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in your relationship

Couple Therapy Session

Hot Date

Couples Therapy

After counting down all week, seconds ticking by at a snail’s pace, the clock finally strikes five.  Freedom! 

Before your boss can even get her hand up to wave goodbye you’ve already peeled out of the parking lot.  The only thing racing faster than your car is your heartbeat. 

You’re flush with excitement.  Anticipation is at an all-time high. 

You’re trying on a myriad of outfits in your mind because the one you picked out Monday now seems too predictable.

You’ve got a hot date. 

So who is the mystery lover you can’t wait to get your hands on?  None other than your sexy, spicy spouse.

Think this is scenario is too good to be true?  Think again.

You’re questioning, ‘Wait, the one I have now?’ And I’m emphatically shaking my head up and down in affirmation.

If you’ve already made the assumption this is a flashback to the early days of your relationship, I am happy to inform you that you are wrong.

Yes, you dated your spouse back then.  But with years together of experiencing and learning the deepest parts of one another, how much more intimately and passionately you can enjoy each other now!

You might think I’m selling a pipe dream but truly this is a completely plausible reality if you’re willing to create it.

I’m not saying it will happen overnight and it will definitely require effort, but dating your spouse is totally possible. 

Put your skepticism on hold and let’s explore this alternate reality you too can attain through the dos and don’ts of dating your spouse.


Dos

Be intentional.  In today’s fast-paced, sensory-overload society it’s easy to fall into a routine and allow autopilot to kick in.  If you want to successfully date your spouse, intentionality is a must.  Prioritize your relationship and plan ahead.      

Be thoughtful.  Take time to consider the likes and dislikes of your partner.  Show up at the door with a bouquet from her favorite florist.  Pick up tickets to that movie he’s been dying to see.  If disconnection has crept in and you’re not sure of your partner’s preferences, don’t be too proud to ask.  Showing interest will open the lines of communication and following through with the feedback you’re given will prove you’re serious about rekindling the romance.  

Compromise.  I get it.  You’re two very different people with completely opposite interests.  That’s okay.  Compromise so you both get to experience activities you enjoy.  This will strengthen the bond and positively reinforce doing things together.  If you’re not a huge fan of sports, picking up tickets to that game he’s been talking about all season will blow him away and show his happiness is important to you.  Then, when the ballet comes to town, he won’t mind feigning interest while you’re sitting in the theatre together.

Romance.  I strongly believe romance is underutilized in marriages.  Just because you’ve got the relationship on lock doesn’t mean you should stop putting in the effort.  Get out the candles, dim the lights, put on that lover’s playlist.  Romance doesn’t have to be expensive or saved for the fourteenth of February.  Find little ways to spice up your time together.  You know the power of setting the mood, possibilities are endless.

Be charming.  Open her doors, give him a flirtatious glance.  Compliment your spouse on something specific, beyond the typical ‘you look nice’.  Maybe thank him for a project he recently completed around the house or affirm something you admire about her.  Whatever you do, be genuine.  Chances are you both know when you’re faking it and that will definitely put a damper on the evening.

Be considerate.  Talk to your partner about their schedule.  Plan dates according to both of your availability.  If he’s preparing for a presentation or she’s knee deep in finals, the time together will feel forced and filled with anxiety.  Instead, pick a time when you’ll both be present in every sense of the word.  This will make your date more enjoyable and increase your feeling of unity.

Get creative.  Dinner dates are great but think outside the box.  What does your spouse love to do?  What did you do in the beginning of the relationship?  Pack up his favorite dinner and have a picnic on the beach.  Take her to that dance class she told you about a few months ago.  Explore your adventurous side and rent jetpacks for the afternoon.  Do something new.  Have fun together.    

Allow spontaneity.  I’m all about planning, but don’t be so rigid that there’s no room for spontaneity.  If your spouse says ‘I’d really love to fill in the blank’, knock their socks off by responding with, ‘Why wait?  Let’s go now’.  That’s one sure way to bust out of the monotony and reignite a spark between the two of you.  

Make it special.  There are many ways to add a little something extra to the date.  If you’re going out, ditch the shorts and t-shirt and dress up.  Take the time to fix your hair and makeup.  If you’re making dinner reservations, ask the waiter to have a bottle of champagne chilling at the table when you arrive.  Purchase a small but meaningful token of your love to give your partner during the date. 

Respond in kind.  If your spouse went out of her way to plan a special night for you two, take the initiative to plan the next date.  The idea of dating your spouse is that it’s an ongoing process, not a one-time thing.  Both parties should give equal effort to keep the momentum going.  If you fall into a lull and the excitement dies down, talk about it.  Figure out what is and isn’t working and make the necessary changes to get back on track.

Be grateful.  I cannot overstate the importance of gratitude when it comes to dating your spouse.  This attitude can make or break the outcome.  Express your genuine appreciation during and immediately following the date.  Take it a step further by leaving a thank you card expressing how the date made you feel in his car the next morning or stick a post-it note with a special message on the mirror for her to find when she wakes up.

Agree on a budget.  Dating your spouse doesn’t have to break the bank.  Talk about what is realistic for the two of you this month.  Then determine how you’d like to split up that budget over the next four weeks.  I recommend one date day/night weekly, so maybe you have one really nice date, one free date, and two dates with minimal costs.  Reassess the dating budget monthly.  And remember, dating isn’t an expense, it’s an investment.


Don’ts

Make it a chore.  Think back to when the two of you first met.  Dating felt exciting, fun, desirable.  That’s how it should feel now.  Don’t make it seem like a mandatory work meeting.  Try to let go of the rigidity and rules holding you back from truly enjoying each other.  If something comes up and you have to reschedule, be flexible.  Show your partner understanding and grace.  Respond the way you would have week two of your relationship. 

Ruin the night with shop talk.  Let me be clear, discussions about finances or topics you know are likely to lead to conflict have no place on your date.  I’m not saying these issues shouldn’t be addressed; you know me better than that.  But if you choose to use your date night for what should be discussed during a couples meeting (yes, you should be having a weekly couples meeting, but we’ll talk about that another time) then be prepared to suffer the consequences of ruining the night for both of you.  Make a conscious effort to keep the conversation light, fun, playful, romantic, and meaningful NOT sarcastic, painful, hostile, dreadful, and boring.  

Complain.  If things don’t go exactly as planned or the food isn’t great, don’t ruminate over it.  Ignore it or even respond with gratitude for the time you are able to spend alone together.  It is inevitable that some of your dates will hit snags along the way.  Show your flexibility and go with the flow.  If he forgot to make reservations and it’s a two hour wait, tell him you were really craving something else anyway.  This will show him a glimmer of that woman he fell in love with.  See obstacles as opportunities to try something new.  

Use it as a bargaining chip.  If you’re planning a date so your wife won’t complain when you tell her about that guys weekend trip to Vegas, don’t.  Please don’t do anything to ruin the sanctity of dating your spouse.  There’s nothing worse in a relationship than feeling like your partner loves you enough to plan something special only to later find out it was a setup just to pave the way for something else.  That’s manipulation and it’s not a welcome participant in this union.   

Hold it over their head.  If you’re in the heat of an argument, don’t reference that expensive date you just planned.  The investment of your time, energy, and money in dating your spouse needs to come from such a genuine place of willingness and generosity that even if the very next day you’re disappointed by that very person the thought of your efforts won’t even pop in your head.  Dating is not a scorekeeping sport.

Include the kids.  Awwww.  Your kids are so cute and you love them so much, I know.  But minors are not to accompany you on your dates.  Family night is great and very important, but should be completely separate from date night.  This maintains healthy boundaries and also role models appropriate spousal behavior for the kiddos.  Remember, when they fly the coop you’ll be left with your spouse.  So take time to invest in your relationship with each other.

Expect sex at the end of the night.  Of course I encourage this intimacy and connection, but expecting sex can change the way your partner perceives your intentions for planning the date.  Being intimate should always be a mutual decision.  Forcing intimacy or intentionally making your partner feel guilty for not having sex is very unhealthy, inappropriate, and detrimental.  Lack of physical connection in the relationship is often a symptom of something else, so if you’re experiencing this I’d encourage you to consider couples therapy.

Give up if your spouse doesn’t respond you way you’d hoped.  Yes, it’s hurtful when you go out of your way to be intentional and your spouse isn’t receptive.  But I’d challenge you to assess the current state of your relationship.  If things have been rocky, don’t let your spouse’s lack of enthusiasm deter you from continued effort.  It’s possible your partner might be waiting to see if this new behavior is really going to stick around before they get all excited about the change.  This is more of a self-protection mechanism.  If the expectation is low, hurt and disappointment aren’t as likely.  But don’t fret, this dynamic will change over time.

 

Okay then.  That was a lot of information and I truly hope you found it helpful.  I just want to leave you with this – dating your spouse is possible.  It is also fun and exciting.  If that passion died off long ago, know that you can always choose to rekindle it.  If you want the kind of relationship where you can date your spouse but you know you’ve got some issues to work through before you’re both open and ready, I encourage you to join the revolution and sign up for my six week relationship intensive.  Every relationship can use some revitalizing every now and then.  Since you’re taking the time to read this, I know you’re on the path to passion and I hope that journey will be even more fulfilling than you imagine. 

Until next time,


Jennifer