Friday, April 8, 2011

Married and Not Dating?

One of the things that seems to fade away in some marriages is the fun. It’s what we may have most looked forward to when we first met – the expectation of time together engaged in pleasurable pursuit.  But as the years go by and life gets busier and more complicated (and kids enter the picture), those times seem to be fewer and get farther apart. And some of the benefit of marriage begins to fade. As a result, we may start to see our marriage as mostly work with little payoff – and when this happens the relationship may become vulnerable to affairs.

One of the things that we try to put in place with couples that we counsel is a regular date night. It’s interesting how some couples who come in with a lot of conflict report that the fighting decreases after making time for dates.  And that those times spent on a date are enjoyable and conflict free. It’s like they forgot how much they actually like being with each other.  

When was the last time you got away overnight as a couple, without the children? One relationship expert recommends that couples take a weekend away every quarter.

How about vacations? Do you take one each year and make it fun for everyone involved? It doesn’t have to be complicated and expensive. Our best vacations as a family were spent locally – camping out at the beach, sometimes with friends.

What gets in the way of spending fun time with your spouse? Are you overly invested in your work? Do you allow the kids to take up all of your free time? Perhaps you have taken up a hobby or sport that your spouse has no interest in – and it gets all your free time.

One of my suggestions is to sit down with your spouse and come up with a list of things that you both like to do. Sometimes we find that one spouse likes cozy evenings in (minus kids) with a video and the other prefers dinners out or some form of physical activity. Is there a compromise that is possible (dinner out & movie in) or can you take turns planning a date?

The important thing here is that it is something that both people look forward to.
So, talk about your ideas for a fun date. Then ask her/him out and put it on the calendar on a regular basis! And make a date to plan that yearly vacation. It’s marriage insurance. 

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