Tuesday, February 10, 2009

#64 Date Night

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Married people in Christian culture like to talk about date night. It is considered vital to a successful marriage and is a frequent topic of discussion.

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Multi-campus churches often put on programs to help facilitate date nights and the Young Marrieds ministry will advise you to establish a weekly date night early on. There is an 88% chance that the handout on date night from said Young Marrieds church group will picture either

a) a rose and/or rose petals in soft focus,

b) two people whom we presume to be married who are wearing black with narrow-rectangle glasses (the woman will have chunky highlights circa 2004, the man will have a goatee), or

c) a contented white couple wearing Eddie Bauer.

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And for those who have not yet been blessed with a spouse, Jesus is always free for date night.

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33 comments:

Mike Edwards said...

I do enjoy spending time with my wife. These pictures give me the heebeegeebees though. eww.

ShariMacD said...

Craig and I get a babysitter and go out to the movies almost every week, and I always feel the impulse to call this our "date night," but then saying it always makes me feel incredibly dorky and creeps me out because of exactly what you're saying here. Ew.

Trev said...

Call it what it is: Weekly fornication night.

jonathan said...

I love how purely honest this blog is. I go to a multi-campus church and sure enough..they use all kinds of gimmicks. I find it especially funny to see things mentioned in this blog that i had never realized before and then see them played out in church on sunday. its quite amusing.

Good Girls Studio said...

Jesus is my Valentine :)

Bruno said...

OH LORD!!!

Tony said...

I know it's really cheesy. I know. But it's still really important. We went retro in our church. We called it The Love Boat. Ok. I know. CHEESE. But we saw guys valuing their wives and taking them out for a nice dinner and a movie. We even created an uber cheesy web site called jumpontheloveboat.com to help with some suggestions on how to take better care of each other. OK OK I know. Cheesy. But effective.

stephy said...

I guess my question is, you see them "valuing" their wives, but are they really? Just because they take them out for whatever, however nice, does that mean they truly value them and are loving them well? This is my issue with Christian culture, that it's filled with programs and activities that are fine but they have nothing to do with heart issues.

stephy said...

And it disturbs me that you say it's effective. That is the root of the problem right there. You say it's effective. Effective at what? Having them act like things are great? They could be great and they could be awful; you can never tell just by looking.

jonathan said...

Stephy, well said. I agree. I hate how christian culture has become one big facade. Christians pretending to have it all together, but yet they are falling apart on the inside. Just look at Todd Bentley, and Ted Haggard to name a few. But even on a much smaller scale, in the local church, this seems to ring true. Thus, the criticisms pertaining to hypocrisy within the church is, in many cases, legitimate. Ive been faced with the question of "what is authentic Christianity" a lot within the last year and I think it would be healthy if more people questioned their beliefs and stripped away all this pretentious garbage. Faith unquestioned is no faith at all.

JNoah said...

When I was in college, I once had a girl tell me she couldn't go out with me because she was having a date with Jesus on the night I asked her. I don't care if it is the Son of God, getting dumped for another guy SUCKS!!!

Carm said...

Wow. I didn't know I could have been having date night with Jesus. I just celebrated Valentine's day with laundry and "What Not to Wear." :)

Steve said...

Date night with Jesus? For whom, nuns?

Tony said...

I get what your saying. And it is a heart issue. But I don't get why you are slamming this issue. Some men never take their wives out for a special night. So you think we should stop encouraging men to make time for their wives? I am a bit frustrated reading the comments on this post because we are trying to help our men see the importance of caring for and loving and treating their wives with honor and value. And a date night is part of that. To simply dismiss the "date night" routine as non valuable disturbs me. My "date nights" with my wife are important to me and to her. It's part of how I value her and it helps me keep that as a priority.

And I think it's quite easy to label all Christians and all churches by the actions of a handful of people like Haggard and Bentley. Come on. Seriously. We all need Jesus. We all need authentic Christianity. We all need to "stripp away all the pretentious garbage." But when I read my Bible, it says I should love my wife as Christ loved the church, laying down my life for her. For me, and I am just saying for me, a date night is part of that process.

stephy said...

I tried to post this twice and it's not seeming to work, so we'll see what happens this time!
So yeah, Tony I hear what you're saying and I'm not trying to slam date night per se. You say that for you, date night is a part of the process of loving your wife. That's awesome. But I am just pointing out that Jesus didn't say to go on date nights. I think we run into trouble when we add to what Jesus said, and that's what Christian culture does, is take the uncomfortable gray areas and make them black-and-white somehow. A guy could take his wife out for date night and be thinking about golf the whole time and not be present for her. Then what good is it? I'm just saying, it's slippery when we try to define what the bible doesn't define.
I hope this makes some sense, and I also hope it posts this time. ahhh

Tony said...

I am fairly frustrated trying to comment on this. Divorce rate is higher than ever. Marriages are fragile and in decline. Men and women are trying to work things out. And some churches are trying to move our men and women forward in nurturing and loving each other as a testimony of what love should look like. And we are saying to take a couple of hours out once in a while for a date night to help firm up marriages. I give up. No more comments from me on this. It's no longer profitable or productive I don't think.

stephy said...

One last thought - my parents' friends and also a church deacon in my church growing up all got divorced, and they were vigilant about keeping their date nights. It's something to think about.

Cabernet Leather said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cabernet Leather said...

I think Tony has a good point. I think a date night is a good way to prevent your marriage from going dry. Obviously taking your wife out for dinner isn't going to solve problems in your marriage but I reckon it's helpful for guys to keep treating their wives with the same respect they had when they were first married. Of course that in itself can go dry if the husband is just thinking about golf or something.

Having said that, the term "date night" is incredibly cheesy and makes me cringe and almost makes me glad I'm not married.

Shaw said...

I think the problem here, as Stephy says, is not date night per se, but the shrink wrapping, marketing, and systematizing (and ultimately, trivializing) of different aspects of life. I'm all for date night, and confess to having scheduled one here and there. Probably not enough, mind you. Though I do find some of the comments strange in their assumption that, this automatically means "men making more time for their wives" or "men taking their wives out." We just kind of "go out when someone suggests it and sometimes dress a little nicer, but usually not." Maybe I'm just a crappy husband. Oh well, I'm off to non-curch sponsored "sleep night."

Mark (under construction) said...

thankyou for sharing this Steph - I think it is something we can replicate here in Oz do you think Dr Dobson would come as well? It would not be good to date a married person would it?

gtrglenn said...

We've been married 27 years and have dated very sporadically. The real secret to our success? Two words: separate vacations. Say it ain't so! Yes its true. She needs time to be her without me and I need time to be me without her. We just enjoy different things. I am in a band. She doesn't like our music. She likes music I don't like or can only take in small doses. Let's get serious. Relationship's need to breathe. Time apart, then time together, and comparisons to other ideal couples don't help you and your spouse find what works for you. My oldest son has been married three years. He and his bride work in the same computer chip plant. They drive to work together, eat their sack lunches together, and by can't seem to keep their hands off each other. It works for them. His mother and I tried working together early in our marriage. It lasted a day and then was mercifully over. She needs space while I need people and touch. She needs alone time to create, and I need people and noise. My ideal vacation is going to see family. Her's is going to a destination for an experience and not having to know anybody. When opposites attract, like my sweetie and me, it's o. k. to keep nurturing some of the things that make us opposite and keep the sparks a flyin'. The most loving thing I can give her is permission and support to be who she is and likewise. Our dates are fun, but they don't have to be often.

Anonymous said...

My parents took separate vacations for years. Then they realized "why not just be separated all the time?". So after 25+ years they got divorced.

I don't recommend separate vacations unless it's a bachelor party in Vegas, totally different.

Mikey said...

"Datenight With Jesus"? S'funny, I wasn't aware He had His own talk show. I'm sure, though, He'd get more ratings than both Letterman and Leno; neither of whom could turn water into wine.

anicia said...

Stephy--reading what you wrote was exactly what I'd been wanting to say but couldn't figure out how to say it. It is SO true. Date night or not deal with whats really going on in your marriage--not just what some church program tells you to do to have a "healthy" marriage. Man...I really like this blog.

Grrlvert said...

Date Night - Seriously, if there is such a giant problem in any given religious group that they have to ENCOURAGE this kind of thing, there are some serious root causes that need to be looked at, not just encouraging 'Creepy Date Night'.

Like for instance, the value of women in society and the equality of a woman in marriage? There's a start.

Oh wait, nevermind. In Christianity, women aren't equal. I guess that explains it.

Ben Horner said...

Chunky highlights are SOOOO date night, and the goatee goes w/out saying.
GENIUS.

Anonymous said...

I know you don't cover this until #80, but this is such a stupid post! If Christians won't date, who will? All the youth are just "hooking up" these days with no courting whatsoever! Good grief does this post make me angry! What's wrong with dating your hubby??

Grimalkin said...

Anonymous - The problem isn't with "dating your hubby," but with imposing a superficial structure. It turns a date into Date Night, an official thing that the couple needs to get through, just like doing the dishes or cooking dinner.

Personally, I also think that it separates families. It says that there's grownups and there's kids, and while the grownups may tolerate the kids most of the time, they need a night away from them to be happy.

My husband and I don't have date nights; we don't bother celebrating anniversaries or valentine's day, either. We enjoy our time spent together with our son, and it's something that we do spontaneously because we like each other and enjoy each other's company. If you need to schedule time together, I'd say there's something going wrong either in your life or in your marriage.

Speaking of dating, we never dated either, actually. We just met, realized we loved spending time together, and then just sought each other out whenever we could. We've tried formal dates, but we've never enjoyed the pomp.

Then again, we're atheists, so maybe we just don't "get" it.

Lennyb said...

C'mon Stephy! What do you call it when you and your hubby go out at night?

stephy said...

We call it fuckin going out to see a show or a movie or to a taco truck!

Lennyb said...

Mmmmm, food carts ...

fgotsasoamotatt just doesn't roll off the tongue quite as nicely though.

brianoverholt said...

Sometimes these date night things that churches do -- along with other things that help couples (particularly husbands) to put the romance back in their marriage -- can actually be really effective.

I won't try to make the case that it's the whole solution if your marriage relationship is missing a spark. But sometimes it is a help to men that really love their wives but are romantically illiterate. what doesn't come easily to a lot of guys can sometimes be learned if you create an opportunity practice it as a community so the guy doesn't have to feel like an idiot husband all by himself... He can be one of many idiot husbands that are all learning what makes their own wives feel loved and valued.

... It's true that going through the motions like that doesn't mean that he really values his wife... But some guys do really value them and are just not good at speaking their wife's language (I mean, come on... They're guys). Sometimes these date nights can help a couple "learn" each other.