By Susan Seay, Crosswalk.com
Routine or romance: what does your marriage really need?
Dating one another after you get married has several phases.
Each phase reflects the pace of life more than the commitment within the relationship. Let me share with you three common dating patterns my hubby and I keep repeating. Perhaps you will recognize these within your own marriage.
Then let me share with you six ways you can create a memorable, romantic experience this weekend.
Phase #1: Escape Dates
When life gets busy, our dates become a means of escape.
Whether we are trying to escape from a long day at work or a never-ending list of kid’s needs, our date night is more about getting away than running to one another.
They provide a much-needed break. Even though we both feel more exhausted than excited on escape dates, we try our best to keep our dates a priority.
Phase #2: Business Meeting Dates
These dates happen when we’re on a mission. When there are important decisions to make, we grab a bite to eat so we can talk. These dates resemble two executives having a business meeting, more than a couple sharing a special moment.
Business meeting dates are perfect for those times when we need to have an uninterrupted conversation about the kids or finalizing the details of an important decision.
Phase #3: Maintenance Dates
Maintenance dates are the regular date nights that we keep on the calendar as our ‘special night’. But in reality these dates are anything but special. For a long time Tuesday night was our date night.
Why Tuesday? Because our favorite restaurant had a buy-one-get-one-free special on Fajitas on Tuesday nights. Great food, at one of our favorite places, and we saved money. For us, that was too good to miss.
We enjoyed having a reserved night that was ‘our night’. Maintenance dates are more about routine than romance. It’s important to both of us that we keep a reserved time that’s just for us despite our busy schedules.
I would venture to guess that most married couples can identify with escape, business meeting and maintenance dates in their relationship. These are normal phases for couples within marriage.
But, there’s one more dating phase that we don’t want to forget to include.
Phase #4: Romantic Dates
The romantic date is what usually comes to mind at the mention of word dating. However, romantic dates require intentional effort.
It’s important for couples to set aside time for one another.
Shared moments designed to help you revisit why you fell in love. This is the time to pay attention to the finer details as you plan your time together. A special song that brings back memories of a tender moment or a hand-written love note to express your most intimate thoughts.
Any investment you make in your romance account sustains you when the demands of life require you to return to one of the previous stages of dating.
Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 opens with the following line: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Even within dating in marriage, it’s comforting to know that there’s a time and season for every activity. It’s not wrong to go through different phases in the relationship.
But, we mustn't neglect tending to our partner's hearts and desires.
One reason dates become more routine than romance is we forget our purpose. Before we married, dating was all about getting to know one another. Dating is still a way to get to know one another better, even after you’re married.
Deepening the friendship and connection with one another should be a continuous pursuit.
Popular marriage advice tells us to make time for one another by always having a date night on the calendar, even if it’s once a month. But what do you do when your date nights have become just another part of your marriage routine?
6 ways to create a memorable, romantic experience this weekend:
1. Choose a location that helps the two of you to connect.
Some spaces are too loud to talk. The noisy atmosphere often becomes a third wheel on your date. On one of our dates we visited a recently remodeled restaurant. The new design included TV screens on every wall and multiple screens on the back wall.
It took a lot of effort to resist the lure of the flickering screens all around us. On more than one occasion we had to wave our hand in front of one another’s face to break the trance as our attention drifted to the screen.
Don’t make our mistake.
Choose a location that helps you to create an intimate moment.
2. Make your date about the two of you.
Beware of any discussions that shift the focus to bills, budgets, business, or babies. Instead, talk about your dreams, your goals, and new ideas.
Share something that you’ve learned or something you would like for you two to learn together. Look into each other’s eyes and let everything else around you fade into the background.
3. Look for opportunities to compliment your spouse.
This is the perfect time to notice all the things that make you smile when you think of your spouse. Share a compliment about their body: their smile, hairstyle, or outfit. Let them know what you appreciate about them.
Be sincere and share details: “You’re so patient even after a long, hard day. I admire that about you. When you are patient with me, I feel safe and loved.”
That’s so much better than “You’re so great"!
Or share a compliment about how they look on the date. “You look irresistible in that outfit. I’m so glad you’re mine”--instead of “nice shirt” or “cute shoes.”
As a bonus, each time you share a compliment, reach over and touch their arm or rub their back. The physical connection adds one more layer to the bond you all share.
4. Go beyond the bare minimum.
Before you two married you invested time in picking out an outfit, getting a fresh haircut, and making plans for what you two would do together. It’s time to show more than the bare minimum effort again.
Put on an enticing perfume/cologne, choose an outfit that makes you feel attractive, and makes their head turn when you walk by.
A romantic date is the perfect time for you to choose the pretty things in your closet over the practical items that you tend to wear on a regular day.
5. Listen to music that softens the mood.
This is especially important if you’ve had a rough day this week. Choose music that reminds you of a special moment you two shared.
Create a playlist of songs that reminds you of the love between you. Reach over and hold their hand as you let the lyrics speak for you as you all sit beside one another in silence.
6. Prepare a meaningful surprise.
Pull out a picture from when you all were dating and tell him 1 or 2 favorite moments that stand out in your mind. Tell her about the moment you knew she was the one for you.
Re-create a treasured moment that only you two shared. The only limit here is your creativity. Have fun with it.
Routine has its place and so does romance. A healthy marriage allows for both. The risk is overly relying on one while neglecting the need for the other.
If you have found that routine has taken over in your relationship, make room for more romance this weekend. Hopefully, one or two of the ideas mentioned above will help you to reboot the romance and create great memories.
Susan Seay is an international speaker and host of the Mentor 4 Moms Podcast. Join her for weekly episodes full of practical advice on family and faith that can help you to better manage your home. To find out more, and to grab her FREE guide “12 Things Intentional Moms Do Differently” visit her website: SusanSeay.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Kieferpix
Susan Seay is an international speaker and host of the Mentor 4 Moms Podcast. Join her for weekly episodes full of practical advice for high capacity women. She is highly skilled in helping you to make difficult decisions with ease. To find out more, grab her FREE guide “12 Things Intentional Moms Do Differently” via her website: SusanSeay.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.