As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I have become well acquainted with the struggle, the isolation, and the distance couples experience in the normal rhythms of life. I hear more and more stories of couples who do not have a single example of a vibrant marriage they can identify in their network of relationships. I’ve also found that couples regularly present that they are doing well while they quietly crumble behind closed doors. That makes it difficult to pastor and support the people in our communities.
To help dating, engaged, and married couples increase their connection, my wife Lauren and I began facilitating a group called “Couples Date Night”. The goal was to increase connections between couples, to encourage them toward life giving concepts, and to help couples learn how to date one another. We wanted to create the most comfortable space with the least amount of pressure. We’ve been meeting every other week and encouraging couples to pursue date night during the off weeks. Each time we gather, the evenings consist of 3 main components: large group share, mini dates, and prayer.
Large Group Share
Each week we highlight a life giving concept that will help couples improve their connection and connect with the life giving nature of God’s kingdom. We highlight topics like humility, laughter, and forgiveness. Then we create space for people to share their story. Couples in the room experience God’s kindness because they no longer feel isolated in their own story. Download our Couple's Date Night Small Group Guide here.
Each week we serve dessert in the middle of our time together and send every couple on a mini date. This time ranges from 15-20 minutes and it allows the couple to have personal time together. The goal is for them to give each other eye contact and practice being present to their partner. We have seen this be extremely beneficial in couples' closeness and connectedness.
We believe God loves meeting people where they are on their journey. With no pressure, we invite people to share prayer requests. We conclude our time by praying as a group for the things shared and we pray for each couple to experience a vibrant relationship.
This group has become one of my favorites because it creates space for connection. It gives people a place to share their stories with one another and it invests in rhythms that are sustainable and life giving.
Tony Portell, Lead Pastor at Vineyard Life Church, recently launched Couples Date Night in his church and had this feedback to share:
“We are wrapping up our last of six Date Nights tomorrow night. It has been a great concept and the feedback we are getting has been positive. I have one couple who wrote and said their time during the date night has opened the door for them to communicate more often and more effectively. They are in the sixties and have been married for 30 years.
We also have a young couple who is getting married in the fall. This has been a great tool for them to prepare for marriage. They have gone through much of the content I would have covered in pre-marriage counseling. Our next goal is to rewrite some of the content to reach out to couples who do not know Christ and use this as a bridge to connect with them and help them understand faith.”
Whether you are reaching couples inside the church or outside the church, couples want to have a life-giving relationship. Creating space to encourage and increase hope for couples makes a significant impact in the kingdom. If you are looking for ways to reach, gather, connect and impact, consider creating space for the couples in your community through a tool like Couples Date Night.
Couple's Date Night
An Easy Way to Support Healthy Relationships in your Community
Kurt Attaway is the Associate Pastor at the Pearland Vineyard Church. Kurt and his wife, Lauren, are enjoying life with their son Canten, daughter Emersen and son Jaden. Kurt and Lauren were married in 2006. In 2007, Kurt joined the staff at The Vineyard. Kurt has a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in the State of Texas. While Kurt thoroughly enjoys playing basketball and golf, hanging with family and friends takes the top prize for favorite free time activity.