Do you remember when you first met the person who would become your husband or wife? Those were exciting times! Many of us look back with fondness on those carefree dating days. Except they weren’t carefree at the time! We worried about everything from where the date would be and how to dress, to how to impress the other person. We needed to be intelligent, spiritual, witty, interesting, communicative, accommodating and an all-around well-balanced and likable person. It was a pretty insecure time!

As you began dating one person exclusively, you wondered if this person was “the one” for you. You wondered how and when you would know. If we’re honest, many of us would not want to go back and do that all over again. Yet many things about our dating experiences were good. And we want to help you recapture the good aspects of the dating experience – the romance, the surprise, the fun, the undivided attention, the discovery – in your marriage.

But things will be a little different this time around! This time, the person you’re going to date:

  • doesn’t care how much you spend or how well you dress. He or she is used to you and loves you. Just being alone with you is treat enough!
  • has already seen you at your very worse – and loves you anyway.
  • doesn’t need to be impressed – because he or she loves you already.
  • already knows that you’re intelligent, spiritual, witty, interesting, communicative, accommodating, well-balanced and likable- just maybe not all at the same time!

Who wouldn’t want to date this person? Of course, that person is your spouse. Your mate for life. That person spoke marriage vows with you and wants to keep them. That person has lived with you through ups and downs, through joy and sorrow, and for many of you, through kids and diapers. That person knows you inside out. That person loves you. And that person would like to have some special time alone – with you!

Dating your husband or wife will be very different from dating a potential husband or wife. But it’s just as important! When you were single, dating was a time to get away alone, to talk, laugh and have fun together. You took time to learn more about each other, about your past and your dreams for the future. You gradually felt at ease with each other.

But here’s the thing – even though you’re married, the two of you still need the same thing! You need to get away alone and continue to talk, laugh and have fun together. You need to learn more about each other, your past and your dreams for the future. You need to feel at ease with each other as you face new challenges together. That’s why dating shouldn’t stop with marriage.

If you and your spouse aren’t currently dating, we want to encourage you to get into that habit. The two of you really do need time to reconnect and continue to stoke the fires of the romance that brought you together in the first place. Your marriage needs to be strong to withstand the onslaughts of daily life. When you know that you both are on the same team working toward the same goals and cheering each other on, then even the toughest competition won’t be too much to handle.

If you’re thinking you’ll just go to dinner and a movie – that’s a good start. But if you’re going to spend the money on the date and a baby-sitter anyway, then make the date count! It’s what we call having a “date with a purpose.” Intentionally give your time together a purpose beyond just sharing an event. Focus on your mate’s love needs. Put him or her in the spotlight and nurture your marriage relationship.

Here are a couple of date ideas to plan for your mate to help you begin dating with a purpose.