Monday, September 20, 2010

Marriage, It's More Than Sex and Pizza

On Thursdays, I can't wait to get home from work. It's date night at the Johndrow's - and Mr. and Mrs. are going out on the town. Our 6-year-old gets a babysitter, and we get some much needed time together without the rapid fire questions and requests for assistance.

You might not know it, but all of your Kingdom Bloggers are married - some more than once. We range from a few years to 30+ in matrimonial experience. This week we are each going to share one thing that helps us maintain our marriage.

What's so cool about date night and why does a middle-aged couple need one? It's interesting, if you talk to someone that has been divorced - especially when it is not due to one of Dr. Phil's deal-breakers; addiction, infidelity or physical abuse - they often say they "fell out of love." A question a lot of marriage counselors will ask is: "How did you fall in love?" The answer invariably starts with, "while we dating..."

My experience is that most couples go the extra mile while dating and for a short time after the honeymoon. Then things change. You live together awhile, he leaves his socks on the floor, she leaves the kitchen cabinets open, and you don't need to go out as much - after all you are together a lot more now.

For Mary Anne and I, the 5 Love Languages really helped us learn about meeting each others "love" needs. It was a way of learning to express love that the other person received as love. It also helped us to understand our own needs better. Sometimes, you don't get what you don't ask for.

My love language is time together, and hers is words of affirmation. In order for us to spend time together, we instituted date night. It is our night, and we do not schedule anything else in it's place. We get a babysitter for our 6-year-old, and go out on the town, take a walk or grab dinner and movie. I look forward to it very much.

After folks have been married for awhile and the honeymoon is over, it is important for couples to get some time alone, like when they were dating. After the kids come along, it is easy to get in a rut.

The fruit of our date nights is personal emotional intimacy. It's a time to discuss us, our needs, our hopes and our dreams. We try to leave the bills, the kids, and the jobs out of it. Sure, it often starts with how school and work is going or an occasionally a pressing need. What I enjoy is that we talk about our future, vacations, retirement, moving to a farm - the things that we hope for.

Jimmy & Karen Evan' of Marriage Today, have been another resource for us. We have used many of their ideas on marriage and parenting - but we like the idea of getting away alone. They recommend every few months. For us, it is just for our anniversary. These "retreats" from the rat race of work, school, and trying to squeeze out time the family are always refreshing.

As I guy, I didn't really feel married until the wife says "you bought what?!" All joking aside, my wife is always on my team, always supportive, and we try to discuss every aspect of our lives. no one is perfect, especially me - but on date night, I get a chance to redeem myself.

How about you, do you take a night every week to be with your spouse , if you have one?


Tracy said...

Great post David. I like how you've linked resources you've found helpful.

Agree with you that the date night concept really makes a difference. Appreciate your observation that we initially developed loving feelings while dating and that dating can assist in sustaining those feelings.

John & I don't quite make it once a week, but we do schedule in 3Xs a month. I enjoy those times and feel like they're a source of nourishment to our relationship. We're blessed to live in a beautiful mountain area so, in addition to the dates, we get to hike for an hour together around 4Xs a week when the days are long (one of the blessings of having older children is that it's easier to get away for an hour like that. Those hikes are the favorite part of both our days and I always miss them when the days get shorter so they can't be fit into our day.

David said...

@Tracy - you are doing it though. Couples can survive on anything they agree on. Time togther recharges me. We like walks too - but we often have to bring the little one along.