This post originally posted on February 14, 2014.
Well, today is Valentine’s Day, a day when love is shared, boxed chocolates are enjoyed and roses are ridiculously over-priced. Don’t get me wrong – when my husband & I were dating, I wanted all of the ‘outward’ expressions of love. Now that we’ve been married for 18 years, I appreciate love more throughout the year than just focused on the day you’re supposed to show it.
One way I appreciate the love my husband and I share is through our date nights. Over the years, our date nights have evolved. As newlyweds, Friday nights and all-day Saturday were our date days. When children came along, our date days became “meet you on the couch after we put the children to bed”. As the children got older and our calendars became more jam-packed, carving out time together would include breakfasts, lunches, dinners, coffee or weekends away. We just wanted to be together, to talk, to look into each other’s eyes as well as each other’s hearts and listen to each other. In my book, date nights (or days) are non-negotiable.
Last fall, I received a copy of 10 Great Dates: Connecting Faith, Love & Marriage by Peter & Heather Larson and David & Claudia Arp. I thought I’d wait until Valentine’s Day to share my thoughts about it. The book was released in September 2013 by Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
About the Book
The book’s purpose is to “help you connect faith, love and marriage in ways that result in a deeper spiritual connection.” The book offers 10 great date night options, each with its own chapter within the book, outlining pre-date preparation, date night tips, and post-date spiritual application.
The date night options are:
- Connecting Faith and Love – You’ll talk about how connecting faith in your marriage can help you build a more loving, growing relationship.
- Appreciating Your Differences – You’ll talk about two key core values: acceptance & forgiveness.
- Experiencing God Together – You’ll talk about factors that bring you together spiritually as you worship God together.
- Getting Into the Word – You’ll be given simple tools to help you grow spiritually through studying the Bible together.
- Loving Your Closest Neighbor – You’ll talk about how to love and encourage your spouse.
- Talking Together With God – You’ll talk about how to overcome some of the obstacles to praying as a couple and practical ways to develop a meaningful prayer life together.
- Building Your Marriage on a Strong Foundation – You’ll talk about the importance of what the Bible calls leaving, cleaving and becoming one.
- Facing the Storms of Life Together – This date will help you talk about how to stay close and face the storms of life together.
- Guarding Your Heart Under God’s Canopy – You’ll look at what it means to have God’s sacred canopy over your marriage and how to guard your heart.
- Making Your Marriage a Lighthouse – You’ll be encouraged to talk about how you can continue to draw close spiritually and how your marriage can be a lighthouse to those around you.
What I Liked
If you notice what each date encourages, you’ll discover what I love about this book. It gets spouses talking to one another. These dates make talking to each other a priority, and I love that. And not just talking to fill time – but meaningful discussions. That’s a winner to me!
I also love that the book takes the guesswork out of what to talk about. It’s so easy to talk about work, children, family and friends but being intentional and having guided spiritual conversations that will benefit your marriage is another winner for me.
What I Think Was Missing
I’m a pretty practical person, so I was expecting more practical ideas. Maybe something like, “Over coffee, talk about…” I wasn’t expecting that there would be ‘homework’ before and after the date. This aspect might be a turn-off to some readers and might result in one of the spouses doing more prep-work than the other.
Also, my husband isn’t a big reader, so I’m not sure how practical that would be. I would see myself as the primary date conversation facilitator, which would be extra work on my part.
Overall, I think the book is a great read for marriage rookies and veterans alike. If you’re looking to make your date night conversation more meaningful, then grab a copy of this book today! Visit their website for more information.
Have you read 10 Great Dates: Connecting Faith, Love & Marriage? What were your thoughts?
Bethany House provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was received.