Ever heard the advice “Watch how your date treats the server at a restaurant”?
It turns out that watching how a person treats those who are serving him in any capacity is a good window into his or her character.
Along those lines, I’ve noticed that seeing your date in a wide range of situations can help you better discern what they are like–especially if you’ve just met your date recently and don’t know much about him or her.
It’s easy to get stuck in a routine of spending time together only at restaurants or chilling at home. While this isn’t bad, it might not help you see all the facets of your date’s personality and character. Here are a few ideas to help change up your date routine in order to know more about a potential spouse.
Plan a day trip together
Traveling with someone is a whole different ball game from sitting around getting to know them. I discovered this while traveling with new friends in Italy while in college. We had to navigate one another’s priorities, budget, and even different speeds of walking or eating.
To get a taste of traveling together, go somewhere within driving distance that neither of you has ever explored before. Things to pay attention to in the process of planning and taking the trip: What do you prioritize when planning? Do either of you enjoy planning or think that it is necessary? How are you both able to handle a change of plans when things don’t go as expected?
I discovered early on that my future husband was a “let’s stop a lot on the way to explore along the route” kind of traveler who prioritizes local food and haunts, while I’m a “don’t stop unless you have to get gas” kind of traveler who prioritizes bringing your own food or patronizing the local Taco Bell. There isn’t a right or wrong way to travel. And if you both approach travel differently, that doesn’t mean you should break up. This is just an exercise in awareness–about yourself and your date.
Offer to watch someone’s kids together, and learn how you each interact with children.
This might bring up what kind of parenting style you each have, and provide a good jumping board from which to talk about parenting and your expectations about children, etc.
Watching my future husband interact with my younger siblings helped me think about what kind of a parent he would be.
The best date we ever went on was to Uplift, an organization that provides food and clothes/toiletries to people who are homeless all over the city. Packing the truck, getting to know our fellow volunteers, and then working together at each stop along the way to hand out food and chat with people took several hours. Not only was it one of our most enjoyable dates, but having to work together with each other and a group was very bonding.
How does your date do working on a team with people he doesn’t know? Does he or she enjoy or thrive in new situations?
Try a new hobby
Learning a new skill together can show you a lot about your own and your date’s patience, interests, and abilities. Home repair stores or your local library often offer free evening classes that teach different hobbies or skills.
Ask different questions
If your conversations have been staying more surface level, or you’re just ready to go deeper, you might need some ideas. Try looking at marriage preparation questions for ways to jumpstart deeper topics.
The point of all of these dates is to learn more about who the other person is and what makes them tick. You can’t decide whether or not you can handle all of the ways your date is different from you long-term if you don’t even know what those differences are in the first place.
So here’s to a little more self-knowledge. Happy dating!