Reading Time: two minutes. I Googled “benefits of date night” and discovered a 14 page research project published by the National Marriage Project in 2015. Actual research! It turns out that everybody is in favor of date night for couples. Our hectic lifestyles and the thousands of distractions we face every day can pull married couples apart if we’re not careful. The crazy calendars of professional church workers, especially in these extremely busy times of the year, leave little time for the careful attention that those most important to us deserve. It turns out that besides the forgiving grace of God in Jesus, date night is the closest thing we have to a cure all for what ails relationships! Read on for the top five benefits, according to the actual research, of date night. Communication. Scribbled notes to one another left on the kitchen countertop leave us not much more than ships passing in the night. Date night is a chance to just talk; not about business or big decisions, but about YOU, my beloved. That’s a movie or a concert doesn’t count as a date night. Novelty. Among the most common complaints people have about their spouse is this: BORING! When we get stuck in the routines of the workweek, a workweek that for church workers spills right into the weekend, everything becomes predictable. Every day and every week starts to look exactly the same. We anticipate each others’ words, opinions, reactions, without really paying attention. Date night breaks the routine like a mini-vacation. Romance. Passion. Sparks. Fire. If you feel I need to say more, please call your pastoral counselor immediately. Commitment. At the time of our marriage vows, we made a public declaration to God, to the congregation, to the whole world and most importantly, to one another, that there would be one primary, most important, most vital relationship in our lives from that moment until the day death parts us. It’s likely that many working people spend more time with their work associates than with their spouse. An “affair” with the congregation or classroom is a particular danger for church workers. Date night says, “You have me, completely, no distractions, for these hours as a reaffirmation to my commitment: there’s no one on earth with whom I would rather spend my time.” Say it out loud on your date! Relaxation. We’re Lutheran. We’re not pietists. Have a drink [within you limitations]. It’s not Lent when you’re on a date. Have a good laugh. Get dessert. Enjoy yourself. Try to plan something that you know for certain you will find enjoyable and use the opportunity to break out of the routines of daily life and build a memory together. God makes everything new. Find time in this busy season to let Him refresh your marriage. Thanks for reading.