The Art of Dating Your Spouse
- Saturday, December 31, 2011
I don’t know about you, but as a married woman, I don’t want to Kiss Dating Good-bye, ala Josh Harris’ book for young singles. I really enjoy dating: getting dressed up to go someplace nice and enjoying a meal with chatter and relaxing pleasure. There is but one parameter for this activity: I date only my spouse. Other than that, anything’s a go.
As with most couples, we married our opposites in many ways. Our circadian rhythms never coincide: while I’m the early bird, he’s the night owl. Temperament types find us covering the spectrum: he’s the introvert, and I’m very outgoing. As far as communication styles go, I love to talk and touch those I’m interacting with. I hug to console. I touch their hand to encourage. I put my arm around them to show my support. While Spouse listens actively, touching is pretty much taboo for him.
So, what do you do on a date if one of you is a talker and the other is . . . not? If complaining’s not your style, and you’re like me and would rather find a solution then let me share the fun we’ve had making date nights work for us.
Sometimes, to take the pressure off, we make our dates into a volunteer activity. We work with civic groups, church groups or with local charities. We show up and do what needs doing. The focus is on the work and not on the talk, so we both enjoy our time. Since volunteering usually includes others, it meets my social needs while also accomplishing good things. And Spouse doesn’t have to talk unless he feels so inclined.
Another idea is to double or triple date. Because we have moved to different states for Spouse’s job, we don’t have the luxury of local long-time friends. If you are blessed to have dear friends, then grab them and go. For us, we find some new friends who seem interesting – and meet at a restaurant for dinner. Or we make a picnic lunch and join them at a park. Make it easy and fun for everyone.
If you’re meeting new friends, it’s best not to leave the evening to chance. You might prepare some conversation starters. Ask about their job, where they were born and grew up, their favorite type of food or their favorite hobby. This is also a hint I’ve used when it’s just Spouse and me at dinner. I want us to have a lovely time, and usually that happens when the evening is interesting in some way or another. So, I’ll read some news article and we’ll discuss the pros and cons of who has done what and how it affects our world. Or we’ll share something we’re learning in our Bible reading or from our pastor’s sermon.
Just a few weeks ago, my mother was saying that she wanted to invite a certain gentleman over to share some watermelon. When you’re eighty years old and widowed, you celebrate every single day you live – and you want to share it with others. Well, she called and left a message on his answering machine, but didn’t know if he would get the invitation in time to come. As we talked on the phone, she lamented, but I said, “Well, then, invite other people to come over for watermelon. They’re probably just sitting at home, wanting you to ask them over.” And so she did. And they came and all had fun.
That’s how so many people are: they’re just waiting for someone to include them, to invite them, to befriend them. So we do that on our date nights.
Other times, it’s just the two of us, and we soak up every bit of attention the other gives. With a large, active family, and his travel for work, we relish our time alone together. During dinner, we might tell each other three reasons why we love or appreciate them. Or four kind things we’ve seen them do in the last few weeks. Or we’ll talk about the children and who needs what in the form of discipline, goals, life talks or just encouragement.
Or we might spend the evening meal talking about places we’d like to visit or vacations we’d like to take. And we don’t have to stick with reality; these are just dreams, not commitments. We talk about going to Europe or cruising around the world. Or places we’d like to live and why.
I have come to realize that life can be as fun as we make it. And I like it to be a lot of fun, so I try hard to make it that way. I also don’t want my date to wish he could Kiss Dating Good-bye because I’m no fun to be with. So, as with anything in life, the more we put into it, the more we get out of it and the better our date life will be.
Mark and Kym Wright have been dating for 36 years – and have been married for 8/9ths of that time. They still enjoy talking, volunteering, meeting new people, and planning wonderful (if only imaginary) vacations.
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