The Fifteen Minute Date

Yesterday I wrote about why couples need to keep dating after they marry. Sometimes it’s been so long since a couple has had a meaningful conversation, they’ve forgotten how to do so.

When I say “forgotten” I don’t mean that they (or you, if this describes your relationship) don’t know how to talk together. It’s that they don’t have the memory together of a conversation going well. Perhaps conversations lead to the fights, and thus they avoid talking to keep from fighting. 

Regardless of the need, The 15-minute date is a great solution to kick-start a quiet relationship, guide a difficult conflict, or promote healthy boundaries in conversation.

This short-and-sweet fifteen minutes is structured so that both husband and wife get a chance to talk and listen. (The biggest problem in most marriages is not about communicating, it’s about listening). Both need to talk, and both need to listen

So here’s how the date works. It’s broken up into three 5-minute segments: 

  • Speaking
  • Reflecting
  • Responding

The person who asks for the date get’s to speak first. They get the floor to speak about whatever they need to for 5 minutes. Set a timer and hold to the boundary of this time. The listener is to listen only, no talking. 

At the end of the 5 minutes, restart the clock and the listener is allowed to ask follow up questions, and reflect back what they heard (not the interpretation) the speaker say. This is space is still about the speaker, and their needs.

For the final 5 minutes, the listener gets a chance to respond to what has been said, what has not been said, and to offer any feedback or conciliatory ideas to the original speaker.

At the end of the fifteen minutes, stop the dialogue and let it rest. Take at least 15 minutes to let what has been said and what has been heard to metabolize. If you’re in a good place to revisit the topic, ask to see if the other is open to revisiting. 

Guidelines for the date: 

  • The best time and place for this date is when distractions are at a minimum. 
  • No screens, kids, books, or music. 
  • Try to do it in a private setting. 
  • Use caution if either is Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired (Acronym for HALT).
  • Start with something positive about the other person, or the relationship. 
  • Seek to end the date with peace and kindness.


Keep Dating

After a couple marries, one of the first things to go in their relationship is dating. Most couples stop the very thing that helped them fall in love in the first place. And from a rational standpoint, it makes a lot of sense. 

Before you got married, you had separate lives, interests, and routines. Dates were a way that you could connect your separate lives, and create some shared experiences. 

Now that you’re married, you don’t have the separate lives you used to. Now, you go to sleep together, wake up together, and come home around the same time. Together. There are lots of experiences together. 

You might be asking, “why do we need to go on dates now that we spend all this time together?”

The answer is quite simple. You need dates to remember why you fell in love, and to create new experiences to strengthen your love.

If you don’t spend time investing in your relationship, it’ll atrophy.

Relationships don’t grow without attention, and more importantly, intention. Dating is a way to intentionally pay attention. (If you’re a guy reading this, your wife will 100% agree with me that getting asked out by her husband is sexy.)

Go on a date once a week, or at the very least twice a month. Pick a night, get a babysitter that you can count on, and take turns planning what you do on your date.