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Dating your spouse

Updated: Aug 24, 2022

I ask my husband John out on our first “group” date. It was eons ago—nearly thirty-two years. A bunch of us were going to see “Back to the Future II.” I was persuaded to ask him to join the group. It was a setup from the beginning.

I ask my husband John out on our first “group” date. It was eons ago—nearly thirty-two years. A bunch of us were going to see “Back to the Future II.” I was persuaded to ask him to join the group. It was a setup from the beginning. John shot me down because his excuse was that he had to work. A legitimate reason I accepted since he wasn’t really on my radar. As I was getting ready that night, he called me to see if I still planned on going because he had said he had taken off work. I guess I was on his radar. I told him I was, and I’d see him there. “Great,” he replied. “How about I come to pick you up instead.” I proceeded to give him my address, but he stopped me mid-sentence, letting me know he knew where I lived. Stalker much!! I agreed he could pick me up, and we have been inseparable since that first night together. Has it been easy? Definitely not! We hit that 11-year pull. But anything worth having is worth working hard to keep.

John and I instituted date night about 12 years into our marriage to keep the sizzle alive. I feel there is this hump a couple has to overcome, and I call it the 11-year pull. It is at this stage in the marriage where things begin to pull the husband and wife away from one another, and they get caught up because items are shiny or the grass is greener on the other side. If couples have been married for 11 years, they find that during that time, several things have occurred. There may be a career that has taken off and long hours at work keep the family from being together. Or children that have been introduced into the marriage are now at a more independent stage, and school activities pull couples to and fro.

But now, they look at one another and feel less connected. Eleven years have been spent maintaining, but that isn’t good enough anymore. So now, all of a sudden, they look up and say, “they’re out of love” or “not connected.” Maybe better yet, they say, “they don’t get each other anymore.” Instead of focusing on each other, couples have spent those 11 years letting life happen. Careers….kids….finances…health issues…the list can go on and on. Living together has been like two ships passing in the night, and they have pulled away.

How do you get that fire back? Or better yet, how do you make sure it never goes away, and you don’t look up and say those words one day?

Date!! Every week it is essential to work on your relationship. As we get older, we grow in all manner of aspects of our lives. But it’s important that, as a couple, you work to grow together. Remember the reasons why you married each other in the first place and fell in love. A date night doesn’t have to be an expensive dinner. I know with the kids, babysitters can be costly. When our kids were small, we found another couple who had kids and were dying to have a date night as well. We would take turns looking after each other’s kids so that it would cut back on babysitting costs. A date could be as simple as:

  • A walk by the lake holding hands, remembering you’re dating years.

  • An easy hike to enjoy the sunset.

  • Take a drive with the windows down and the music loud and sing.

  • Take a bike ride around the park.

  • It can be just a simple night at the movie theater and a quick bite to eat from a drive-through.

  • Pick a street in town and decide you will try a restaurant for the first time.

  • Find a new hobby the two of you can grow passionate about.

  • Spend time together during the day having a date day.

And... should I dare say being frisky in the car... Yes, that’s right. Why do we think that when we get married, all the fun stops? It’s just beginning.

John and I took up dance lessons so we could do something together. It’s something we enjoy doing almost every week.

The point is to break away from the kids and work to regroup and spend time together. Remember to have fun. Marriage is growing together, not apart. Passing each other in the hall as one heads off to work and the other heads to get the kids ready for school does not make a marriage. It’s doomed for failure. Keeping the spark alive means being intentional about the other despite the busyness of the day. Focus on what brought the two of you together in the first place.

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