I have realized through this series it may come across that I plan most of our dates. I just want to clarify that this is not true. I am the one posting because our family setup allows me to have a bit more time to blog but leaves very little time for Bill to do so. Bill does read over all my posts before publishing them, so you could often just as easily read the “I” to be Bill. Having said that, neither does Bill plan all the dates, and I’d like to explain why.
There is a school of thought that says only the man should plan dates, most often to show male leadership in romance in the relationship–which we gladly affirm. But, as Bill has said to me about this issue, “If I planned all of the dates, then they would only be as creative as the ideas I could come up with and would totally ignore all the creativity you bring to our marriage.” We don’t have dates just for the sake of having them, but as a venue to really connect in a way that we can’t in normal daily life. So, while we do agree that men should lead in all parts of a marriage–romance included–we also agree that God set up marriage for both spouses to take joyful responsibility in romancing and caring for each other. It just looks different for each sex and for each person. Besides, we feel like it would make for a really one-sided relationship if only one of us planned all of the dates. Therefore, we usually take turns planning both our in-home and out-of-home dates. When I have opportunities to plan some of our dates, it gives me an chance to challenge myself to think about my husband’s needs and desires and to try to creatively love him in different ways and vice versa. In that vein, it allows us to plan outings or gifts for the other that they wouldn’t necessarily do for themselves. In this, we make opportunities not only to carve out time for one another, but to do so in ways that show our deep love for each other tangibly.
Incidentally, the way we plan often gives insight into our spouse’s desires. For example (truly an example, not an actual scenario for us), Bill doesn’t like coffee, so it might never occur to him to take me to a coffee shop. Because I love coffee, that might be the first thing I think of when planning a date. If I plan a coffee shop date, it gives Bill a glimpse that this is a kind of date that might bless me in the future. On a side note, we should be planning our dates around blessing our spouse, not ourselves, so it probably wouldn’t be a wise decision for me to plan a coffee shop date when I know Bill doesn’t like coffee. 🙂 In so doing, we become a better “student” of our spouse and learn more of them so that we can in the future show them even more specific forms of love. Planning dates becomes a playful challenge for both of us where we ask ourselves each time, “How can I bless my spouse in particular for this date?” And that’s really the bottom line for us when it comes to dating each other.