Making a Great Marriage by Dating Your Spouse:
Dating shouldn’t stop with marriage.
Too often, married couples get settled, caught up in the routine of jobs, church, parenting, and other commitments. Many couples are so busy that they don’t take time to nurture the foundation of their family — their marriage and their relationship with each other. As we know all too well, when that marriage foundation begins to crumble, everything else comes down with it.
Your marriage is your most important relationship after your relationship with God.
Your marriage needs nurturing. Like a plant needs water or a car needs an oil change, your marriage needs consistent attention. It needs care and nurture every day; it needs a special “tune-up” once in a while. You need to reconnect with your spouse. You need to work at your marriage.
Guys, you wouldn’t think of ignoring your car for a year at a time, so why do you think your wife can go for days or weeks at a time without attention from you? Women, you wouldn’t think of buying a plant and refusing to water it, so why do you think your husband can go for days or weeks at a time without some of his most important needs being met?
Keeping a marriage together and the romance alive takes time.
It means making one’s marriage and spouse a priority and setting aside time for only him or her. In other words, it means planning dates on a regular basis.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Take Every Opportunity
Take advantage of any moments you can grab to be together. Is he running to the video store to return the tape? Then go along for the ride. Is she going to the corner store to pick up milk? Go along. Even a few minutes grabbed from the regular rush of life can add up to a lot of time to be together.
Together in the Quiet
The flip side of the “Take Every opportunity” date is this one. Sometimes we need quiet time. Sometimes we need to know the other person is there, but we’re in the middle of processing something or devouring a great novel or doing some paper work. A date can consist of two people together doing different things. Don’t be afraid to give each other some space.
Make the Mundane Special
Do you both need to attend a political fund-raising dinner? Do you need to go to the quarterly business meeting at church? Maybe you need to renew your driver’s licenses. Anything can be an opportunity for a date. You see, do the thing that has to be done, and then add a little twist. After the meeting, go out for coffee at your favorite place. After you stand in line at the driver’s license facility, go get some ice cream. Anything can be the opportunity for a date if you know how to be creative.
You could make even chore time at home special
– if you’re really creative. However, it might be counterproductive for some of you to attempt to make a date out of hanging wallpaper together, so don’t try to overdo this one!
Working It Out
If you have a joint health-club membership, turn that into a date once in a while. Use the health club as a place for a tennis date or a walking date (on side-by-side machines of course) or a swimming date.
We Belong Together
Here’s a date where you both can make a recommitment to each other. Plan to go out for dinner. Beforehand, each of you should draw up a list titled, “Here’s What Is Special in Our Marriage.” Share those lists at dinner. Celebrate all that you’ve done together, all that you’ve accomplished, all that you’ve weathered, and all that makes you unique. Take joy in your future together.
Remember Those Vows
Surely you’ll find yourselves invited to a wedding at some point. Take that invitation as an opportunity for a date. This can be a time to remember your own wedding. Listen carefully to the pastor’s words to the married couple — listen as if the words were being spoken to you. Then listen carefully once again to the vows. Remember that these are the words you spoke to each other. Take time after the wedding to discuss ways that you have kept those vows and ways that you need to improve. Maybe even go home and pull out your own wedding video (or, if you are our vintage, the cassette tape). Revisit your wedding and the feelings and goals you had then. Reflect on God’s goodness to you in the intervening years.
If you have an opportunity to attend some kind of marriage enrichment conference, go ahead and go together. Take the chance to learn a bit more about your marriage, to learn more about each other, and to grow together emotionally and spiritually. Attend an America’s Family Coaches conference (for scheduling, see the Web site: www.afclive.com), or experience a “weekend to remember” at a FamilyLife Conference (for scheduling, see the Web site: www.familylife.com). Listen to a radio program called America’s Family Coaches LIVE if it’s on in your city, then each day try to listen and then talk about the program over dinner and share new ideas and insights on how to strengthen your own marriage and family.
Take advantage of the opportunity today. You don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Don’t wait to begin to work on making a great marriage.