The Obama’s making time to go out on date night is so on point with the whole sexless marriage thing. I hadn’t planned to get into dating before covering a couple of other points first. But since the topic is so current, I’d be foolish to pass up the opportunity to comment.
One of the biggest fouls I have witnessed couples commit is getting lax about date night. When my husband and I completed our pre-marital counseling under Dr. Kerry Brooks, of Anointed Waters Counseling in Los Angeles, California over fourteen years ago, one of the things he stressed over and over again was to fight for our date night. At the time, it seemed a pretty simple command. In fact, we wondered why he was adamant almost to the point of obsession about date night. How hard could it be? You get dressed. You go out to eat, or see a movie. You talk. You come home and have sex. It hardly seemed to be a point worth making to an engaged couple. All we ever thought about was sex. The fact that we had made the commitment to be celibate during our engagement made the thought of not having sex after marriage nearly impossible to comprehend. How could married people not have sex? I mean – wasn’t that the one of the biggest benefits of marriage? Sex with your best friend, every night?
Yes, we were very naive, if not arrogant. Fast forward fourteen years, four children, a few re-locations, ministry obligations, and some career changes under our belts…and boy – sex really could find itself on a seat in the back row, expecting a bouncer any minute. It not only could happen. It has happened – not only to us Mitchells’, but to many couples that we’ve counseled. It has become almost a cliche – the notion that singles (who are supposed to be celibate) have all the hot sex, while married folks (who should be swinging from thee rafters) sleep back to back, laden in plaid, flannel pajamas. How “bass-ackward” that is. Well, I rebuke that lie in the name of Jesus. I won’t go into how the media helps to perpetuate this lie. That’s another blog. Rather, my focus is sharing some things any couple could do to prevent their marriage from ending up in the sexual toilet.
One of those simple “some things” is date night. It may sound ridiculous, but date night can do a world of good for a sagging sex life. Dr. Kerry Brooks, often reminds couples to do something a little out of the ordinary. I remember blushing and wanting to crawl under the seat in the class when he taught three other hopeful couples, Mykel, and me on the joys of preparing for intercourse. The gist of it was that we should treat sex like the gift that it is. Dr. Brooks warned the men not to come to bed in stained, ratty pajamas. He scolded them about the dangers of dirty finger nails, crusty feet (can you say pedicure – Shaun King?), and bad breath. He encouraged the wives-to-be to prepare well, but not to take too long, lest they find themselves in bed with an angry, horny man. If I recall correctly, someone commented that Dr. Brooks made sex sound like a date. This of course was his plan all along. Over the eight weeks of our time together, Dr. Brooks would remind us repeatedly that sex is special and should be treated and prepared for as such. But so is date night. He cautioned that the more we’d have on our plates, the more likely we’d be to put it off. It goes without saying that a dateless marriage is no more an option than a sexless marriage is for a healthy couple.
Couples must spend time together listening, talking, laughing, and touching – regardless of the demands on their time (i.e. The Obamas’) – if they plan to stay connected and consequently, married. I know everybody ain’t got it like the President and First Lady – what with the helicopter, private jet, motorcade, and all. But even broke people can take a walk. Get creative. If the demands of job and family prevent you from being able to go out at night, stay in, or make a lunch date. The point is to spend time together.
When the bottom fell out of Mykel’s and my financial world a few years back, we were tempted to let depression over our financial failure, and our lack of funds (we were BA-ROKE) end our date nights, which up until that point, we had been very good about keeping. As we both sat reading one evening, it occurred to me that we could read to each other. It wasn’t sexiest idea I’d ever had, but it was free. So we did it. And you know what? We’ve done it some nights even when we’ve had plenty of money and a baby sitter. Why? Apart from the fact that we are truly nerds of the first order, we both really enjoy a good story, or a point well made. Besides, sitting at opposite ends of the sofa is a great way to start a game of footsies, which, of course always has the potential to lead to really good sex. We have learned to do other free things, like a picnic in the bedroom with candles, after the Muppets (our nick name for our four children) have gone to bed, kissing like horny teenagers in the dark, watching a classic movie together (Gladiator for him, Casablanca for me), taking a bath, or doing laundry (Don’t sleep – laundry can be really sexy). It doesn’t matter what the task is, the point is to spend time together listening, talking, laughing, touching, like the Obamas did on their date night to NYC.
Although date night is not a cure-all for improving a sexless marriage, it is a step in the right direction – if for no other reason than because you could end up “gettin’ some,” which would certainly make your marriage less sexless.