Counselors, bloggers, and marriage educators have been talking about dating for married couples for the past several years. I remember hearing about dating as a married couple in the 1980’s really for the first time. My parents would go to functions and get us a baby sitter but I guess that I never considered them going on dates. What I do remember was that they would go to church functions or work events. Every once in a while, they would go to a concert at the college or a community play. While I’m thinking about it, yes they went on a few dates while I was growing up. They just did not talk about dating as a couple.
Dating is important at any stage in the marriage relationship. If you are newlyweds, you might think that every day is a date. You are still excited about being around each other and you are not worried about the “cares” of everyday life yet. You play and joke and just enjoy being together. If you are parents of children, dating becomes more difficult. You have to find a sitter. You are more tired because of work and taking care of the kids. Your children have different activities to get to and you are their taxi drivers. Just remembering those days is making me tired. Maybe you are like me and my wife: empty-nesters. Dating can still be challenging because of work schedules, fatigue from work itself, or financial crises, not to mention babysitting grandkids. Every stage of married life needs dating to be a part of it, yet each stage carries its own set of struggles to accomplish dating. How do we have a successful dating relationship while we are married?
- Schedule a date night. Obviously once a week would be best for this. Some schedules do not allow for that as well as some budgets would not allow it. Therefore, schedule a date night at least once per month. Put it on your calendar. Budget for it. Make it a priority to your relationship.
- Be creative with your dates. Try not to get into a rut of what a date is for you. I know that this can be difficult in some communities, but work together to broaden your scope for dating. I confess that this is a problem for me. I think that all dates should include a sit-down dinner at a restaurant. I am trying to expand my thoughts to something more imaginative.
- Be attentive on your dates. Put the phone away. If you are sitting a table in a restaurant, sit across from each other so you can look at each other. Talk to your mate. Laugh and cut up together. Play footsies under the table. When you spend time looking at your phone, your spouse thinks he/she is not important. I have started giving my phone to my wife when we go out on a date. That way she can control if it gets answered and I will not be tempted to play games or text while we are on the date.
- Alternate choosing the dates. If you always choose what you are going to do on the date, let your spouse plan the date. You might be surprised at what they want to do. I have encouraged couples to rotate each month for the dates. The man plans all the dates for this month and the woman plans all the dates for next month. Neither person can complain about the choices for the dates. This allows for more variety in the dates as well as takes the pressure off of any one person to decide on each date.
Each one of us need to be actively dating our spouse. We need to keep our marriage fresh and spontaneous through dating. I hope that these suggestions of how to have a successful dating relationship in your marriage is helpful to you.
What would you add to the suggestions?