How to Have a Great Date Night

5 pointers for enjoying your next date night.

Couple out on date night with soft lighting.

Date night is a great way to connect with the person you love. Since dating can help a couple feel closer to one another, I recommend this as a must-have for any couple looking to improve their marriage. Many couples get so busy with life that  they struggle to remember the last time they went on a date or their last memory of a date with each other isn’t a pleasant one. But, done correctly, date night can bring a special closeness in your relationship and increase your positive feelings toward one another. Here are five pointers for making your next dates night a big success:

Date night does not have to occur at night.

While I personally like the way “date night” sounds, date night can actually be in the morning, in the afternoon, or in the evening. A morning date may be a cup of coffee together, an afternoon might include a walk in the park, and an evening date may mean dinner. Pick a day and time that works well for you and your spouse. Some of my favorite dates with my hubby is an afternoon drinking coffee and reading. It’s a joy of ours to read “alone but together” and occasionally glance at one another, touch each other’s hands, share a new snack, or talk about something interesting from the book. And, when we leave the coffee shop, we often talk about something meaningful or interesting from the book. For us, reading is a great way to pave the way for greater connection. By the way, if you’re looking for some new marriage books, check out this post from earlier this week. (more…)

Three Marriage Books You Should Buy Today.

Couple smiling reading books together

I truly love to read. The only problem is there simply are not enough hours in the day to read all of the books that I want to. I’m always on the lookout for new books to add to my “favorites” so I can offer those to people when they ask directly about books for marriage or intimacy. Today, I’m sharing three of my favorite books about making your marriage a little more fulfilling. 

#1: From Anger to Intimacy by Gary Smalley and Ted Cunningham

There are a few reasons I love this book. First of all, this book is incredibly practical for a couple to read together. The authors don’t use clinical language, but instead tell stories about times when conflict happened in their marriage and easy-to-take action steps (or at least easy to understand) toward reducing conflict. They give a step-by-step action sequence for reducing conflict, but go beyond that to help you identify the ‘why’ that conflict occurs in your marriage.

The title might lead you to believe that this is a book that is mainly for couples with one spouse (or two) that gets angry easily, but in actuality, this book can be used even if you wouldn’t describe yourself as angry. In fact, they describe a form of anger that is less intense than most think of when they think about anger in marriage. The authors do such a great job of explaining how to do conflict well that I really believe it is a must have for any couple that has any difficulty resolving conflict. (more…)

Embracing the Sacred in Your Marriage

Pic of sacred marriage

There’s this old joke: Marriage has three rings. The engagement ring, the wedding ring, and the suffering. Hmmph. It’s sad that so many people expect marriage to be a burden. The truth is, for the Christian, marriage is a sacred union between husband and wife and a great place to love, be loved, and become more Christ-like.

Unfortunately, many couples fail to see marriage as the sacred place that it is. Instead, marriage has been seen more as a “temporary condition.” Some couples operate on the belief that:

-all couples cheat, so if I look around it’s not a big deal
-nobody is happy in marriage
-I got married too young and probably made a mistake
-if I were married to a better, more loving spouse; things would be different

As a therapist, I almost weekly hear somebody say that they’re pretty hopeless and believe marriage cannot be a place of happiness, and while marriage wasn’t really created solely for your happiness, I know that marriage can be a place of incredible healing, hope, and joy.

So what about those couples who have marriages that are unfulfilling on good days and downright tragic on bad days?

Truthfully, some couples are guilty of not having a “good” marriage because of their own silliness or bad behaviors. It’s a little bit rare to have marriages that are bad or difficult because of only one spouse. Typically, both play a role.

I’ve talked before about when your spouse makes you angry and the truth is that anyone can get to the place where they are blaming, or even hating their spouse for some behavior that’s undesirable. The belief that “my spouse should be more like me” can make it difficult to ignore little flaws.

My husband and I sometimes mention the things that drive us nuts about one another. We readily admit that we can get in the habit of getting so annoyed by one of these behaviors that we get angry with one another. But, that really does come down to a problem with unmet expectations. When I expect certain behaviors of him or think that my way is right, I’m bound to be met with some disappointment. My husband is not responsible for meeting all of my expectations. I can’t expect him to act like me or think like me in every situation. We wouldn’t have wanted to get married if we thoughts just alike. How boring that would be!

Look, you’re married. That means there are going to be things that your spouse does that drives you to the brink of insanity. But, you can overcome those feelings by giving some grace and allowing your spouse to be imperfect. By the way, I’m not talking about allowing outright sinful behaviors. I’m just talking about the minor imperfections.

What does it mean to have a sacred marriage?

One of the books I often recommend to people is Gary Chapman’s Sacred Marriage. He does a phenomenal job of reminding Christians that one of the primary aims of marriage is to make us more Christ-like. Again, not the only reason (my words, not his), but a primary reason. (more…)

I have this video added on the “Ask A Question” page on my site, but wanted to put it here so it can more easily be seen.

I had a reader contact me recently asking “if we both agree on a particular behavior, then is it okay to engage in that sexual behavior?”

I’ve actually been asked that question more than once, so I wanted to provide a Biblical-based answer for you. In just over six minutes I let you know my thoughts on this question.

Do you have a question you want answered? You can ask it right here.