The Nuts and Bolts of Double Dating

By Erin Smalley
By Greg Smalley
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Focus on the Family
Looking for ideas to use when getting to know another couple? Take a look at these double date tips.

Double dating is an easy, exciting and fun way to invest in another couple — and strengthen your own marriage in the process. You can get together with longtime acquaintances or a couple you’ve just met, maybe from your neighborhood, church, school, or work. The four of you might simply enjoy a quiet meal together or you may want to try out a new adventure, all the while sharing your stories, your experiences, and your lives. And you don’t have to commit to anything beyond one date, though you may have such a great time you end up wanting to get together again and again.

It’s not just about hanging out with couples who are in the same stage of life as you, either. In fact, there are three distinct categories of couples to consider as you double date:

  • Younger Couples — Even if you’ve only got two or three years of marriage under your belt, there’s likely a just-married couple nearby — in your church, at work, or even an extended family member — who would enjoy spending time with a couple just a few years into their marital journey. They can learn from your experience while at the same time feeling like they’re on equal footing with you.
  • Peer Couples — Peer couples are those in the same general stage of life as you. This could include close friends as well as casual acquaintances from church, small group, work, the neighborhood, or your kids’ school. There should be no shortage of conversation topics for your double date: the challenges of career, the joys and frustrations of raising kids, common interests, or shared spiritual beliefs.
  • Older Couples — Whether it’s a couple that has been married just a few years longer than you, or one who long ago celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, you might be surprised at how many older couples would relish the opportunity to hang out with young whippersnappers like you! It can be both fun and rewarding to interact with someone who has stood where you now stand. And the older couple can learn from you, as well.

Double Date Activities

Once you’ve identified some potential couples, it’s time to make your double date happen! Use your creativity to identify interesting, interactive and new activities for your double dates. And don’t forget that the other couple likely has thoughts to contribute. So put your heads together and have fun! Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Baseball Game — A warm summer evening at a baseball game might be the perfect double date activity. There’s enough going on down on the field that you don’t have to feel pressure to fill the entire evening with conversation. At the same time, if you and the other couple do have a lot to talk about, it’s perfectly acceptable to ignore the game altogether and just chat. You won’t be disturbing your fellow patrons in the same way you would be if you started talking in the middle of a movie or a ballet.
  • Miniature Golf — Play couple-against-couple or guys-against-girls, or just have a good old-fashioned four-way competition. You can employ the same approach with bowling, darts, and other low-impact sports.
  • Cooking — This activity comes in handy when your babysitter falls through. Stay home (or go to the other couple’s house), set the kids up in the basement with an assortment of toys and games, and spend the evening working as a team to create a culinary masterpiece.
  • Service Project — Look for volunteer opportunities in your community, and then turn one of them into a double date. This is a great way for couples to give each other a window into the things they feel passionate about (mercy ministry, homeless outreach missions, etc.).
  • Sharing Hobbies — Do you and your spouse like museums? Do you enjoy hiking? Invite another couple to enjoy that activity with you, and then be prepared to engage in an activity that they enjoy. Have fun expanding one another’s horizons.
  • Tour Group — You’d be surprised at how many people in Colorado Springs have never visited the top of Pike’s Peak! Touring local attractions with another couple is a great way to build friendship while experiencing the wonders of the world around you.
  • Camping — This requires more of a time commitment, and may also necessitate the involvement of your kids. And it’s probably not something you’d want to attempt with a couple you barely know. However, under the right conditions, camping can be a great way to deepen your friendship with another couple, only without the time constraints of a two-hour date.

Double Date Discussion

The topics of conversation on your double dates will depend on a number of factors, including how well you know the other couple, and what stage of life each couple is in. Here’s a brief list of potential subjects you might explore:

  • Introductory Information — The usual “conversation starter” topics work well for first-time double-daters. “What do you do for a living?” “Where do you work?” “Describe a typical day in your life.” “Tell me about your kids.” “What are some of your hobbies and interests?”
  • Digging Deeper — Take turns telling your love story: how and where your met, what your courtship was like, funny anecdotes from your wedding and honeymoon, and so on. Additional questions might include: “What were your childhoods like?” “Tell us about your families of origin.”
  • Spiritual — If the couple you’re double dating shares your faith, then you already have a bond that goes deeper than friendship. Share your personal testimonies. Talk about what God is doing in your lives. Discuss your church experiences (but stay positive!). Ask, “How can we pray for you?”
  • Giving and Receiving Advice — Perhaps you’re struggling with an issue at work that you could discuss with the other couple. Or maybe the other couple is experiencing in-law troubles, and you can offer a friendly word of caution based on your own experience. This doesn’t mean your dates should turn into negative venting sessions. But there’s nothing wrong with broaching serious subjects.
  • Parenting — For couples immersed in the childrearing years, it can be tempting to fill every conversation with talk about kids. If you allow this to happen, you’ll likely find your dates to be less fulfilling and enriching. But there’s certainly nothing wrong with sharing stories, anecdotes and advice about childrearing when appropriate.

OK, you’ve got some date night ideas. You’ve got some conversation topics. So what are you waiting for? Get started by identifying just one couple, at any age or stage of life, and ask them out. As you begin to enjoy the benefits of double dating, you may identify other couples in other life stages. But start with one. Muster your courage, walk up to them, and say, “Do you have any plans on Friday night?” It’s as simple as that!

Adapted from Take the Date Night Challenge by Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley, © 2013 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved.

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About the Author

Erin Smalley

Erin Smalley serves as the Marriage Strategic Spokesperson for Focus on the Family’s marriage ministry and develops content for the marriage department. In addition to her work at Focus, Smalley is a conference speaker. She presents with her husband, Dr. Greg Smalley, at marriage enrichment seminars where they guide husbands and wives in taking steps toward enjoying deeply satisfying marriages. …

Greg Smalley

Dr. Greg Smalley serves as the Vice President of Marriage at Focus on the Family. In this role, he develops and oversees initiatives that prepare individuals for marriage, strengthen and nurture existing marriages and help couples in marital crises. Prior to joining Focus, Smalley worked for the Center for Relationship Enrichment at John Brown University and as President of the …

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