"More than words is all you have to do to make it real; then you wouldn’t have to say that you love me, ‘cause I’d already know....”
—“More Than Words” as performed by Extreme
Your previous Date Night was all about cherishing your spouse—adopting an attitude that recognizes your mate’s inherent value. Now it’s time to take the next step. This date will focus on nourishing your husband or wife—doing things that demonstrate your love. Cherishing is an attitude, but nourishing is an action.
In other words, nourishing is the process of making your spouse feel loved and cherished. It’s about caring for him or her as a wise gardener cares for a patch of vegetables or flowers—watering, weeding, and feeding as required. Nourishing involves a conscious resolution to identify your spouse’s strengths and find creative ways to stimulate them. It means coming alongside your mate in moments of weakness, speaking uplifting words, and offering needed support.
Looking at it in another way, to nourish is to discover your mate’s “love language” and learn how to speak it. It is to build him or her up in active, practical ways. But just as with the other traits of a thriving marriage, the act of nourishing your spouse won’t happen automatically. It involves an investment of time and energy, and it has to be approached with intentionality.
The Date Night
Remember, always act like you’re trying to get a second date! Sometimes in marriage we forget that we need to pursue and “woo” our spouse. So dress up a bit. Be polite and open doors. Compliment one another. Be affectionate – hold hands, cuddle and steal kisses. Remember to protect your date night from conflict by cutting off any arguments and agreeing to talk about the issue at a later time.
Step 1: Go someplace different for dinner.
Instead of visiting the same familiar locations and eating the same old food, pick somewhere new or try a different type of cuisine.
Step 2: From cherishing to nourishing.
During your previous date you identified some things you cherish about one another. Now, spend some time talking about ways your spouse can nourish you spiritually, emotionally, and physically. This isn’t a time to criticize your partner for his or her shortcomings, but rather to share helpful information that will help you both feel more connected, more intimate. Talk about your own “love language.” What makes you feel loved? Is it when your spouse takes time away from the TV or e-mail to just sit and talk with you? When he or she offers positive words of affirmation? When your mate helps out around the house? When you pray or read Scripture together? Help your spouse better understand what actions make you feel loved.
3. Put it into practice.
Pick an activity that affords you the opportunity to “nourish” your spouse through affirmation, affection, and other practical demonstrations of love. For example:
- Go ice skating—even if, or perhaps especially if—you’ve never done so before or you feel a bit “rusty.” Spend time helping one another and encouraging one another even as your posteriors grow numb as a result of constantly falling on the ice!
- Take a romantic walk around the park and nourish your spouse through affection—hold hands, put your arms around one another, kiss, etc.
- Find a secluded location and pray together. Your smart phone is usually off-limits during a date, but consider using a Bible app to read through a few Psalms together, etc.
Step 4: Relax and unwind. Ready for a few questions?
After your activity, find a quiet place for dessert or coffee to relax and emotionally connect through good conversation. Answer the following questions. Be sure to keep your responses positive, uplifting and encouraging.
- What was your favorite part of the evening?
- What is the one thing you learned tonight that you didn’t know about me before?
- What are some other ways we can nourish one another in the days and weeks ahead?
Step 5: Home Sweet Home
As you drive home, spend time planning your next date. Think about additional ways you can nourish your spouse by putting your love for him or her into action. Once you get home, however, it’s up to you what happens next. Have a great final adventure!