One day I woke up and suddenly felt distant from my husband. In between his firefighter and paramedic school demands and the demands of raising our son and taking care of our home, I realized it had been months since we went on a date. We always seemed to make an excuse for not going on dates … money was too tight, we waited too last minute to find a babysitter, or we would rather just stay in. While the distance felt sudden, it took months and months to happen because we were no longer making each other a priority. When I stopped dating my spouse, things slowly spiraled out of control—our communication, our affection, and our authenticity.
While we do spend ample time together going to church, running errands, playing with our son and watching shows late at night, it became apparent that our marriage needed more. Our marriage needed intentional time away from distractions to focus on one another.
While we do not go on dates every week or every other week, we are being more intentional about dating one another and making each other a priority. It does not take a large bank account to make your spouse a priority. If funds are limited, you can go to local parks, explore wildlife, or find creative things to do in your community for little to no money.
Here are a few things to remember about being intentional in your marriage:
1. Don’t take the dating out of your marriage – EVER. If there is anything I like to reminisce on, it is how much fun it was dating my husband before marriage. The nerves, the giddiness, the smiles, the hand-holding, the long conversations and future planning/dreaming. What we need to remember is that dating improves WITH marriage – your bond strengthens, you continue to get to know your partner. Dating is vital to the continued evolvement of your love story. It is important to continue romancing one another and dreaming together.
2. Sometimes (many times) life tries to get in the way – don’t let it! Once your careers take off and you start your family, it can be so easy to become consumed with life that you forget to make your spouse a priority. Take time to show your spouse you care in the simplest of ways – greet them at the door with a kiss, write love notes on the bathroom mirror, send a sweet text message while they are at work. Don’t let the busyness of life take over falling in love with your spouse every single day. Don’t let the frustration of screaming toddlers, piled high bills or cars constantly breaking down steal the joy from your marriage.
3. Don’t forget to be authentic and affectionate. Just because you are “off the market” does not mean that your affection and authenticity should come to a halt. Marriages need affection, whispered “I love you’s,” bear hugs, and hand holding. Marriages also need the same authenticity you had when you told your hopes and dreams while you were dating. Marriages thrive when you can communicate openly and honestly with one another, without judgment.
Dating your spouse is the adventure of a lifetime – so pull out the candles, leave the to-do lists at home and spend some quality time together.