Day 20 :: Auto Pilot

The past few days have been all about dating your spouse. If you’ve missed them, you might want to “brush up” on your skills by reading them! (Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday)

Today’s advice is perfect in preparation for Saturday’s Dating Party post:

“Denise and I have never stopped dating.
We even went out on a date when one of our girls was 3 weeks old.
Many times our dates never cost a penny or were very inexpensive.
For example, we would sit in the living room,
have a candlelit dinner at the coffee table while listening to romantic music, then play a game of “Take Two.”
Many times for lunch we meet at the shelter by Boone Lake, eat a light lunch,
and then sit on a blanket in the grass and watch the boats go by.
Another fun date in the cool seasons of the year is to sit on our deck swing, watch a movie on the computer and eat popcorn while we are all wrapped up in a blanket under the stars!
Sometimes we just take a drive in the country, stop for ice cream or just “window shop.”
One other extremely important ingredient is to work on your marriage everyday.
It doesn’t run well on auto-pilot!”

~ from Dale, married 30 years

Did you catch that? Marriage doesn’t run well on auto-pilot. Marriage is not a relationship you can just leave alone for 2 weeks, then expect to pick up where you left off. It is a constant, day in & day out job. (Although “job” makes it sound dull and boring but…you know what I mean.) 😉 You must be intentional in your marriage if you are hoping to build it!

What have you done – intentionally – for your marriage today?



Miss a 31 Days post? Click here to see a list of them all!


  1. Jess W says:

    A friend who knows my hobby horse 😉 just sent me a link to this series! I am loving it, and loved this one especially! Dating is ESSENTIAL to a good, godly marriage.

    I totally agree with the Bible that children are a blessing, but they truly can become a distraction to a healthy marriage or ministry. THIS is why date nights are soo, so important.

    We have been married almost 24 years now, and before we had children we purposed to make every Thursday night our date night. I think we have missed maybe 5 or 6 times over the years, though we’ve definitely proved our flexibility when we’ve rescheduled for another night of the week. Once our first child came along, we purposed that our date nights would be taken WITHOUT kids and that one topic we would never bring up on our dates would be the kids. I really think our marriage is so healthy because of this. (And a funny story–our oldest was briefly hospitalized with pneumonia at age 3, before we had other children. Each of the 4 nights he was hospitalized (and after we made sure he was out for the night) we slipped out and enjoyed 4 nights of extra-long dates downtown, with free babysitting! Ha!)

    We used the Growing Kid’s God’s Way program with our kids, and really appreciated and learned a lot from the emphasis on putting the marriage relationship first, and making that very clear to your children from DAY ONE. One thing they emphasize is that if your children know their parents are spending time together, they won’t suffer from true separation anxiety while the parents are out together. We took that very seriously, and from the time our children were about 6 months onward, we took any crying or fussing to indicate manipulation on their part and disciplined for that issue very swiftly if it was noticed as we were leaving, or very swiftly if the babysitter reported any crying or whining for Mommy and Daddy while we were gone. Our persistence paid off and our kids quickly learned to look forward to our date nights away from them, too.

    Early in our marriage, we were quite poor, but still determined to devote ourselves to our date nights. I never worked outside the home, but God seemed to really bless our efforts and hearts desires by providing specifically for our date nights. With our kids, I used cloth diapers (way before they were popular, ha!) to save a little here and there, and since I was only able to nurse each baby till about 2 months due to supply issues, I learned how to make my own baby formula, which saved us tons looking back. Eventually, God blessed us more and more financially to the point where we were able to take a cruise together when our second kiddo was 3 months old, thank God for grandparents! Ha! Ever since, we’ve been taking cruises together every other year, which has YES meant leaving our kids behind. It’s a small sacrifice for the price of our marriage.

    I saw you are married to a youth pastor, and my husband was also in the youth ministry for 11 years. I can totally testify that our date nights saved our marriage AND our ministry. Busy men like our husbands NEED that time ALONE with their wives. WITHOUT kids.

    Oh, there is so much I could say about this theme, as it is very close to my heart. I am absolutely, madly-in-love wthi my man, yep, thanks to date nights.

    My oldest is now in his 20’s and the others in their teens. They aren’t mature enough to fully appreciate our prioritazation of marriage, but I am confident that when it comes time for them to marry that there eyes will be opened. My oldest tells us he often felt pushed aside as a child, and maybe there are some things we could have done differently, but overall I think he has just let the seeds of bitterness creep into his heart from talking to some of our liberal child-centered relatives. But one thing he doesn’t question: Mom and Dad are MADLY in LOVE! Ha! Give him a few years, a wife, and some whiny kids of his own and he’ll quickly get over it, I predict!! Ha! 🙂

    Anyway, as you can see I am SO EXCITED, as you can probably tell, to find your site and learn more from this series–now maybe year 24 will be our best yet! Ha!

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