Last Monday’s post spurred some great discussion and input on dating through marriage. I’m so thankful that we’re not alone in wanting to be intentional, and prioritizing our marriage, even when obstacles and challenges arise.
Brad and I certainly do not have this dating thing down to a science, but we’ve been learning the hard way how key a simple date can be to the health of our marriage. I wanted to get Brad’s perspective as well on this topic, so we are tackling this post together. His responses are in blue, and mine are in pink.
7 Reasons Why I’m Still Dating My Spouse:
1) Dating your spouse models a healthy relationship for your children’s future marriages. We’re setting the stage daily for what “family” looks like, and what they see you making a priority is what they are likely to expect in their own marriages. If we foster these relationships now, and show them how to continuously pursue a healthy marriage, it can have lasting positive results in their own marriages one day. What a great security we can give them when they see that mommy and daddy are dedicated to one another!
2) Making your spouse a priority IS putting your kids first. (It’s not selfish) Sometimes I feel guilty and selfish about taking time to leave my kids and go have fun with my wife, just the two of us. It’s not necessarily about dating so that our marriage survives, I have committed to stay married no matter what. (Although it could help there too.) Dating is also about getting time to talk about what we are doing right, and what needs fixed. We are better parents when we use our dates to work on things, and that IS what is best for our kids.
3) Dating allows you to see your spouse as the one you fell in love with, rather than just your roommate, trashman, diaper changer, carpool partner, cook, etc. Sometimes the daily routine can put a damper on appreciating the person you first were attracted to. The “hunt and capture” may be over, but the pursuit is not. The couple who were joyously and madly in love is still buried in there even in the messiness of parenthood, and it’s much easier to see that person when you’re not surrounded by the laundry piles.
4) Dating doesn’t require an extravagant budget. I’ve heard some couples say that they don’t date because they don’t want to spend the money. I get that, we have had some very tight budgets ourselves these past few years. If a babysitter isn’t in your budget, and family isn’t an option, look for a couple in your area that would be willing to swap date nights. Find a place to walk, sit and talk, throw a frisbee, play a simple game , or anything that allows you to talk. What’s important? The uninterrupted communication.
5) Setting aside a time to date, gives a specific time to reflect and reevaluate. Some of our best conversations have come at the end of a date sitting in the driveway, or in the quiet of our home after the boys are sleeping. It’s a great time to ask, “How can I serve you better?” “What are some things we are doing right?” “How can we handle this situation better as a team?” We don’t seem to get time to hash things out for the better in the chaos of daily life.
6) For better or for worse, dating can turn worse better again. Just because you committed to being together “in good times and in bad” doesn’t mean you should not do what you can to make as many good times as possible. Every marriage has those hurtful ruts that we get stuck in. Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to navigate back to solid ground with all of the distractions family-life brings? Dating has helped us so much by giving us the time we need to think, talk, and forgive.
7) Because after kids, it’s just us again. It’s easy to get focused in on serving, teaching, and raising the kids while our one-on-one relationship with one another dies on the vine. We might be ok for the next 14 years doing that, but what happens then? What are we going to do for the last few decades of our marriage when our kids don’t need us anymore? I vowed “til death do us part”, how about you? Dating has helped me continue to LOVE spending time with my wife, so that I actually look forward, instead of dread those years.