Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Is the key to a happy marriage really date night?

At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man on his soapbox rant; I can't believe how ubiquitous the idea of 'date night' has become.  I've read about it's importance in books and blogs and heard yet again in a sermon I listened to on line about 'date night' - apparently two words that could save you from divorce.  It seems to be becoming the new buzz word when Christians talk about marriage, the new go to, the silver bullet that will ensure you don't take each other for granted as you grow older together.

If as a couple you confess that you don't have a date night you get a shocked look from Christians that seems to say 'Really, I fear for your future marriage.'  Date night may be a helpful idea for some, it may be a means of ensuring you don't take your wife or husband for granted.  But it is not the eleventh commandment.  It will not in and of itself ensure you have a happy/lasting marriage.  It cannot and must not replace the gospel as the thing we centre our marriages around.

My fear with the 'date night' phenomenon is that we are substituting it for establishing a real gospel intimacy in marriage.  Marriages that take the covenant vows we made before God seriously all the time.  Marriages that are about serving and loving our spouse and presenting them to Christ blameless and without fault.  Date night might be helpful if we view it in the way it was originally meant but my fear is it is becoming idolatrous.  It may end up replacing the gospel as the thing we put at the centre of our marriages.

By all means enjoy your date night but don't impose it on others.  By all means enjoy your date night but do not assume that alone will maintain your marriage and save you from taking one another for granted - sin is not that easily cut out.  By all means enjoy your date night but as the question how can I maximise the grace filled opportunity marriage is not one night a week but use that night to fuel a grace filled life?  How do we regularly build forgiveness, honesty, intimacy, and gospel transformation into life lived together?

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