Have them! It’s as simple as that! When couples are dating, they naturally have numerous dates. Perhaps they are cheap dates such as a walk in the park or a long talk over a cup of coffee. Maybe they are high dollar dates to the opera or to a fancy restaurant. At any rate, we tend to spend a lot of time together dating before marriage. However, it is just as important to date after marriage. When life happens and that person you thought you could never get enough of begins to aggravate you in twenty different ways, it is important to get out and do what you both enjoy together so you can reconnect. The mistake many couples make, once they are married, is forgetting to date because they are together all the time. Isn’t eating dinner together at home a date, I mean, we ARE together, right? As a rule of thumb, a date does not include a wife (or a husband) sweating over a stove, setting a table, and then cleaning up the kitchen. This could be considered a date if the cook was planning a special meal for a special occasion, but general everyday meals are not dates. Watching movies or TV together may seem like a date, but if it is common practice in your relationship, it is not building intimacy like a date could.
Dating after marriage is a bigger challenge than someone who is not yet married might believe. In the dating stage, you are used to the concept of dating. You explicitly make time for each other because you cannot be together day and night. However, once you are together day and night (i.e., married), you have to make an effort to plan dates.
Men, by nature, are hunter/gatherers. They are created to set their sights on something (or someone) and work hard to attain it. Many poems are written, dinners are paid for, and walks are initiated in the dating stage in an attempt to woo the lovely lady. Once the lovely lady says “Yes, I’ll spend the rest of my life with you!” it is natural that the man senses that his mission has been accomplished and moves onto different goals. However, she is not done, and will never be done, with that wooing process. She will be most satisfied by your continual wooing of her throughout your marriage and it takes active planning to do so. She may be yours forever physically, but you’ll want her heart to always be entwined with yours.
Ladies, the responsibility for this doesn’t completely rest on the gentlemen. Usually before marriage, women make a mission out of looking and acting their best. Much time is put into makeup, working out, and acting like the beautiful princess waiting to be rescued. However, after marriage it is typical for a woman to think, “Whew! I’m off the market. I can finally just chill in a pair of sweatpants and a ratty old sweatshirt. After all, he loves me; he doesn’t care how I look.” While I’m not advocating never being able to bum around (that is such a reward at the end of a long day), it is important that this isn’t your only look. Take the time to take care of yourself – reminding your husband of the beautiful, well kept woman he married will go a long way to keep him interested in dating you in marriage. Men are visual, so as an act of love for your husband, take time to keep yourself healthy and attractive. Most men do not expect perfection, but they do appreciate the effort.
Getting out of the house (or staying in, with a plan) is very good for your relationship – daresay, essential. In our current day and age, so many things battle for our attention… and unless we are vigilant, our spouse will take the back seat. At the end of the day, no matter how important we are in our jobs or how essential we are to the prosperity of a ministry, our relationship with our spouse is the most important earthly relationship we will ever have – nurture it. You will likely be surprised how other aspects of life that need your attention will fall into place when you prioritize your spouse above those other things.