This last weekend we did something we haven’t done in a couple years. We went on a date. Without the kids. Out of our house. Alone. And it wasn’t to the grocery store! It was in this time (and countless date-night ins) that we were reminded of the importance of needing to date your spouse. We were reminded of the joy in dating.
It is so much easier to spend time dating your spouse and being with him/her in meaningful ways before kids come along. Before kids, it was as simple as aligning our schedules, making a plan, and then executing it. There was no need for a sitter, no need to set aside extra money to pay for a sitter, and no need to worry about the kids or feel guilty for leaving the house without them.
(If you’re married without children, bear with me as the below applies to any married couple).
Our children are 4 and 1 and I get severe mommy guilt for leaving them behind. They just seem so small and what if…. Oh the what ifs. What if the baby wakes? What if our 4 year old has another night terror? Or what if the house catches fire? Needless to say, I have come up with many what ifs in the past four years.
When our eldest was born, we lived in a town where we knew some teenagers old enough to babysit, so when she was sleeping through the night, we started to get a sitter every now and then. After our youngest was born, we moved to a new town and knew nobody. I had a hard time entrusting a stranger to look after my babies, so we never did anything together out of the house.
We had some lovely date nights in, but I think our kids were on to us because they always seem to wake up on those nights, or we worry about them waking up. Not so fun of a process when on a “date”.
Time and effort
Think back to when you and your spouse were dating. Chances are, you have many fond memories of doing thing together and being together. You put time into your relationship as you wanted it to flourish. There was a draw to this human being that made you want to spend more time with them. They made you think about taking your relationship to the next levels.
And if you’re married, you did. You decided to marry this man or woman.
Somewhere along the way, many of us stop actively pursuing our spouses. We’ve got them. What more do we need to do?
We put our time and effort into our kids and our careers and unintentionally, many relationships get pushed to the back-burner except the established holidays and celebrations that remind us to love our spouses. And sometimes, we even forget these occasions.
We run out of time. We get tired. And unfortunately, our spouses get what is left more often than not.
As I said above, we went on a date this weekend and it was so needed! We spend a lot of time alongside each other and try to do family things with our kids. We cherish all the time we spend as a family, but spending time together, just the two of us, is such a treat.
This weekend, we had Grandma here to watch the girls and we went on an adventure. We put your youngest to bed and the eldest watched a movie with her Grandma and her aunties and we embarked on a semi-planned night.
We’ve been itching to try out a summer luge track that is nearby. The forecast was calling for rain. Things just didn’t seem to be aligning so we were a bit sad at the prospect of starting our plan from scratch. My husband was tempted to pull the plug on the plans.
While my husband had a nap, I set to making a new plan. It wasn’t the most amazing plan ever, but I was going to be with my husband, so I was satisfied. When the girls were set, we started on the road. The sky was so clear, so we debated and decided to give the luge a try and just prayed the rain would stay away long enough. We got helmeted, took the ski lift up, and got ready to try something new together.
I couldn’t help but look at my husband and smile. We were both so excited and giddy – we felt like teenagers again. We felt that same excitement from when we were dating. It was exhilarating.
Eventually we got through the safety stuff and down we went. We laughed, we raced, we had so much fun.
When we got to the bottom, we couldn’t wait to go again. Not only because the track was fun, but because that excitement of dating was awoken in us.
After we finished at the luge track, we went for dinner and then decided to catch a late movie. It truly felt like we were dating again.
Married, but dating
It’s funny how over time, dating seems to stop being important in a relationship. It’s rare that it is even referred to as dating when you are married.
Yes, we have spent time together at home, but typically doing the same things over and over. We have often found ourselves in after-the-kids-go-to-bed routines. These can be great, but they often miss the thought behind date-planning. (One night, my husband jazzed up an in-house movie night by picking up dinner and some treats to break from the routine-feeling in-house date nights).
Dating doesn’t have to be an elaborate scheme. It should just refresh the same feelings as when you two were dating.
For us, when I look back to before we were married, I think of the adventures we took (never very far), I think of the laughter we shared, and I think of us trying new things together. These things are what comes to mind when I think of the dating stage of our relationship.
What stands out in your memories of when you and your spouse were dating?
A lot of my favourite memories of dating my husband didn’t even cost very much. A hike along an unfamiliar trail. Driving back roads or navigating through city streets seeing the sights. Window shopping. Sky gazing. Geocaching. Bowling. Coffee dates. Playing board games. Attending local concerts. Movie nights. Dreaming big dreams. And so much more.
One thing all my favourite memories have in common is: me and the love of my life interacting and sharing quality time together. Laughing, learning, and enjoying every minute together. Alone. With nobody to steal our focus off the one who matters so much to the other.
It reminds me that we need to invest more into our marriage and into our relationship. We need to invest our hearts and not make excuses about time and other commitments. After God, my husband comes first. I need to make sure I invest my emotions, my happiness, my time, and my energy in him. Not just my leftover time.
Not just on these rare date nights out.
Don’t get me wrong, we spend lots of time together as a family and in routines together, but I want more for our marriage. I want a marriage that stands the test of time. I want us to experience the joy in dating as we did 10 years ago.
Have you dated your spouse lately?
Feel free to comment below with date ideas, your favourite date, how I can pray for you, or any other comments!