Couples in Love
I used to think offering marriage courses was the thing to do, but now I think God wants us to splash a whole lot of love around.
I was sitting in Florence, Italy, enjoying the hospitality. If you have never been to Italy, you must pop it on your bucket list. When you get there, linger your way through its scenery, cafes and narrow streets.
Tim and I were enjoying an evening meal in one of the piazzas when my heart was captivated by a young family who were getting the best care and service I had ever seen. It was so apparent the waiters were engaging with the children so mum and dad could kindle their romance. The kids were giggling and laughing at the antics of a waiter while dad purchased some roses and gave them to his wife. The lingering kiss was full of romance and love. The kids blissfully unaware of the stolen moment mum and dad had just had.
I came away wondering what would it look like for a church to give mum and dad some stolen moments of romance? To splash a whole lot of love around just for the sake of love.
God is such a romantic. For him a marriage is signed and sealed with bodies loving one another not pen on paper. Love has a way of multiplying if we blow on its embers.
Parenthood is a stressful gig. It pulls couples in so many ways, stretches their thinking, challenges emotionally, tests the bonds, and tips couples into a whole new relationship stage.
What would happen if we created a nostalgic snippet of their early love for one another?
Would love flourish multiply?
Could we encourage some giggles, some romance, a whole lot of love?
The result is Date Night.
We provide a paid three-course meal and free childcare on-site in our playground.
Every month the meal is different.
Couples could date on their own or they could invite their friends.
To add a little giggle and a few risqué moments we popped cards from the board game, Know your Partner, on the table.
Date Night has become a beautiful journey of encouraging couples to live engaged with love; to not allow the tedium, the routine, the busy, the lack of family support to stop them engaging with love and romance.
What we began to see was love happening all around us. When people who love one another begin to rekindle romance, love deepens. We would watch couples came in wilted and leave with a spark of hope, a renewed promise, a flicker of faith and a whole lot of desire for loving.
Date Night is for many a lifeline for their relationship.
I love how as a church we can splash love all around us.
Love is contagious. A night in Italy sparked a flame, and our little flame has sparked other churches and cafés. Some churches simply babysit while couples go out for a date at their café of choice, others provide an evening with food vans, while other cafes have simply copied our idea. I don’t mind at all because love increases every time we fan it into flame. Families need to reconnect with their first love as much as they need marriage and parenting courses.
In Thessalonians 3:12 (The Message), Paul writes, “And may the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you, just as it does from us to you.”
For me date night is an opportunity for love to be splashed around. One year we were in India for a holiday. We were there on a special day when Indians splash powdered paint over everyone with total abandon. No one is safe from this extravagant and exuberant display of love. Wouldn’t it be lovely if our communities weren’t safe from the local church splashing love liberally over everyone?
Date Night isn’t about preaching or teaching. It’s not about who’s in and who’s out. It’s not about judging or instructing. It’s not about Sunday service recruitment. It’s about creating a space where we can splash with total abandon love over everyone around us in the same way God does for us every single day.