David and Claudia Arp are two of my favorite people. They have done marriage well for a long time. They are a great example for all us. They have taught Nancy and I so much. They have so much wisdom to share, but I want to focus in this blog on something we learned from them that had a huge impact on our marriage. In this series on quality time in marriage, one of the obstacles that most of us face is time. How do we find consistent quality time each day?
The Arps are no different than the rest of us in this but they came up with a solution that is a game changer. They make almost everything they do into a date. It is taking advantage of the unexpected date opportunities as they come up. It’s being intentional in the unintentional. If they have grocery shopping to do, they do it together and make a date of it. What does that mean? It means that they talk and listen to each other on the way to and from the store. They enjoy each other and don’t tell each other how to drive! While they are at the store they may grab a treat from the bakery to have on the way home or to enjoy while shopping. Granted they are empty nesters, but they did the same things when their kids were at home. They would trade off with a neighbor for babysitting or drop the kids at a friend’s home or with the grandparents. Anytime they were alone, they would - and still do - turn it into a date.
One of the things Nancy and I got really good at was making the most of unexpected opportunities. If the kids were spending a night at a friend’s we had a date night. Some of our most memorable dates occurred when our kids had a last minute opportunity to do something. We could turn that into a date night in an instant. As our kids got older and could stay at home by themselves for short periods of time, the grocery shopping and other errands became date opportunities. We would stop for ice cream or a soft drink as we checked things off of our list. The bottom line is that you will have many unexpected opportunities to turn into impromptu dates. The question is, will you take advantage of them?