Last week, I received this message: “Hey friend (my son) has a really great suggestion for a blog post…”How to Date Your Mate During Self Isolation.” 

Challenge accepted! And, I dedicate this post to a great guy, who I have known since he was just a toddler! 

So how are you all doing during these crazy days of self-isolation? Last week, a neighbor announced, “it will either bring out the worst in us, or the best.” I can tell you, in my house, we have experienced both. Maybe you have too?  

Dear ones, these are definitely strange and scary times, which we have been thrown into. Ordered to shelter in place. To stay at home. Not to go to work. To somehow figure out our new reality. We worry and we wonder. We fret about provision, finances, bills, health, sickness, our jobs, our children, our future. Then, under the stress and strain of it all, we “take it out on” on each other, as we try to manage and process a new “normal.”

We strive to be brave, yet we are bewildered and frightened, as we learn to change our rhythms and routines in a world that has turned upside down. Can you relate? 

So what’s a couple to do? If you know me, you know I highly recommend dating your mate, often and regularly. However, as I prepared this message, I realized that one of the most valuable benefits of dating your mate is making sure they know they are a top priority in your life! That your mate sees evidence that you know and care about them. That they trust you will carve out time for and give attention to them, often and regularly.  

How will you, during these crazy time of self-isolation, when stress is high and there are no real breaks, plus no places to go, Date Your Mate? How can you show them that they are a top priority in your everyday life, not just on a date night? 

May I suggest that we need to be:

Intentional - Can I just be honest, this whole thing has been crazy hard. We have had several family crisis, and we have traveled between home and Arizona. We also have had the honor of helping a precious family through a very painful time, and none of this was related to the coronavirus. Plus, like you all, we have had to adjust and adapt to all the new realities and restrictions going on. We have had to be extra intentional to connect, to talk, to listen and to work out our new circumstances. 

Unselfish - Many of you can relate, my husband has been home. He is filling up my territory. And, to be honest, it has been a huge adjustment having him in my space 24/7. I know I haven’t been all that fun to be around either. I am not a “home-body” at all, and I miss my coffee shop outings. So, I have shed many tears as I try to figure out, “now what?” We have had to be patient and thoughtful and resilient in spending all day, every day, figuring out our new routines. 

Committed -  My guy is fun loving and playful and loves to tease me, and being at home with me all day has been like a great game. (Not to say he isn't taking the COVID-19 matters very seriously). I, on the other hand, am the more serious, less silly one. I thrive on structure and routine—which has pretty much gone out the window. But, after 38 years of marriage, we know each pretty well, and, although we have had moments of strife and conflict, we are trying to work together in the same space, with our different needs, expectations and personalities. We are trying to find ways to think about what is important to one another and to choose to make accommodations to make time and space for each other's needs and preferences. 

Available - We are looking for ways to enjoy each other. My husband is an extrovert, who loves to be with family and friends. But, I have become his main source of community. So we are taking time out from our individual interests, projects and work to go for long walks together, to watch church online, to cook meals side-by-side, as well as to play “his” favorite games. I am not so much a game player, but I am choosing to play in order to date my mate. 

Athough technically we are empty nesters, we have had extra responsibilities to care for others during this time, so carving out time for dates has demanded that we be intentional, unselfish, committed, and available. As I prayerfully prepared to write this post, a passage in Philippians 2:3-5 kept coming to mind, “Don’t be selfish…Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.”

So, in these crazy times, my prayer for you is that you will be able to carve out time and discover ways to Date Your Mate During Self Isolation. Not the old way of getting a sitter and going out to dinner or a movie, but a new and better way, that of making sure your mate knows that they are a top priority in your daily life. And, that they will see and be blessed by the time and attention you give them, because you know them and care for them. 

Dear friends, I would love to hear from you, what are your creative and fun ideas to Date Your Mate During Self Isolation? 

Lord, may we grow closer to You, and closer to each other, in these unfamiliar and uncertain times. Please let us discover knew and creative ways to love and serve one another, as well as to Date Our Mate, even during home confinement. And Heavenly Father, please bring help and healing to this pandemic. We humbly ask, in Jesus name! Lord, may You be glorified in these days and times.