(5 minute read)
“Rather than look at a screen on a date, make sure you screen your date.” – Jamie Cearley, PhD
So many singles today struggle to find anything to do together other than sit and look at a screen. Movies, television, sporting events, and video games abound. If you are lucky you can go to dinner, look at your phones, and take selfies for social media. None of this allows you to learn much about the other person, let alone deepen a relationship. You will need to know far more than his favorite video game or her favorite movie to make a long term relationship work.
We always referred to my mother’s quotes as pearls of wisdom. One of her pearls with regard to dating and marriage was this, “Decide what you don’t like about the guy. If you can’t think of anything, forget it, you are not dwelling in reality. Now, if you do manage to come up with some traits or behaviors you dislike, take those and multiply their intensity and frequency by 10. Decide if you can tolerate this for the rest of your life. If so, he might be the one.”
What’s more, you should have precious little cash to invest in finding the one. If you think you have a pile of cash to spend on this you should read 10 Cruel Lies That Will Crush Your Kids Financial Future
Here are some fresh ideas for inexpensive dates. These are all sure to reveal the best and worst in your date as they allow loads of opportunity to get to know each other.
- Stomp a creek. Whoever thought of this as a date? The reasons creek stomping makes for a delightful date are many. Life’s journey is much like a creek stomping, especially if you choose to stomp upstream. It is hard to be proper and make every step smooth. There are obstacles you will have to help each other navigate. You will have to either slow down or speed up at times to match one another’s progress. There will be delightful little surprises along the way. It is a winsome trip full of struggle and reward. It might even end in a solitary embrace of both exhaustion and joy of having finished a journey together.
- Hike. Not one of those crowded asphalt greenways but a secluded mountainous trail. A place where you have the potential to get lost. After all, there is no more sure fire way to get to know someone than to get lost with them: think men and directions.
- Picnic. No phones, no wifi, you and your date alone on a blanket strewn over a grassy hillside having a good conversation. Need some good topics to discuss? How about money, career goals, and moral values to get you started?
- Attend a church service or some other religious event. Look out, your date might spew some mind-blowing deep stuff about themselves and their thoughts after this one. Make sure you listen up.
- Perform an act of service together. Go visit someone in the hospital, nursing home, or shut in. Rake an elderly persons leaves for them. Care for a neighbor’s lawn while they are out of town. Sit with someone while their loved one has surgery. There are endless acts of service to pick from. Choose one or more and try it out. How compassionate, patient, and kind is your date?
- Attend a funeral together. Wow, at this point you get the idea dating should not be only about fun. Why, because life is not all fun. Let’s be frank, most of life is not fun in the sense of entertaining. Find out if your date has a solid perspective on life, its brevity and priorities.
- Make dinner for your parents together. Like it or not there is truth in the saying, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” While children differ from their parents, some degree of similarity in character and behavior always exists. Having them as dinner guests is a fantastic opportunity to look for related traits and decide whether these are positive or negative.
- Bake something together. Like getting lost, opportunities abound only the potential for smoke and fire are present. Cool, now there’s a fun date. Not to mention if you are successful you will have some tasty treats to enjoy.
- Build something together. After all if you can’t agree on how to assemble a bicycle can you imagine building a house?
- Fix a problem. Repair and maintenance are two more real life slaps in the face. Yep, like people, things break. How well will your relationship handle these mishaps in life? The broken appliance, the car refusing to start, a yard looking like the Amazon rainforest because your lawnmower won’t run; will you handle them all with grace?
- Take part in one another’s hobby at least once. This might be easy if you happen to have the same hobby as your date but it could also be quite a challenge if not. This is a fantastic way to find out how compatible you are. It will show you how passionate your date is about this particular activity. How much time, effort and money are they willing to toss into their hobby? Can you see yourself doing this too? Can you at least see yourself allowing them to continue to do it without you? If you are not interested and cannot see yourself setting them free to continue on their own while maintaining your relationship you might reconsider sticking around.
Even after you find your spouse these will remain excellent activities to take part in on a regular basis. For those activities no longer possible find a similar substitute.
It isn’t that more traditional dating activities aren’t good as well. We all need some brain dead entertainment now and then. Yet, when we are looking for a lifelong partner or seeking to maintain our lifelong partnership we need to dig deeper. We need to provide abundant opportunity for relationship development and maintenance. Anything in life worth having is not obtained without great effort nor is it kept; yet the rewards of doing so are immeasurable.
“Love doesn’t make the world go ’round; love is what makes the ride worthwhile.” — Shannon L. Alder
Happy dating, fulfilling marriage. Press on.