If you're like many married couples, you've gotten caught up in the routine of jobs, parenting, church, and other commitments. And many of those couples are so busy they don't take time to nurture the foundation of their family - their marriage and their relationship with each other. But when that marriage foundation begins to crumble, everything else will come down with it. And that's why we want to coach you on how to nurture that relationship - and one of the great ways to do that is by dating your mate.
When you were single, dating was a time to get away alone, to talk, laugh, and have fun together. You took time to learn more about each other, about your past and your dreams for the future. But here's the deal: Now that you're married, you need to do the same thing! You need to get away alone and continue to talk, laugh, and have fun together! You need to learn more about each other! And that's why dating shouldn't stop with marriage.
Dating your mate will help the two of you begin to reconnect, rekindle the romance in your relationship, and pull your marriage out of the rut it's stuck in. But it's not just going to happen on its own. It's going to take time, effort, and planning. It means you're going to have to make your marriage and your spouse a priority. And that's why we want to help you get motivated to start dating your mate again, by coaching you on how to get the ball rolling.
First things first - your spouse needs to come to the top of your priority list - just a bubble behind Jesus. You need to give your spouse priority access to your time - instead of just the leftovers. Priority time for your spouse means occasional date nights and getaway weekends. These type of events need to be planned ahead of time, of course, because if you wait until the last minute, you may have trouble fitting them into your busy life. But priority time also means smaller time slots each day, such as having dinner together, taking a brief walk, spending time talking, playing a game, or watching a favorite program together.
If you and your spouse haven't really "dated" for awhile, and you're not sure where to start, just start simple. Think back to what the two of you enjoyed doing together before you got married. Think about what your spouse likes to do. Think of something new the two of you can try together. It doesn't have to be something elaborate! If you used to go for walks in the park together - try that! If your husband loves sports - go to a game with him! If your wife loves antiques - go antique shopping with her! If the two of you have never taken dance lessons - sign up and go together! The idea is to get the two of you some alone time together - time to reconnect as husband and wife!
We realize that people are different and there are different lifestyles and different areas of the country. And we know people are at different stages - some have little children, some have difficult work schedules. People have different financial situations. The point of this article is to jump-start your thinking.
So, as you begin reconnecting and get back to dating your mate, here are some things you need to consider:
- First, get the right perspective. Recognize that you have to give you and your spouse some time. If you've been stuck in a rut for awhile, you have to realize that you didn't get there overnight and you won't resolve everything overnight. But you can begin today to work on reconnecting, rekindling the flame, and reuniting your hearts and souls.
- Reconnect with God and be in prayer. Seek God's help for wisdom and discernment as you consider how to go about this dating process. If there has been much pain and hurt in your marriage, you may need extra strength and courage to forgive or ask for forgiveness. If there has been distance, you need wisdom to know how to reconnect. Ask God to bless your endeavor.
- Make a commitment. You need to "do" the dates, but not just as a quick fix. Planning some dates and going out with your spouse is only the start. You need to maintain your marriage by constantly being aware of your spouse's love needs and striving to meet them on a daily basis in your everyday life.
- Keep it up! Don't stop dating just because you went on a couple of dates and your spouse seems to be appeased. Or because you think you've done enough to get out of your rut. Or because you think you've run out of ideas. Be creative! Your dates don't have to be expensive or elaborate, they just need to be. You and your spouse need special times together. That's what dating is all about. It should never stop! So keep on dating!
So, here's the drill today. Ask your spouse on a date. It can be as simple or as fancy as you want. Take your spouse to dinner. Go for a walk. Whisk your mate away for an overnight getaway. The sky is the limit! You were probably pretty creative when the two of you were dating before you got married - so draw on that again! We can guarantee you one thing: The rewards will be well worth it!
Originally posted December 2, 2008
Portions of this article were adapted from "40 Unforgettable Dates with Your Mate," Copyright 2002 by Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg, all rights reserved. Published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., www.tyndale.com. To order this resource or to find our more about Dr. Gary and Barb - Your Marriage Coaches, visit www.drgaryandbarb.com or call 1-888-608-COACH.
Married over 30 years, the parents of two adult daughters and five grandchildren, Dr. Gary and Barb Rosberg, your marriage coaches, have a unique blend of insight and wisdom that touch people of all ages. Together with Gary's 25,000 hours of counseling experience and Barbara's gift of encouragement and biblical teaching, they are equipping thousands of families across the nation through their interactive daily radio program, conferences, and marriage and family.