Alli Justice
04/07/2021

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How to Keep Dating Your Spouse After Marriage

couple on mountain

Imagine you are standing next to a large bonfire, taking in the warmth of the flames.  To maintain this fire, new wood must be continually added to the pile as a source of fuel.  However, if this task is neglected, the fire will eventually die down until it is nothing but an ember, regardless of how brilliant the bonfire once was. This same analogy can be applied to marriage. As time passes, you may get caught up in everyday mundane activities like work, school, paying the bills, or doing household chores and forget to add “wood” to your marital fire. It’s easy for these activities to slowly overshadow the enjoyable times in your relationship and can make you feel as though the romantic spark your marriage once had has already faded away.

Don’t worry though, all hope is not lost! You can still have that exciting spark in your relationship, add marital “wood” to keep your fire burning, and rekindle the fire if necessary.

Scheduled Date Nights

happy coupleSome people may think that scheduled dates are unnecessary. “Don’t my spouse and I date all the time?  We’re always spending time together, watching movies, eating dinner, talking; what more can you expect?” Others might feel as though scheduling out date nights is more boring or less romantic than spontaneous dates.  

Though these may be a common marital grievances, scheduled date nights provide the opportunity for different types of interaction from everyday activities you do together, such as grocery shopping or going on a walk. It involves much more intentional effort and is usually planned in advance. And while it may be less spontaneous, scheduled and planned date nights can be just as romantic and give you and your spouse something to look forward to outside of other responsibilities.

Don’t worry though, if one date per week seems daunting for you and your spouse, research actually shows that planned date nights don’t need to happen nearly as often as you’d think to have a great impact on your marriage. In fact, it was found that married couples are 14% less likely to divorce over the course of ten years when they went on a date  around once a month.

Once a month is totally manageable!

Date nights can take many forms and may vary depending on the couple. A few suggestions for date nights could be going on a picturesque hike you’ve both been eyeing, making reservations at your favorite restaurant, scheduling a time to volunteer together, or going to a local comedy club when your favorite comedian is in town. If you find yourselves planning the same things, ask other couples what some of their favorite dates have been! Whatever you both enjoy doing, make sure you are planning those things in so you have activities to look forward to doing together.

Spontaneous Dates/Surprises

couple in kitchenOn the other hand, not every date needs to be planned, and sometimes spontaneous dates give your relationship that extra bit of fuel needed to keep your romantic flame alive and well. Novelty and surprises can keep a relationship flourishing because they break up the monotony of everyday life. Many couples experience that “when you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, it’s easy to start to feel disconnected. The things that once made you feel excited and important now seem routine.”

If you can’t seem to find unscheduled time to surprise your spouse with a date, you can take turns planning scheduled date nights and keep the plans for the night a surprise until the last minute!

Surprises don’t have to be dates, either. Small surprises such as preparing your spouse’s favorite dinner before they get home, sending I love you texts  out of the blue, or giving a back scratch after a long day of work can all be ways to surprise your partner. Get creative and find unexpected ways to show your spouse you love them to break up the routine. While planned dates can be spread out and occur every month or so, a variety of little surprises should be more frequent, especially considering they are typically budget friendly. 

Date No Matter the Circumstance

You may be thinking that monthly dates are simply not possible because of the financial strain it will place on you. However, cheap dates are always possible and sometimes more memorable than the expensive ones—the most important thing is that they are planned.

If you’re running low on cash you could get creative by packing a picnic and taking it up the canyon to go stargazing, going to the thrift store to pick out outfits for each other and take pictures of your favorites, or even do something as simple as write love letters for each other and go on a hike to read them at the summit.

Dates don’t have to be expensive! They can be cheap as long as they are planned and time is set aside to give your spouse your undivided attention and love.

World circumstances may also change how date night is approached. For example, since 2020 we have experienced a world pandemic and many activities you’d normally enjoy for date night are not an option. “The kicker on this is that, of course, date night is still within the same four walls non-date nights take place, so it will take some creativity to change the set up.”

Maybe this means you create a blanket fort together and cuddle while you watch a scary movie. It could also look like making homemade pizzas together and playing a card game, or even getting dressed up in your fanciest clothes to share a romantic candlelit dinner.

Just remember, the most important thing is consistency: consistently show up for your spouse and show them you care by adding “wood” to your marital fire.  You can do this by intentionally planning dates, surprising them with little things, and being creative with your dates to keep the novelty alive in your relationship. It takes intentional effort, but it is so worth it.