Last weekend at The Wives Workshop, I presented on the topic of continuing to date each other after you get married. It's been on my mind ever since, so I thought I'd carry that over into a post today. I've picked my three favorite tips from the night and adjusted them a bit based on a couple of things that I learned from the other presenters and thoughts that I've had since.
It's no secret that I'm passionate about date night in marriage; I even wrote an e-book full of tips and ideas for your date night activities about it. But dating your spouse involves so much more than regular date nights. When you were "courting" each other (I can't help but think of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers every time I talk about this subject), you were in constant pursuit. Every single day you were eager to find ways to connect, whether that was in person, through text/email or over the phone, depending on your relationship situation.
If you don't continue your pursuit after marriage, you'll wake up one day and find that you've become roommates, business partners or just a really good parenting team. Your "partnership" and your family was built on that friendship and romance, and you must continue to build that relationship throughout the rest of your lives if you want it to last. There are simple things that you can do every single day to make your marriage a priority and continue to date your spouse.
Make Time to Connect
At the workshop, I talked about connecting conversation. So often in marriage, we find ourselves communicating about our adult responsibilities or the "business" side of life. The fun, relationship building chats don't happen as often. Look for opportunities in your daily routine to connect and have the more fun discussions, dreaming about the future or getting to know each other better. Take a walk together, meet for lunch, enjoy time outside after the kids are in bed, send a few texts back and forth or chat over the phone during your commute.
While we were in the NICU last year, it would have been all too easy to focus on the trials that our family was going through and set our marriage aside. We needed to be a solid team then more than ever, so we knew that we needed to make time with each other a priority every single day. We found a way to make date night happen on a regular basis, and spend some time, just the two of us, on a daily basis. Dinner was spent chatting about the fun things we wanted to do as a family after Emmy came home, memories from our relationship or funny things that we'd experienced that day. It was a great opportunity to forget about the stress we were experiencing and get back to the roots of our relationship. Some days it was only 15 minutes and others we had an entire hour. It didn't matter how much time we had, it mattered what we did with that time.
Think About Each Other
When life gets busy, you could go an entire day without crossing paths, but still find a way to let your spouse know you care. If you make a point to connect through conversation each day, you'll know what your spouse has going on in their life and then you can use that to your advantage. Maybe they have a big deadline to meet at work, a test to take, or a presentation that they are nervous about. Wishing them luck before they walk out the door in the morning, sending a quick text a few minutes before the event, and/or following up at the end of the day when you're back together are all great ways to let your love know that you are thinking about them.
If you both have busy schedules but want to make a point to let the other know they're on your mind throughout the day, there are a few different things that you can do. I like to set reminders and alarms on my phone to pop up and alert me when it's my husband's lunch break and he can take calls or before I know he'll be doing something that I want to encourage him on. I'm also a fan of scheduling text messages, and I don't think that having a text scheduled to send out at a specific time is any less sincere. Setting reminders or having messages scheduled out in advance is great, because chances are your spouse is on your mind, you just may not be able to watch the clock every minute of the day so as not to miss out on your opportunity to say, "hey, you're important to me!"
Meaningful Physical Touch
Thinking back on the days when we were dating, I remember how inseparable we were. We were always hugging, holding hands or cuddling. While I was doing my homework, Joe would sit next to me on the couch, as close together as we could get, so that we could feel connected while we did our separate activities. When we were out to eat, we would hold hands, touch knees or play footsie under the table while we ate. It all sounds a little nauseating now, but the truth is, I like to strive to be as mushy and in love as we were in the early stages of our relationship.
I love to look for little ways each day to connect through touch. Whether it's stealing a kiss while I get dinner ready, sitting close together on the couch while we read stories to our kids or holding hands while we go on a walk. You may not be as "all over each other" as you were when you were dating, but you can get pretty darn close.
Those mushy feelings of love and the butterflies in the stomach that you felt while you were dating can continue throughout the rest of your lives. With a little effort and a lot of intentionality, you will find that it becomes easier and easier to date each other daily, even with all of the grown up responsibilities and boring activities that you have to take part in on a regular basis.
What do you do to pursue your spouse daily?