Do you remember when you first started dating that person who is now your significant other? I bet you do. I remember it clearly. I would leave my parents' house and pull into her driveway. I had spent time getting ready in hopes she would think I was attractive. Earlier in the week I had spent significant time thinking through what we do when this moment arrived. As I sat in the driveway, my heart would be racing. I would exit the car, walk up to the door, and ring the doorbell. One of her family members would answer and I would wait with anticipation to see her walk out of the hallway and into the room. As she entered, I would be flooded with emotions as I was privileged to behold the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen. I would get to repeat this process week after week as we dated. It was wonderful. It was romantic. It was falling in love.
Cut to now. We have a one and a half year old with another on the way. Life is crazy. Going anywhere feels exhausting. To go out on a date, we have to work through the arrangements to line up a baby sitter schedule and our time is a bit more limited than it used to be. We get ready in the same place. Things are different than they used to be and that's to be expected.
Why Keep Dating?
I've been privileged with good mentors and examples in my life who made it a priority to date their wives. I was shown the importance of a regular date night with my wife by guys in my life who modeled that week in and week out when I was younger and single. I am increasingly grateful for their example and my hope is to lay out a case for husbands to make it a priority to keep dating their wives.
It was so easy for Rachel and I to have a weekly date before we had children. It was just us and we were free to go and do as we pleased. Now that we have a child, I can easily see why parents quit dating. I can easily see why kids become the focus of the family. Kids have different things going on and it takes extra work to make sure they're taken care of while you go out. Many times, by the time the date rolls around, you feel exhausted from taking care of your kids or getting everything into place. It's hard. I get it. But it's so worth it.
Christ and the Church
God's design for husbands and wives is for their commitment to one another to be of greater strength than that of their kids. I know that can sound crazy, but one day your kids will leave your house and it will be just you two once again. Our goal for our kids is to steward them well and raise them to be devoted followers of Christ who can thrive on their own. Our goal with our spouse is to be a picture of Christ and the church.
That is what marriage is: a picture of Christ and the church. That is why marriage is such a serious commitment. Christ doesn't give up on His bride. Christ gave His life for His bride. Christ is unwaveringly committed to His bride. This is how husbands are to be with their brides because they are a living picture of that unwavering commitment.
Men, we are to pursue our brides relentlessly. We are to love them, lead them, and do the hard work of knowing their hearts. This is why I believe dating your wife is so crucial.
Dates allow for time with just husband and wife. There are no distractions. It's just husband and wife remembering why they said, "I do" and doing the hard, but joyous work of digging deep into one another's hearts and fanning the flame of unwavering, committed love to one another.
Maybe you're thinking that this all sounds nice, but we're in a tight spot. Maybe you don't have access to that babysitter or maybe funds are really tight. I understand this happens, but you can still date your wife. In this context then you may have to put in a little more thought or planning. Maybe you set a table and enjoy a dessert or appetizers together once the kids are in bed. This way you can have a date at home. It's not the event that makes the date, it's the intentional, focused time together.
You want to know one another because as we get older, we grow and change. When the kids leave, we don't want to be left with a stranger sitting across from us. We want to look across the table and see someone we know and love deeply and intimately. We want to see that person that we're excited to enter into the next stage of life with.
Husbands, please keep dating your wives.