set amount of time focusing on each other.  It’s where you really talk to each other and get curious even after 20-30-40 years together. 

Scott and I are great at date nights, but we had been counting watching Peak Blinders on Netflix as a date night. We also used to ALWAYS talk about our kids and work during date nights. When you’ve been married to someone for almost 20 years you forget how to talk about anything else.  

I have two books that have been helping us evolve our conversations. The first is called “Eight Dates” by John Gottman. It talks about eight dates and gives you prompts around specific topics such as Trust and Committment, Addressing Conflict, Sex and Intimacy, etc.

And then Maggie Reyes, who I mentioned in last week’s Joy Drop recently released “Questions for Couple Journal”, which has fun questions you can ask your partner. On Friday nights Scott and I sit out on our deck with a glass of wine and ask each other the questions. We talk about our innermost hopes, dreams, frustrations, and fears. 

Pop on over to our free Facebook Group, She Finds Joy, and let me know how your date nights are going or if you find either of these books helpful.