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Customizing Date Nights for Couples

Customizing Date Nights for Couples

One of the most important resources Married People provides for churches is date nights. That’s because dating is important in every marriage. But most couples are too busy to find time to date. So they slowly grow disconnected.

But your church can help couples to date more and stay connected. Couples just need encouragement and a little push to go on dates. Your church has the relational equity to make that happen. And Married People can help.

Every year, we create Date Nights that your church can give to couples in your church and community. Many of our church partners take this content to the next level by customizing the date nights. Want to know how you can do the same?

1. Custom Packaging

The first step to customizing a date night is the packaging. Packaging makes the date look good and easy to grab and go. Here are some creative ideas that some churches have used in the past.

  • Brown paper bags
  • Gift bags
  • Chinese takeout containers
  • Popcorn bags
  • Ziplock baggies

This can be as simple or as fancy as you’d like. And you can get volunteers to help you assemble all of these bags when it comes time to share.

2. Added Goodies

Our date nights provide the instructions for everything the couples need to do for a fun date night. But your church can add a personal touch by filling the date bags with other fun stuff.

These items can be on theme with the date. Or they could just be fun, generic things any couple would enjoy. Here are some ideas for what you can add.

  • Candies—Hershey kisses are always a good bet
  • Stress balls
  • Bubbles
  • Candles
  • Massage oil
  • Popcorn bags

Obviously, budget is always an issue—but when you buy these items in bulk it shouldn’t cost you too much to make the date night special. A few hundred dollars will get you quite a bit.

3. Local Discounts

Part of every date night is going out—usually to a restaurant, a movie, or local activity. This helps couples connect in an environment away from all the stresses at home. We make suggestions, but we don’t know your community as well as you do.

That’s why providing discounts to local places can be such a huge benefit. Not only does it lower the cost barrier to dating, but it also connects your church to the local community. Here are some local places that you can contact about potential discounts.

  • Restaurants—see about getting a percent off the bill or a free appetizer
  • Movie or performance theater
  • Fun activities like putt putt golf or an escape the room
  • Art museum or city zoo
  • Upcoming events or festivals

You could also provide a list or map of local places you recommend couples check out on their dates. Coming up with fresh ideas can sometimes be a barrier that keeps couples from dating.

4. Provide Childcare

What’s the biggest thing that keeps married couples from dating? Finding a babysitter.

Your church can eliminate that excuse by providing childcare during date nights. This isn’t always easy or feasible to pull off. But it’s something great to shoot for.

If you can’t afford to hire people for childcare, consider bringing in ministry volunteers, especially some of the older students from your youth group. You can usually convince students to babysit by bribing them with free pizza.

In fact, why not try to plan a couples’ date night on the same night as an existing children’s ministry event. You’ll already have programing in place for the kids.

Want More Date Nights?

How does your church customize date nights?

How Sticky Notes Can Help Marriages

How Sticky Notes Can Help Marriages

Marriage is huge, right? Marriage is complicated, right? So something small—like a simple sticky note—shouldn’t be able to make much of a difference in a marriage, right?

Actually, we’d like to think that small things actually make a huge difference in your marriage. Even something as minor as a sticky note can really impact your relationship with your spouse. But how?

Micro-Moves

A marriage seems like a big thing, but it’s actually made up of lots of little actions built up over time. We call these action micro-moves. These are the small things you do for your spouse every day.

The sum of your micro-moves determines the overall direction of your marriage. If you do lots of good micro-moves on a regular basis—like taking out the trash, or saying something nice about your spouse’s haircut—then you’ll be steering your marriage in a positive direction.

However, you could just as easily be damaging your marriage with negative micro-moves. Small negative micro-moves—like ignoring your spouse when they’re talking to you, or forgetting to put your dirty socks in the hamper—add up over time.

What does this have to do with sticky notes?

One good micro-move that you can do any day is to say something kind about your spouse. Everyone loves to be told something good, especially when it’s unprovoked and honest. But it’s not always easy to remember to say these things.

So rather than saying them, why not write down some thoughtful words on a sticky note. Tell your wife how much you love her smile. Or tell your husband how thankful you are that he cuts the grass. Don’t assume that your spouse knows you’re thankful—tell them you are.

Then hide the sticky note somewhere they’ll find it later. Put it in the fridge, or the visor of their car, or in a random page in the book their reading. When they stumble across the note, they’ll be instantly reminded of how much you love and appreciate them.

Best of all, you can hide several of these at once in different places around the house. Hide a dozen every month so that your spouse is constantly being reminded of your love in different ways.

Get some sticky notes

Although it’s pretty easy for you to find sticky notes, or just plain note cards, we’ve made it even easier for you to create positive micro-moves.

We’ve designed some sticky notes that have some thoughtful messages already started for you. All you’ve got to do is order some, fill in the blanks, and leave them for your spouse to find.

Whether you use sticky notes or something else entirely, it’s important that you’re taking the time to think of small ways to appreciate and value your spouse. Because marriage isn’t really some big and daunting problem to be fixed. It’s a daily choice to actively love another person.

What micro-moves are you making to show your appreciation?

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2018

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2018

Can you believe that 2018 is almost over already? It feels like it just started. As we wind down this year, it’s a good time to look back at some of what we’ve done over the past 365 days.

Hopefully you’ll find some time amidst the craziness of the holiday season to reflect. Perhaps recapping some of the best blog posts we published during 2018 might help.

We publish a new post for church leaders working with marriages every week—Thursday mornings to be exact. That more than 50 blog posts every year. Here are the top 10 articles we shared in 2018.

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2018

  1. How To Promote Marriage Events at Your Church
  2. Why Pretty Much Every Church Leader Needs Marriage Counseling
  3. OC18 Breakout Notes: MarriedPeople Interactive
  4. Introducing the New MarriedPeople Monthly
  5. How Your Church Can Be a Game Changer For Marriages
  6. Meet the Communicators: Game Changers
  7. LEADER PROFILE: Laura Wright
  8. What a Strong Marriage Ministry Should Look Like
  9. Reaching Married Couples Using Social Media
  10. Behind-the-Scenes: Strategy Pack

We’ll also be sharing some of our top 10 couples posts and top podcast episodes of the year. Hopefully some of these resources have been helpful to you. And looking forward to sharing even more in 2019!

What was your favorite blog post this year?

10 Examples of Great Marriage Ministry Websites

10 Examples of Great Marriage Ministry Websites

These days, most churches have websites—some of them are even good. Plenty of churches also operate a marriage ministry. There is an overlap between those two categories that have web pages dedicated to their marriage ministry.

But what does a good marriage ministry web page look like? Who are the churches that are doing a good job of representing their ministry well online? We did some searching for churches who meet these rigorous standards and found 10 examples that we can all learn from.

1. Seacoast Church

A multi-campus church located in South Carolina, Seacoast provides a few different resources for married couples. Their marriage ministry page lists links to join small groups, participate in the re-engage program, or go on a date night.

Their website has a very clean, user-friendly feel. It’s easy to navigate and understand how to take a next step. The marriage page is also easy to locate from the website’s main menu.

https://www.seacoast.org/about/marriage-ministry/

2. Chicago Tabernacle

The Chicago Tabernacle’s website is a reflection of the church’s modern and trendy flare. The marriage ministry page includes an overview of their mission, what the ministry is about, and an introduction to the ministry leaders.

The page is full of vibrant colors and images. Although there is quite a bit of content, it’s made easy to navigate because of the menu in the top section. There’s also a section on recommended resources, with links to some great marriage books.

https://www.chicagotabernacle.org/ministry/marriage-ministry/

3. NewSpring Church

One of the largest megachurches in the country, NewSpring boasts a beautifully designed church website. Their marriage ministry page is no exception. It has eye-catching images and a mobile responsive framework.

Essentially, this page is primarily a collection of articles relating to marriage and couples. There are several hundred posts that couples can scroll through to read. There is also a ‘Talk To Someone’ button at the top of the page to get in touch with the church staff.

https://newspring.cc/marriage

4. Otter Creek Church

Located just outside of Nashville, Tenn, Otter Creek Church provides another great example of a marriage ministry webpage. It’s simpler than some of the other examples because it’s primarily text based, but it’s still helpful.

Otter Creek actually has a series of pages for their marriage ministry—with separate pages for resources, enrichment, mentoring, and divorce recovery. Each one provides an overview of how they can help and how members can get involved.

http://ottercreek.org/marriage-ministry/

5. Eastview Christian Church

Eastview Christian Church is located in Normal, Ill., a suburb of Bloomington. Eastview uses MarriedPeople for their marriage ministry, and has links to date nights, upcoming events, and signing up for MP Monthly emails.

A brilliant feature of the Eastview marriage ministry webpage is the video from the ministry leader at the top of the page. This adds a personal touch while giving a good overview of the program.

http://eastview.church/ministries/small-groups/marriage-ministry

6. Buckhead Church

A campus of North Point Ministries in Atlanta, Buckhead Church leads couples through several stages of marriage—prepare (premarital), establish (newlywed), grow (small groups), enrich (events), and restore (crisis counseling).

That can be a lot of information to take in, but Buckhead presents it in a clean and clear way. Each section has a short description, visually appealing logo, and a button to take the next step.

http://buckheadchurch.org/married-ministry

7. Christ Church UMC

Christ Church United Methodist Church in Memphis, Tenn, is another church using the MarriedPeople strategy for their ministry. And their page does an outstanding job of how that impacts real couples at their church.

The page includes several testimonials of their events from both the husband and wife perspective. They also have a highlight video of a recent event. All of this help couples understand what to expect from one of these events.

https://www.christchurchmemphis.org/marriedpeople/

8. Black Rock Church

A church in Fairfield, Conn., Black Rock Church has packed a ton into their marriage ministry page. It has everything from advice on pre-marriage preparation to how to have a great date night with your spouse. Everything is clearly labeled with section headers.

Black Rock’s marriage page also includes some helpful marriage tools like messages from their pastor and a list of upcoming marriage events at the church.

https://www.blackrock.org/marriage/

9. The Chapel

Just one more example of a MarriedPeople church, The Chapel is located in Getzville, NY, outside of Buffalo. One of the first things you see on the page is information on MP Monthly, including how to sign up to get the emails.

Most of the page is taken up by frequently asked questions about marriage ministry. The Chapel’s answers to these questions gives a good idea of how couples can have a better marriage and how their church can support that.

http://thechapel.com/connect/marriage/

10. Rock Church

The example from Rock Church, a multi-campus church in southern California, is a little different from the others. Instead of a page dedicated to the ministry itself, this page shows how to get involved volunteering at Rock Church.

However, other church leaders can still learn from this example, because it provides a great overview of how to structure your volunteer team and how to write job descriptions for each role. The page also has a clear way to sign up to volunteer with the ministry.

https://www.sdrock.com/ministries/marriage/involvement/

Even More Examples Worth Checking Out

Does your church website have a marriage ministry page? Which of these examples is your favorite?

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