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Today marks three months since my husband and I got married. I wish I could tell you that time slows down, but the old adage that it only speeds up is proving to be accurate. In the blink of an eye, we’ve traveled time and space from July 3rd to October 3rd. Almost one entire 9-weeks as a high school English teacher might say, or summer to fall for those of you who possess 9-5 careers.
While it might sound cliche or concerning, one thing that Ben and I wanted to emphasize before we got married was premarital counseling. While premarital discipleship is generally encouraged, marital counseling is often frowned upon. It’s a myth, however, that only people who are having trouble in their marriages should participate in marital counseling. Ben and I started premarital counseling a few months before we got married, and we’re still pursuing it now (as marital counseling).
In a recent session, our counselor encouraged us to continue having fun and pursuing one another. We always took this seriously during dating and engagement because we wanted to emphasize our friendship over our romance. It also helped greatly in adhering to boundaries.
But just because you’ve caught the fish, per se, doesn’t mean you let it off the hook and swim away. In other words, just because you’re finally married doesn’t mean you stop pursuing or having fun with your spouse. In fact, it’s essential that you prioritize those dates to foster and grow your relationship as a married couple.
I’ve heard it said that while sex and romance can be fun in marriage, and are essential parts of it, you’ll spend most of your time just hanging out with the other person. This is why marriage coaches and counselors strongly encourage you to be friends and make sure you just enjoy being with the other person.
Typically, in Ben and I’s relationship, I’m the one to plan and schedule dates. I always have a never-ending list of options in my mind, and because I love to explore and travel, I’m always thinking of the next idea. Ben, on the other hand, struggles with thinking of fresh or new date ideas. I believe there are probably a lot of guys out there that can relate. And though I’m generally good at coming up with this list, I’ll be honest in saying that making room for dates post-marriage has proven to be a challenge.
Between laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, teaching, writing, dancing, and running, I have started to have trouble prioritizing our dates. I’ve even run dry of ideas because I’m so distracted by things I need to do, places I need to go, and assignments I need to complete. Maybe you can relate?
If you’re in this boat, I want to encourage you with three simple ways you can prioritize your relationship tonight–even when date ideas run dry:
1. Focus on Getting Out
One of the best tips Ben and I have learned for prioritizing our relationship and having dates might sound oversimplified, but it’s been a game-changer. Choosing to have dates outside of the house not only requires us to move around and go somewhere but also helps me to not cave and start doing chores.
When you’re home, you’re constantly surrounded and bombarded by stimuli. Especially stimuli that look like piles of laundry, mounds of dishes, and 3,000 other tasks bombarding your brain. By removing yourself physically from the home, you’re creating space to get out, go somewhere (even if it’s just a local park or theater), and get away from tasks and to-dos that might otherwise try to entice your attention.
2. Focus on Letting Loose
Although Ben and I still struggle with this, the second piece of advice that has helped us greatly when dates run dry is focusing on letting loose. Letting loose simply means not taking ourselves so seriously, remembering to be playful, and laughing a lot. Some days, this is easier than others, and there will probably be times and moods when you just simply don’t feel like laughing. But that’s okay.
The emphasis here is to aim for smiles and laughter. Even if it requires telling old jokes and stories or watching a few silly videos on YouTube while you try out stupid “dad jokes” on one another, the laughs, in the end, will be worth it. Sometimes, taking the time to unwind, relax, and let go together can be just as rewarding.
3. Focus on Each Other
At the end of the day (or date), perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is focusing on each other. Especially in the day and age in which we live, overstimulation through TV shows, phones, social media, and sports can be distracting to our relationships. I know for me, I hate nothing more than talking to someone who is physically present but mentally isn’t.
Focusing on each other during your date time is crucial to connection and communication. Put the phones away, look into one another’s eyes, and take the time to bask in the presence of your loved one. These are memories and moments you won’t have again, so don’t take them for granted.
If you’re struggling to make time for dates, or your well has simply run dry, be encouraged. You’re not alone. But having dates doesn’t have to be a daunting and terrifying task. It merely asks you to spend time with the one you love by prioritizing that time, getting out, and focusing on each other. How will you pursue your spouse this week?
15 Simple Ideas to Get You Started
1. Go for a hike
2. Go to the movies
3. Create your own movie night at home
4. Explore an indoor amusement park
5. Check your city for local events
6. Recreate your old date favorites
7. Get dressed up and go out for the night (think fancy dinners and dancing)
8. Take a dance class (I’m biased on this, but it creates great chemistry!)
9. Take a cooking class together (or create your own at home)
10. Go on a double date with friends
11. Go for a run
12. Go for a bike ride
13. Find an online scavenger hunt that takes you through a local town or city
14. Play board games
15. Learn to play an instrument and sing together
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Constantinis
Amber Ginter is a teacher, author, blogger, and mental health activist who resides in the beautiful mountains and cornfields of Ohio. She loves Jesus, granola, singing, reading, dancing, running, her husband Ben, and participating in all things active. She’s currently enrolled in the Author Conservatory Program and plans to pitch her book: Mental Health and the Modern Day Church for Young Adults, soon. Visit her website at amberginter.com.
#Dates #Run #Dry