Why Dating Your Spouse Should Be A Top Priority In Your Marriage
On Episode 3 of the "Hello 30" podcast, myself and Relationship Therapist Deseray Hamilton of The Love Collective talked about how important it is to continue dating your spouse, even after marriage. Unfortunately, there's a misconception that marriage is the end goal and it's all perfect instagram photos and gifts from there. Yea...no!
There's certainly way more that goes into choosing a spouse than love and sexual compatibility. The wedding is the easy part, staying married is the challenge.
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Don't get me wrong, marriage can be a beautiful thing when you do it with the right person, but it's requires a lot of communication, compromise and sacrifice. Think of marriage as a plant. It needs to be nurtured, watered and tend to every single day. If you neglect it, it will eventually start to become week and eventually die.
With work, children, financial obligations and a myriad of other factors, it's easy to become disconnected from one another. This is why continuing to date your spouse even after marriage, is so important!
I remember a few years ago when a friend of mine came into town and we were trying to figure out when we could see each other. I suggested a date and she told me, "That's my date night with my husband, that won't work". That totally caught me off guard, not because I was offended, but I was surprised and impressed with the fact that date night with her husband was a non-negotiable. It was top priority and she was not going to move that around, even for a friend she hadn't seen in a while.
At that time, going on dates was not a top priority around here and it showed.
These days, my husband and I go on dates at least twice per month. While we love creating memories as a family, it's very important that we continue to connect as husband and wife without our children around for a few hours. It gives us a chance to talk without distractions and experience new things with one another.
I remember at one point when my husband would bring up the same old memories over and over. I told him, "We really need to spend time with each other so we can have something new to talk about". He agreed, and we've been doing great since starting to date again. He's even began to initiate and plan some of our outings.
After a few years, marriage can become boring if there's nothing new and exciting happening. It also becomes easy to drift apart after a few years of being married, especially when children enter the picture. For moms especially, we can sometimes get so lost in is tending to our children that we forget to put our marriage on spouse on the list. Don't get me wrong, we have a lot of juggle and at times it feels that we're giving so much more than we're getting. I've definitely been guilty of never putting on my "wife hat" and staying stuck in mommy mode, while my husband has had times where he is in tunnel vision when it comes to work. It's a constant juggling act to be both parent and spouse.
Dating creates the opportunity to turn off autopilot and take time out for each other. It shows how important you are to one another, which makes your partner feel loved. It shows that you want to be together and that you're not just there out of obligation. You can try new things together and bring your spouse into your world. For example, on one date Hubby took me to the gun range where we often goes to relieve stress, while on one date I introduced him to vegan soul food which he complained the whole way there that he would hate. He loved it and has been making requests for us to go back soon.
Dating helps to keep the romance alive and strengthens your bond as you grow. We have been together for over 12 years now. I am not the same person he met on day one and vice versa. Continuing to date helps to continue to get to know each other, a person doesn't stop growing the day you marry them.
As I approach 30 and adjust to being the mom of two little boys, I'm entering a new phase of my marriage. I expected for our alone time to become less frequent with the new baby, however, since we have both become extremely intentional about our time together, we haven't missed a beat and it feels amazing! We're not perfect, but we have vastly improved on ensuring that we spend quality time together as we continue to grow as a family and as individuals.