Dating was something enjoyed before marriage; and if not before marriage, before kids came along. But dating shouldn't end with marriage or kids or a hectic schedule—it should be a lifelong priority and pastime enjoyed with your spouse.
Stan Cronin considers himself neither artistic nor romantic, but is a retired police officer of the Phoenix Police Department. As a twenty-year veteran, he has seen the deterioration of the family and the corruption of marriage vows played out in vivid, living color. His experiences with “what-not-to-do” have only reaffirmed his belief in the value of dating your spouse and helping her know how important she is to you.
What is a Date?
In the world today, we use the word “date” almost daily. “What is today’s date?” “Do you know the date of the negotiation meeting?” “Can we plan a date for the office party?” For the purposes of this article, the word date means: An appointment for a husband and wife to spend a particular time with each other.
Occasionally, you will want to make a fairly formal “appointment” with your wife. Preplanning goes a long way when you are trying to show your wife you care about her. Both of you will enjoy having an appointed time to anticipate spending together.
However, you do not need a formal appointment to count time spent with your wife as a “date.” My wife and I have had dates that bloomed from spontaneous invitations, such as, “Want to grab a bite to eat?” Or, “Do you want to go shopping with me?” In a questionnaire I created to gather ideas and responses from wives across the United States, many wives I surveyed suggested they enjoy these types of spontaneous dates.
Overcoming Excuses for Not Dating
There were a several responses to the question on the survey asking, “What excuses does your husband give for not going out on dates?” To be fair, I also asked the wives what excuses they used for not going on dates with their husbands. It seems most men and women give the same excuses.
• Excuse #1: I’m too tired. “I’m tired” sounds good to you as it rolls off your lips, but it does not wash. The amount of energy required for most dates is nothing compared to what you do for a living. You have the energy both for your boss and your wife—you just need to readjust your priorities.
• Excuse #2: I’m too busy. There simply must be a time each day you can take a few minutes and talk to your wife. Each day you have twenty-four hours. Use some for your wife.
• Excuse #3: I don’t feel well. Not feeling well happens to everyone occasionally. But if you do not feel well three nights out of seven, something is wrong and you need to see a doctor. Just like the “I’m tired” excuse, “I don’t feel well” does not hold much water when used repeatedly.
• Excuse #4: We have children. The excuse of not having a baby-sitter should be unacceptable in most cases. Take the kids with you if you have to. Swap babysitting tonight with another couple for tomorrow night and schedule it ahead of time.
• Excuse #5: We don’t have any money. You don’t need a bulging wallet for dating. Plan ahead for those dates that are going to cost more money and spend some time thinking of creative, inexpensive outings.
• Excuse #6: I don’t want to do that. You don’t have to like every activity your spouse suggests, but you need to at least be willing to try. Just focus on the company you’re with and don’t think so much about the activity if it’s something you’d rather not be doing. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to do activities of your choosing later on.
• Excuse #7: I’m going out with the guys. A woman understands when a man needs to be with the guys because they like being with the ladies. Though your wife may understand the need to spend time with your friends, it should not exceed the time you spend with her.
Creating New Habits
Here are a few hints to help you as you leave excuses behind and choose to really date your wife. These “little things,” some basics gleaned from the pages of my completed questionnaires, can act as a foundation for your success.
• Save your money, but smell the roses, too. You should save for the future and for your retirement years, but you need to stop and smell the roses along the way, too. Consider the possibility that you may not be alive when it’s time to retire. It is also possible you will not be in good health, or there may be other reasons you cannot enjoy your golden years when the time arrives.
• Create memories for later on. A plan to save for the future is sound. So, too, is the plan to use some of your money to build the memories that will carry you into those golden years. When you reach the stage in your life when you can sit on the porch in a rocking chair, good memories will make those years much more pleasant. Rocking chairs are for recalling memories after you can no longer create them. Spend a little money to create memories while you still can.
• Look into her eyes. If you will look into your wife’s eyes as you interact, you can create many romantic moments. When I say “romantic moments,” I mean moments of “emotional attraction or aura.” Look into her eyes when she talks to you. You will learn much from looking at her, and in return, she can tell that you care by looking into your eyes. She will feel what you are saying. The sound of your words is not as effective as the eye contact and the communication that occurs by looking at each other.
• Conversations start with a touch. Next to the eyes, your hands are the most important tools you have for conveying your love. A woman cannot remain emotionally distant when you are holding her hand or touching her. The surveys I conducted showed that the sense of touch is extremely important to a woman. Always try to start a conversation with a touch. If she is standing, walk over to her and put your arms around her. If she is sitting, sit next to her and take her hand in yours or put your arm around her shoulder.
• Provide solutions, not criticism. A husband comes home tired and hot. He finds the beans burned. Instead of condemning his wife, he smiles and says, “Looks like you’ve been cooking all day. How would you like to get out of the kitchen? Why don’t we go out to dinner?” The wife gladly says, “That’s a great idea. I’m sorry the beans burned. After staying up all night with our son who was sick, I was really tired. I guess I dozed off in the chair for a few minutes too long.” The husband replies, “You’re usually a great cook, and you work hard as a mother and wife. You deserve to go out.”
To create this kind of scene is just that simple. It comes down to little things such as the husband and wife thinking of each other and wanting to make their time together more pleasant. These thoughts lead to cooperation instead of antagonism.
Dating doesn’t end with marriage, it continues! As you replace excuses for not dating with effective dating habits, the love and friendship you and your spouse share will grow beyond what you thought possible. Your regular dates will become something you and your wife can’t wait for, and it will create memories you’ll carry with you into the eternities.