By: Dr. Adaria Warner

Dating. The blissful stage of new adventures and falling in love… But what happens after the “I Do’s?” As a marriage therapist to many couples, I have learned that it is not uncommon for couples to present with relational distress, reporting things such as poor communication skills, limited quality time together, and losing sight of things they once enjoyed while dating. It becomes apparent that life has taken over and “dating” is often placed on the backburner. Dating your spouse allows for new experiences which promote learning new things about one another. Continuing to date your spouse also increases shared memories and encourages structured alone time to step into your role as husband & wife and temporarily step out of your role as employee, mom, dad, and/or many other roles life has assigned to you. Here are a few tips on how to continue to date your spouse:

  1. Schedule dates… and prioritize them! The first step to dating your spouse is planning and intentionality. Most of us love a little spontaneity, but for the average working adult, this may be a little tough. To ensure consistency and reduce disappointment, sit down with your spouse and discuss logistics.
    • How often can you commit to a date?
    • Brainstorm date ideas
    • Pull out your calendar and commit to certain dates that work with your schedule
  2.  Limit Talk about the kiddos. While your precious little sugar dumplings may be the center of your universe, it is important to limit talk about the kids while partaking in a date. I often advise my clients to limit talk about their children to 10-15 minutes to allow opportunities for devoted quality time and to build connections with their spouse.
  3. Don’t Break the Bank. While we all love a good outing, we must keep in mind that dates do not have to break the bank. Sit down with your spouse and determine at-home or low-cost date ideas such as; looking up a new dessert recipe and preparing it together, planning your next dream vacation, making a playlist of your favorite songs for wine and dancing in the living room, or cuddling up with a blanket to watch a movie.
  4. No childcare. No problem. When scheduling in-home dates and childcare is a challenge, choose dates that work best with your family’s schedule. Plan date activities that can occur after the kids go to bed or are put down for a nap, if possible.
  5. Most importantly, HAVE FUN! No matter what type of activity your date may consist of, remember to relax and have fun. Though the stressors of everyday life may seem heavy, take a moment to enjoy all the reasons you fell in love with your partner.

It is imperative that dating does not stop once the marriage begins. While marriage signifies a new beginning, continued dating allows for new experiences and new memories which helps to keep the spark alive! So go ahead and plan a special date for you and your partner and Enjoy!

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