Strengthen Your Marriage By Dating
When is the last time you went on a date? A real date? Received flowers or gave a small token of your love to your partner? Dressed up and went to a fancy dinner with a date? Felt like you were the only person in the world your date wanted to spend time with that evening?
Let me rephrase: when is the last time you and your spouse went on a date?
If you are married, perhaps it's been a long time since you've dated. I'm here to tell you DATING DOES NOT HAVE TO DIE AFTER MARRIAGE. You may be skeptical and give the common excuses of "there's not enough time" or "it's too expensive". I want to challenge you to start fresh and erase these excuses from your mind. If you want to make your marriage a priority, there will be enough time and you can afford it.
The first step in dating your spouse is making the time. Plan ahead and set aside actual date nights at least twice a month. If you say you'll get to it without making a plan, it's not likely to happen.
Secondly, discuss different date ideas with your spouse, write them down, and mix it up! Going out to dinner and a movie every so often is fine, but as they say, "variety is the spice of life" so get creative and think outside the regular routine. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Wine or beer tasting and a tour of the facility
Free concerts or movies in the park in the summertime
Something you've always wanted to try, but never have (anything from a new restaurant / type of food to skydiving!)
Murder mystery dinner and show
Visit open houses or estate sales
Work together in a community garden
Improv or comedy show
Roller or ice skating
Groupon getaway deal to somewhere nearby for a weekend escape
There's plenty more to do depending on your interests, so put on your thinking caps! I've even seen people write these ideas on popsicle sticks, put them in a mason jar, and pick one at random in case you can't decide what to do.
Next, "courting" or "wooing" is an important factor in dating. Don't forget to use words of appreciation, gentle touches, and those little things that make your partner feel special, loved, and one of a kind. This is not just for when you are on a date, but throughout the week. You can leave a sticky note on the bathroom mirror in the morning just saying "I love you - have a great day!" or send a text message to your spouse midday when you are thinking about him or her. You can even build up the anticipation of being intimate and tease your partner with what you're thinking of doing that evening.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, always act out of kindness and patience as much as possible and treat each other with respect and love. It is difficult to feel like dating when there is exhaustion, frustration, and hostility looming over you. Learn your and your partner's triggers and don't actively try to push their buttons. Having a mutually respectful relationship between you will foster an atmosphere of wanting to be together and spending time with each other.