Come, my beloved, let us go out into the fields and lodge in the villages. ESV Song of Solomon 7:11
I took years to learn the importance of regular date nights in our marriage. In our early years, we had no money, and I remember thinking I was being especially generous to treat us to a $5 pizza on Monday nights at Jerry’s Subs and Pizza (there was more grease than pizza). Then we added kids and had to start paying babysitters on top of the cost of dates. I’m cheap, so that became quite painful. However, despite the cost, these regular (or at least semi-regular) outings have significantly strengthened our relationship. While we don’t get out as often as I would like, we always enjoy the times we do get out even if they are unique (we “date” to a lot of funerals. I do the funeral, then we hit Panera for coffee and discussion).
Interestingly enough, in the Song of all Songs, the Shulamite encourages Solomon to go out into the fields and lodge in the villages. It sounds like she wants him to take her to a bed and breakfast. (And guys, in the next verse she says “There I will give you my love.” Take your wife to a bed and breakfast and see what happens….). Perhaps God knew we would need the encouragement to get out by ourselves. Life, jobs, paperwork, yard work–all these work to infiltrate our lives and keep us apart. Regular date nights can fight back on this and help us reconnect. If you have children, you know they dominate your life. Regular date nights help you realize the two of you will outlast your children. (By the way, it’s not a date if your kids are along…I’ve seen way too many people do that, and it’s just not right. Pay a babysitter. Let your kids scream. They will live. The babysitter may never come back, but it will be good for your kids).
Our marriages last until death does us part. For that reason alone, we should invest heavily in them. Paying a babysitter, buying dinner or doing whatever the two of you enjoy should be a priority in your marriage. It’s even commanded in Scripture! (Wives, you can show that to your husbands…just be ready to reward him if he books a bed and breakfast). Date it up!