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The Little Book of Great Dates
By GREG SMALLEY, ERIN SMALLEY
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2013 Focus on the Family
All rights reserved.
A NEW YEAR'S DATE
The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul.
—G. K. Chesterton
LET'S FACE IT, IN TODAY'S world the idea of New Year's resolutions is often met with a fair amount of cynicism. Resolutions were made to be broken, right? Whether it's losing weight or starting an exercise program or reading the Bible more, most people start with the best of intentions, only to discover by mid-February (if they even make it that long) that they've gotten completely off track.
But what if you could work on a resolution in partnership with someone else? That's the beauty of a marriage-related New Year's resolution! In resolving to invest in your marriage, to have a monthly date night, or to set other positive goals for your relationship, you automatically have someone in your corner who is pursuing the same goals and will encourage you in your resolution. Why? Because having a stronger marriage is something couples work on together. It's a resolution that can be accomplished only as a team.
ACTIVITY: With the idea of new goals and new beginnings fresh in your minds, consider making this a morning date. Rather than going out for dinner, go out for breakfast and talk about setting positive goals for your marriage while you're both fresh and wide awake. If you're typically not a morning person, be sure breakfast is accompanied by lots of coffee or a similarly caffeinated beverage! If breakfast isn't your thing, think about doing another morning activity together, such as working out, playing racquetball, or going for a hike.
QUESTIONS: Either during your activity or afterward, discuss the following Questions: What are some positive goals we can set for our marriage over the next six months? The next year? How can we work together to achieve these goals? Is there a specific area you feel God wants us to work on together, as a team, to make our marriage the best it can be?CHAPTER 2
WE'RE A TEAM!
Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.
THE BEST TEAMS ARE PASSIONATE about their goals. If you're going to be part of a Super Bowl championship team, you need to do more than just wear the uniform. You need to be committed to your team's success. Individual players don't win games; teams win games. The same is true in marriage. Being married means doing more than just wearing a wedding ring. Rather, you wear the ring as a symbol of the commitment you made before God and humankind to be united. In every sense of the word, a husband and wife are a team.
The Bible reminds us that "the body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ" (1 Corinthians 12:12). And so it is with your marriage. Each of you brings your own personality, experiences, and viewpoints to the table, but at the end of the day, you work together as a single unit. That's the beauty of marital teamwork!
ACTIVITY: Here's a chance to have some real fun working as a team! Think of some invigorating, team-based activities that you and your spouse can work on together. Although date night should typically be reserved for couple time, this might be an occasion to get some other friends involved. Here are just a few possibilities:
Go to a karaoke club and sing a duet together. Wow the crowd as you belt out your favorite torch song!
Take some ballroom dancing lessons, or if you'd rather just wing it, go find a place that offers ballroom dancing and cut a rug together.
Host a game night with some other married couples. Rather than resorting to the typical guys-versus-gals model, play games in which each married couple works together as a team.
QUESTIONS: What are some famous teams you admire? (Note: We're not just talking sports teams here.) What about these famous teams is inspiring? What makes them work well together? What are some practical steps we can take to ensure that we're always working as a team?CHAPTER 3
THERE'S ALWAYS SOMETHING MORE TO LEARN
The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.
THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING NEW to learn about your spouse. Always. No matter how long you've been married, no matter how much you think you know about the person you married, you haven't even scratched the surface.
The goal in marriage, then, is not to learn everything there is to learn about your spouse. We've already established that it isn't possible. It's important, however, to continually be a student of your spouse. This is a lifelong process. You may never know everything there is to know, but it's important to update your knowledge at every opportunity. That same sense of discovery you had during your time of premarital dating is possible now. You just need to remain curious!
ACTIVITY: During this date, what you say—what you discuss—may be more important than the activity itself. So feel free to engage in a typical dating activity, such as going out for a nice dinner or playing a round of miniature golf or just taking a romantic walk in the park.
On the other hand, you may consider creating an activity that stimulates your curiosity. For example, you could plan your date around the famous ice-breaker game Two Truths and a Lie. Each of you writes down three statements about yourself, two of which are true and one of which isn't. Then during your date, exchange your statements and see if your spouse can figure out which statement about you isn't true.
Of course, under normal circumstances we wouldn't advocate that you and your spouse lie to each other! If the thought of "lying" in this way, even in the name of good fun, is uncomfortable to you, simply create a quiz about yourself that your spouse can answer during the date. You'd be surprised how challenging such an activity can be, even with seemingly obvious questions like "What is my favorite food?" "What is my favorite movie?" or "What is my favorite color?" See how many questions your spouse can answer before he or she gets tripped up!
QUESTIONS: After completing the Two Truths and a Lie game or taking your quiz, discuss the following Questions: What one thing did you learn about me tonight that you didn't know before? What are some practical steps we can take to stay current with each other? What does it mean for us to be students of each other?
Excerpted from The Little Book of Great Dates by GREG SMALLEY, ERIN SMALLEY. Copyright © 2013 Focus on the Family. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
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