Is dating your spouse REALLY important?

Short answer . . . Yes!!  People, especially men, forget that dating is very important once you are already married.  Yes, the hunt is over, you “won”!  🙂 But don’t let the relationship go.  Too many people are divorcing over “irreconcilable differences”.  I wonder if there would be so many divorces if people took the time to date their spouse.  We all change over time.  Hopefully we are changing for the good.  The person I am now is very different than the person I was when I got married.  The same is true for my husband.  We very easily could have grown apart, got divorced and moved on.  However, that is not what God wants from us.  That is not what our kids want, and not what we want.  We made a commitment for better or worse.  Some people only remember the “better and richer” part of their vows, and conveniently forget the “sicker and poorer” part.  My husband and I had a time where we did not date after we got married.  Money got tight, our schedules got busy and we neglected that very important part of our lives.  It almost ruined our relationship.  Praise the Lord we realized the problem and we were determined to change.  Another helpful tip to avoid divorce and conflict, is to put the other persons needs ahead of your own.  If you catch yourself thinking, “They don’t do (____) for me . . . I don’t feel loved, etc.” You are only setting yourself up for selfish discontent.  You need to be thinking what you can do for them, VERBALIZE what you need from them, so they do not have to read your mind to figure it out, and spend quality time together.  Even when we did not have money to “go out”, we had weekly dates at home.  We would put the kids to bed early (even if they were reading books in their rooms), we would make a special meal together (I love bonding over cooking!) and we would grab a game, or if we didn’t feel well, a movie.  We have a number of really good devotionals for couples, I never get tired of adding to our stock of marriage advice!  Then we would read the Bible together, do our study, eat/talk about our finances and goals and then play a game or watch a movie together.  It may not sound very exciting, but it really has helped us to stay connected.  Intimacy is so important in a marriage, physically and mentally.  We really need to make that an important part of our marriage.  Personally, we have had so many losses this year.  We never know how long we have with someone.  What a great feeling knowing you have done the best that you could in the time that you have.  If anything ever happened to me, I hope that my husband knows how truly and deeply I love him.  Whether you have  money or not, you have time that you can spend together.  You need to set aside time to reconnect, make short term and long term goals, be on the same page financially, and grow closer to God together.  I would hate it if one of us was a much stronger Christian than the other.  Having weekly dates reconnects us spiritually, so we can grow together.  We share our convictions and what we have learned that week.  We pray together and encourage each other.  Your spouse should be your best friend.  Why wouldn’t you want to spend time sharing your fears and your dreams?  Try to make an effort to spend time each week alone with your spouse.  It may be awkward at first if you are not used to it, but it will be really good for your marriage!   One rule: No arguing during this time.  Leave that for later if a discussion starts to gets heated.  Along with reading the Bible together, here are some of my favorite marriage devotionals:

Love and Respect-Emerson Eggerich (not recommended if you don’t have a lot of time to devote to the study.  When our kids were young, we did this on our weekend away, so we could focus without distraction).

Blueprints for a Solid Marriage-Steve Stephens (It’s a book, not technically a study, but really a wonderful book to read together!)

Night Light: A Devotional for Couples: (Loved this when the kids were little: Short, sweet and to the point!)