In September of 2015, my husband of 35 years and I embarked on a new phase of married life, retirement! We took off together in our little 19-foot trailer and lived there in sync for six months while we renovated our first son’s mobile home.
During that time, we rediscovered what it means to “date your mate,” and we reaffirmed what Catholic author and speaker Matthew Kelly states, "We must incorporate into our lives a monthly day of carefree timelessness." From that period, we recognized 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'll need is 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 brainstorm for a fun activity to do. Try cards or one of your kid’s games, 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 don't forget to have an easy breakfast meal for your Sunday dinner.
Create Your Own Wine Tasting— Purchase two or three wines (or beers) or something non-alcoholic, and from the comfort of your home, savor, 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.
8. 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 for remembrance.
9. Enjoy It Conjointly— Experience something together like ping pong, Frisbee, hiking, or Sunday walks.
10. Plan a Picnic— Pack it up and go to your local park for a meal. Kids really enjoy this too.
11. Remember— Pull out the wedding album and reminisce. What would you keep the same? What would you have done differently?
12. Hold Hands in Public--This includes at Mass too.
13. Be a Tourist for a Day— Together, visit your town as a tourist would. See places you’ve always wanted to explore but haven’t taken the time to do so.
14. Lunch on Love— Meet your spouse for lunch. It is less expensive than dinner and often more enjoyable.
15. Read a Book Together-- Our son, Mark, gave us a book called
Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples. We each had our own copy to mark up and discuss. Or another option is to read a book of poetry aloud if you both enjoy it, or even if you don't! Reading together is an interactive way to date your mate because you'll learn what he or she really thinks through discussion.
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.
Martha Wild King, M. Ed., Author
The Frugal Catholic: Learn to live on less to give and save more.