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Ways to Stay Connected

I ask John out on our first "group" date. A bunch of us were going to see "Back to the Future II," and they asked me to ask him to join the group. He shot me down because he said he had to work. A viable excuse, and I was okay with that because he wasn't really on my radar. As I was getting ready for the night out, he called me to see if I still planned on going. He decided he would take off from 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." I proceeded to give him my address, but he stopped me, saying he knew where I lived. Stalker much!! I agreed he could pick me up, and we have been inseparable. Has it been easy? Definitely not! We hit that 11-year pull. But anything worth having is worth working for.

John and I instituted date night about 12 years into our marriage. I feel there is this hump a couple has to overcome, and I call it the 11-year pull. In the duration of 11 years of marriage, several things have occurred. You may have a career that has taken off, and you work long hours, or you may have had children, and they are now at a more independent stage. But now you look at one another, and you feel less connected. You have spent the last 11 years maintaining, but that isn't good enough anymore. So now, all of a sudden, you look up and say to the one you married till death do you part, "you are out of love," "not connected," or "don't get each other."

Instead, what happened was you spent 11 years being distant because you were not the focus of each other and had pulled away. How do you get that fire back? Or better yet, how do you ensure it never goes away, so you don't look up and say those words one day?

Date!! Every week it is essential to work on your relationship. The two of you have the ability to grow. 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, and we would take turns looking after each other's kids so that way 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.

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

Take a bike ride around the park.

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

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

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 is just beginning.

Find a new hobby the two of you can grow passionate together in. John and I took up dance lessons together, and it is something we enjoy doing almost every week.

The point is to break away from the kids and work and be 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.

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