Valentine’s day is here. Here’s how to prepare to have a great date with your spouse. Keep in mind that these tips are good for any time you go out on a date with your spouse.

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1. Take a shower, brush your teeth, put on some deodorant and cologne/perfume. C’mon people, it’s Valentine’s Weekend. Get a free fragrance here (Guys, please do us all a favor and trim your nose and ear hair).

2. Start the day with a prayer together. Hold hands and say a short meaningful prayer that includes your thankfulness to God for your spouse. Marriage isn’t just a duet. It’s a Holy Trio made up of a husband, a wife and the God they serve. Invite God in your marriage, he will make the difference.

3. Dress to impress, your spouse. If you don’t normally dress up, do something different that says he or she is special. If you normally wear t-shirts, wear a collared shirt or put on a nice coat.  Take it up a notch. Looking your best for your spouse is a major part of showing that you care.

4. Have a plan. If you plan to give your spouse a gift, have it ready in advance. Don’t wait until the last minute. Know where you want to go and what you want to do. Prepare some options for your spouse. Pick a few restaurants or locations to visit in advance.  Be creative and try different places. Ask your friends for advice. If you don’t plan, you might be stuck in the conversation that sounds like this, “what do you want to do?” “I don’t know, what do you want to do?”  “I don’t care whatever you want.”

5. Don’t use a food coupon. You may not agree with me on this one but at least on the hot dates with your spouse, pay in full. Or pick a place where you can afford to pay in full. It’s not like those free cheese sticks are going to make y’all fall in love all over again. Be creative and order in. Lots of eateries now have websites where you can check for prices, so do your due diligence.

6. Turn off your phone. This should allow you to focus on your spouse to make your date extra special. If you are a pastor or church leader, you definitely need to turn off your phone. Let your spouse know that he or she is important. Besides, I’m pretty sure the world can survive without you for a few hours, right?

7. When your spouse is talking, look and listen with interest. Give 100% of your attention. Look at his or her eyes. And don’t interrupt your spouse when he or she is speaking. Be patient, polite and pleasant.

7.5. Talk. This tip is for free but it’s going to cost you. Don’t be one of those couples who you see at restaurants who hardly say a word to each other. Make conversation. After being married for a while some couples stop talking about life. Don’t be a deadhead. Talk about things that interest your spouse. Talk about a movie, a book you’re reading, a Bible verse, your goals, your hobbies, etc. Make your date exciting and fun purposely.

8. Don’t talk about finances, children or family issues or anything potentially stressful.

9. Complement each other at every opportunity. We all like to receive compliments so be the first and last person to give your spouse a compliment. Compliment his or her smile, hair, laughter, intelligence, etc. By the way, when you do give compliments/affirmations, you are helping your spouse to become a more secure person.

10. Be polite and apologize if you say or do something rude (even if it’s not your fault, why not?). I shouldn’t have to say this but, don’t argue or raise your voice at your spouse in public. Argue in private, on a different day.

11. Say I love you before you leave and when you return from your hot date.

12. Hold hands. You might not be used to holding hands, but you can start again. Holding hands will help you and your spouse feel content and connected.

13. Make it a whole day experience, rather than just dinner and a movie. It does not have to be expensive, just creative. Start the day with breakfast in bed, have some romantic activities before eventually heading off to go for a walk or run together, go for brunch, then to a movie or visit a location you both enjoy (beach, pier, park, garden, etc.). Start a tradition or a habit of doing certain things together. End the day in your nicely decorated bedroom.

14. Do things you that know your partner would like. Don’t be selfish. Plan on giving yourself unselfishly for the entire date. Create memorable moments. There may be a time that you won’t be able to go out on dates with your spouse due to illness, sickness, an accident, etc. If you don’t normally go out on dates often, make every minute count.

15. Have fun and be playful on purpose. When you play with your spouse whether it’s checkers, cards, or Jenga you are connecting at a whole different level. Stress is relieved, tension is less, and unity is strengthened. Plus, it’s healthy to have a good laugh together with your spouse. Laughter is food for your soul.

16. Clean your house. Hopefully, you prepared your home before you left so that when you return it’s nice and clean. This will allow you to focus on making your spouse feel comfortable and at ease (without worrying about fixing the bed, picking up clothes, etc.).

17. When you return home, say a prayer together. Thank God for your spouse, the evening, the fun and the blessing of marriage. End your prayer with a kiss and continue the romance.

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So, what do you think? Have any comments or suggestions?  Let me know below.

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Thanks for visiting the Nick Gonzalez Marriage Matters Blog. Nick and his wife, Marisol, have been married for 30 years. They live in Southern California and have four young adult children. Together, they encourage and inspire couples to build and strengthen their marriage and family. Follow Nick on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Enroll in the video course, “3 Habits of Highly Meaningful Relationships” taught by Nick Gonzalez. It’s the Blueprint to a Thriving Marriage.

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