• Darrell & Robin MacLearn

Dating Shouldn’t End With Marriage

Exercise Overview Once per week connect for at least 2 hours with a relaxing, low-pressure date.  This is an opportunity to reconnect and go deeper in your relationship.  We are not talking about a weekly movie date where you face forward in the dark and don’t talk.  This is fine if it is followed by dinner or dessert where you face each other and talk and ask deeper connecting questions.  The point is to connect at your core.  Your core is that part of you that is central to who you are.  It is not your surface or the superficial. Your core is you at your most real self.

Core Training Your core in your marriage is your connectedness. It is your intimacy. Your core is the muscle system that is critical to your balance and stability. It is at the center of your body and affects your entire body. Your core can't be ignored!

Deeper Dive Remember when you were dating and courting your spouse?  You wanted to get to know them.  You went out of your way to get to know them.  If you are like most…Ok, if you are like me (Darrell) you did things you didn’t even like to do to be around and spend time with that special person.  I don’t really like talking on the phone.  However, when I was dating Robin you couldn’t get me off the phone.  I even wrote letters (an ancient, pre-email/text form of communication). What was it that compelled me to sacrifice my selfish desires?  A stronger more rewarding desire…the desire to know and be known.  The desire to know Robin and not just on the surface.  We talked and had lots of conversations. We wanted to know each other and that happened as we spent time together, hanging out at her place, playing tennis, walking in the park talking (and making out), playing golf, an hour drive to the coast for lunch, and much more. We were always together. We were getting to know each other. 

We were connecting. We were growing our “friendship” and our deep friendship was growing our intimacy and our intimacy was compelling us to a deeper level of relationship that moved to marriage. Then somehow after we got married, we stopped dating and slowly began to lose the friendship. Some of the things we loved when we were dating became annoyances and as time went by we stopped connecting at the core and stopped “knowing and being known.”  We began the natural drift to living separate lives.  We began to focus on the negative stuff unlike when we were dating and focusing on ALL the positives and overlooking the negatives.  Pretty soon we began to make excuses for not dating but the real reason we stop dating is our spouse is no longer the same priority they were when we were dating.  Look at the list below and think back to when you were dating.

Top Excuses For Not Dating Your Spouse

  1. I don’t have time (No, you don’t have priority)

  2. We have children (No, you don’t have priority)

  3. We have no money (No, you don’t have priority)

  4. We don’t have common interests (No, you don’t have priority)

Time: Let’s be honest…Ok, I’ll be honest.  When I was dating Robin she was my world.  I made time.  I found time where time couldn’t be found.  I stayed up late talking on the phone and still got up early and went to work.  She was a priority.  I said no to other things so that I could say yes to her because she was my priority. What are your new priorities?  What has replaced your passion to spend time with your spouse?

ChildrenWhen we were dating before marriage, we didn’t have children and I know children bring a new dynamic to the dating relationship of couples.  However, it is still a priority issue.  God created babysitters for a reason…because, mothers and fathers need their sanity and a strong, growing, healthy XtraO marriage to model for their children.  When your spouse is a priority you will find an answer to the children excuse.

Money: Come on really, money is an excuse to not date your spouse? No, the real reason is a lack of priority. I had no money as a broke college student but getting to know Robin was a priority to me so I found ways to date that didn’t cost money.  In fact, the dates that didn’t cost money were probably the most meaningful as they were more creative and opened the door for deeper communication.  Most money dates focus on events or “facing forward” versus engaging in conversation and connecting.

Common Interests:

Isn’t it interesting that when you were dating your spouse this wasn’t an issue as much?  In fact, we tend to be quicker to set aside our interests in favor of the person we are with.  It isn’t even as much about their interests as it is about them. And because we were so interested in them we found our common ground.  Make your spouse a priority and you will find yourself discovering that the common interest is each other.

Below are some date ideas to get you started.  Just remember the point is to connect. In the comment section below we would love to start a list of ideas.  What dates have you and your spouse been on that are simple yet meaningful?  PLEASE SHARE!  

10 Great Ideas for Dates

  1. Cook together

  2. Visit a museum

  3. Go on a scenic drive (don’t forget your favorite music)

  4. Have a picnic

  5. Go hiking or biking

  6. Coffee shop & talk

  7. Take a painting class

  8. Recreate your first date

  9. Attend a concert

  10. Visit the zoo

We would love to hear from you…

Husbands — List the dates you wish your wife would take you on. Wives — List the dates you wish your husband would take you on.

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