For many people, courtship or dating, is just a means to an end — a happily ever after fairy tale. You date someone, fall in love, get married and even have kids. But, there are many good reasons why you should continue dating your spouse, especially if you want to stay happily married ever after.
Remember why you fell in love
Before marriage, a lot of couples spend every possible moment together learning new information about each other. During this time, they draw closer, fall more deeply in love and eventually decide to get married. It is important for married couples to keep dating to keep that "spark" alive. Remember why you first fell in love and add to that initial attraction and fall in love again and again. Your love will grow deeper as you fall in love with more aspects of your spouse as you continue to develop your relationship.
Couples need alone time together
The honeymoon's over and work, kids and other responsibilities attempt to take precedence over your marriage. It is imperative to spend time together just as a couple. This is special bonding time — away from distractions — to strengthen a marriage. Date nights, intimacy and talking are all key aspects needed to keep a marriage strong. Schedule weekly (or as frequently as circumstances allow) alone time.
If you don't spend the time on your marriage now and are always waiting for life to slow down, the kids to get bigger or any other excuse, you'll be missing out on each other's lives. If you think back to what you were like 10 years ago, you've likely changed quite a bit since then. So, what would happen if you got married, spent very little alone time together and then the kids move out and retirement comes and all you have left is each other? You're now both virtual strangers who sit across the dinner table not really knowing who the other person has become. Conversely, if you grow together, your bond will be much stronger as you are continually "getting to know" each other. People change, but make sure you change together as a couple.
Dating is homework for your marriage
Just like homework from school helps us to better learn the concepts and practice what we've learned, the same is true for marriage homework. We practice good habits and work on our marriage when we date our spouse. There may be times when the homework is harder or when it is just lots of fun, but it is still necessary. From just talking privately to taking a trip together, dating is part of the work required for a healthy marriage. Don't forget about doing extra credit — "just because" — for your marriage, like serving one another, leaving love notes for each other or making occasional surprises to help stay in love.
Dating your spouse does not have to be complicated
Regardless of your situation, regular date nights are possible. A night in after the kids are in bed can be spent talking, playing a board game, having dessert together or cuddling on the couch while watching a movie. Whether you go out to dinner, go for a walk, take an overnight trip or something more elaborate, the important thing is that you do it. Keep it simple and within the bounds of what you are able to do financially, time-wise or physically. Great dating ideas (many you can do for free, cheap or even at home) can be found on The Dating Divas website that is specifically geared toward "strengthening marriages, one date at a time."
If something is important to you, you take care of it, fix it up and protect it. Marriages are important, but if they take a back seat to the rest of life, it'll most likely wither away from lack of nutrition. By dating your spouse, you are nurturing each other and your marriage. Healthy marriages take time, understanding, growth and lots of love. Dating is a key way to help a marriage flourish. It is necessary to keep dating your spouse, even when times are tough, to help you strengthen the relationship and stay in love.
For six essential ingredients for a long, happy marriage, click here.
Wendy is a regular contributor for familyshare.com and does media reviews. Website: https://survivorshopeandhealing.wordpress.com/ for victims of sexual abuse. Blog: https://wendyejessen.wordpress.com Twitter: @WendyJessen