In September of 2015, my husband of 35 years and I embarked on a new phase of our married life, retirement! We took off together in our little 19 foot trailer and lived there together for six months within its confines while we renovated our first son’s mobile home. During that time, we rediscovered what it meant to “date your mate,” and we reaffirmed what Catholic author and speaker Matthew Kelly says we must incorporate into our lives—a monthly day of carefree timelessness. From that period we experienced the knowledge that marriage is indeed one of our seven Catholic sacraments, but monthly dating helps keep it sacred. So if you want to add some romantic spark to your sacramental union, give a few of the following a try. The only thing you will need is a journal to write down your thoughts and the knowledge that each date will only draw you closer.
Dream Together— Check out some travel videos from your library like Rick Steeves. Imagine together.
Get Season Tickets— Invest in season tickets to whatever activity you both enjoy. We have been going to the Seattle Symphony for twenty years now and sitting in the cheapest seats. It is our six-times-a-year dating insurance.
Unplug the Drug— Turn off the TV for an evening and together brainstorm for one fun activity to do. Try one of your kid’s games or cards, or give each other a leg massage or a hair brushing and talk as you go.
Celebrate Sabbath Rest— Really take Sunday off, after Mass of course. Go for a stroll or enjoy an activity together like gardening. And have an easy breakfast meal for Sunday dinner.
Create Your Own Wine Tasting— Purchase two or three wines (or beers), and from the comfort of your home savor and describe and journal them. No need to worry about driving home!
Enjoy the Music— Music sets the mood for love so share the songs you both enjoy and discuss why.
Go Family Camping— That’s right. Dust off the tent and bring the crew. Your date time begins around the campfire when you get the kids to bed.
Try a Round of Miniature Golf— It is still as much fun as it was when you were a kid.
Do a MU— Take each other to a museum like Seattle Art Museum (SAM) then visit the museum gift shop and choose a small item together as a remembrance.
Enjoy It Conjointly— Experience something together like ping pong, Frisbee, hiking or Sunday walks.
Plan a Picnic— Pack it up and go to your local park for a meal. Kids really enjoy this too.
Remember— Pull out the wedding album and reminisce. What would you keep the same? What would you have done
Read a Book— Get The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman out of the library and read it together. Take the test to determine your love language and begin employing it. This has really helped our marriage.
Be a Tourist for a Day— Together visit your town like a tourist would. See places you’ve always wanted to explore but haven’t taken the time to do so.
Lunch on Love— Meet your spouse for lunch. It is less expensive than dinner and often more enjoyable.
Marriage is a sacramental gift, and with any sacrament, it has the power to change us. So make some changes in your schedules and reschedule in marital dating. You’ll be glad you did.