It’s really easy for men to forget the romance once the kids come along.
Dating is all about relationships. As men, we don’t do this very well. I know this could be a very generalized statement. However as a therapist who works with families and especially couples, I can count on one hand, the complaint of wives being, their husband is too relationship focused.
There are a plethora of articles and books on the topic of dating. This is probably the last subject matter that you might want to read. Yet, I believe the reason that there are articles being continually written and consumed, is that we, especially as men, tend to have short memories.
As someone who grew up in a family where I never knew dating was something husband and wives did, it became a learning experience for me. I don’t ever recall my dad taking my mom out on a date. Whenever they went out, there were always other people who were brought along for the ride. In retrospect, I never heard my mom complain. I guess she kind of accepted it as the norm.
Fast forward through the years, I too became a husband. It was now my turn. What would I do?
I must confess that during the honeymoon years of our marriage and before kids, my wife and I would go out on dates. These dates included going to the movies, eating out and sometimes go to the park. As the years went by and the kids came along, this became a bit more challenging. As a matter of fact, if you have ever had kids, you know how demanding these selfish little creatures can be.
Our dates became far and few between. If and when we went on a date, it was with the kids. We didn’t have set times. It was more spontaneous than anything. It was hit or miss.
Within the last few years and by the way, we have been married for just over 30 years, my wife and I have become intentional about dating. Our date night is every Friday evening. It involves mostly having dinner and sometimes a movie.
Depending on the weather and where we eat dinner, we might go for a walk in a mall or adjoining stores. By the way, my very frugal wife finds incredible deals using Groupon and other services. Sometimes it becomes, “buy one get the other free.”
What I now know from having these date nights, which I believe every husband needs to learn if…
- they want to enhance their marriage
- be in better grace with their wife
- have more sex (this one I just threw in because it may not always be true.)
…is that they need to make dating their wife a regular part of their life.
Therefore to learn how NOT to date your wife, is to learn HOW TO date your wife.
Here are Three Valuable Lessons I Learned:
1. Make Dating Your Wife Intentional–
This cannot be an afterthought. It has to be something that is thought through as to how, when, what and where.
As a therapist and coach, I encourage couples to try this technique by finding a day and a time – morning, noon or evening – that works best for them and schedule it on the calendar. The day they end up choosing may not be the one they started with, but with experimentation, they will eventually find the most convenient one. Notice, I didn’t say perfect because it won’t be.
Treat that time as an appointment.
2. Stick to the “Appointment”–
It’s amazing how many husbands will excuse themselves from a date with their wife, but will not adjust their schedule for other situations and people. This sends a message to your wife that she and the relationship are not as important as other people and events. This is something I had to work on. In the early days of our experimentation, I would “bump” a date with my wife for something else that I found more interesting. The thought is “my wife will understand” but not the other person. I learned this lesson really quick because of my wife’s feedback.
3. Use That Time to Connect With Each Other –
It’s amazing how many couples do go on dates but they spend majority of their time on electronic devices. I have been guilty of that many times until my wife called me out on it. What was so important that it couldn’t wait?
The message: our time together, can wait but the other can’t.
I have since learned to use that time to revisit some of our goals, dreams, accomplishments and “catch” up on our lives. We are busy people as you are. Sometimes during the week, my wife and I are like two ships passing in the night. Using this time, to connect with each other, makes a difference. If you are serious about your relationship, it behooves you to “not date” your wife the way my dad dated my mom.
Would you take the time to share what your one takeaway is from this article? Am I out-to-lunch with these ideas?
Photo:Flickr/ Gareth Williams