Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Are You Still "Dating" Your Spouse?

Remember those days when you and your spouse were just getting to know each other? You called each other on the phone, set up a special place to go or spot to meet, held hands everywhere you went and made the evening last as long as possible?

But then came marriage, kids, a house to take care of and bills to pay. Working late and getting older meant you were more tired and it was easier to just share a quick kiss and say goodnight. Time for each other became replaced by time for everyone and everything else.

No more love letters, evenings just for the two of you, and conversations that seemed to never get boring. It was like you'd learned all you could about the other and if there was more to find out it was just too much effort.

Does any of that describe your marriage? Or are you possibly on your way there? One reason might be that you and your spouse have forgotten what it's like to date or you've quit making personal time for the two of you a priority. And if you quit being intentional about your one another relationship, you'll quit growing closer.

But here's the good news. It's never too late to re-kindle the sparks in your marriage. And you don't have to wait until your kids are grown or the house is paid off or you get that perfect job with the ideal hours to do so. And I'm not just talking about returning romance to your marriage but also deepening your total intimacy of body, soul and spirit.

Let me give you a couple of suggestions that you can adapt to your specific situation. First of all, commit now to a regular time to do something together. Some people pick a night of the week or every other week that is date night. If that works for you go for it.

We have chosen a day or part of a day each week that is more our day. It's varied over the years depending upon our work situation and the ages of our children. When we were younger, had small children and didn't have a lot of extra money, we worked out an every-other-Saturday morning deal with some friends where we would watch their kids one week and they would watch ours the next. That way we never had to pay for a sitter but stayed committed to get out of the house together.

Now we spend every Monday doing something. Sometimes we may include some errands but we're still together and at least have a relaxing lunch in there somewhere. But as much as possible we're out hiking, going to some new place and eating at a different restaurant. It usually doesn't cost a lot but it's worth millions for our marriage.

In fact, because we've done this most of our married life, it was a natural thing to continue once we became empty-nesters. And our kids also learned growing up that while they were incredibly important to us and much-loved, mom and dad's relationship was a priority too. Remember your home is Marriage 101 for your kids. What you do is what they will more likely model themselves.

Second, talk together about some things you could do as a couple that you both would enjoy. You may need to add some new things to your list or there might be some activities that you used to do that you've long forgotten about. We've found that much of the fun and what brings us together revolves around the planning of the events.

Is there a trip you've wanted to take? Is there a new hobby that would be fun to try? Don't wait until you're old to start checking off some things on your "bucket list."

Third, get away for at least a couple of nights together every year. We've found that those extended times help us to take inventory of how we've been doing the past year as a couple and/or parents and what we want to work on during the coming year. That coming together helps unite us even more around our real purposes, goals and what we believe God wants for us and our family.

A classic excuse I hear from married couples is, "Well, we just can't afford the time to do those kinds of things." My response is, "You can't afford NOT to do them." If you're too busy to work on your marriage, then you're too busy. If time with your children has usurped any time for you you're in for trouble at some point if not already. Invest in your relationship with each other. It's one of the most important possessions you'll ever have. Enjoy it and enhance it. And do it now.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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