Never Stop Dating! How to Date, Even if You're Married
After the initial courtship phase, the engagement, wedding and then honeymoon phase of marriage, it can be easy to lose sight of the importance of dating. You already know your partner very well, and it can seem less important to dedicate time together as a couple. Or maybe it’s just harder to find one-on-one time, because life is getting in the way. Whether it’s busy work schedules, busy social lives, raising children or taking care of parents, etc., it can be difficult to take time out of your busy life to prioritize your time as a couple. But, after saying “I do”, it’s important not to get lazy and put your relationships on auto-pilot. Keeping your marriage, or any romantic relationship, in the forefront of your life is crucial to keeping your connection alive and showing your partner that they are important to you.
Here are a few tips to help you embrace dating, even if you are married:
As contrived as it may feel to schedule a recurring date night, this might be the only way to make it possible! Having something on your schedule, (and sticking to your schedule!) will make date night more likely to happen. This doesn’t have to be a weekly occurrence (though it can be) and it doesn’t mean that you can’t have spontaneous date nights (you totally should) it’s just a way of setting aside time to be together. Date night doesn’t need to be some elaborate ordeal (even if it is marked on the calendar), it just needs to be a few hours or an evening set aside to cultivate closeness in your relationship. If you are intimidated by the idea of putting something on your calendar or feel like this puts a lot of pressure on date night, you can delegate the planning part to different apps that can help you find fun activities to do in your area. Or you can use this as an opportunity to find new hobbies to do together! Find a way to make dating fun and something to look forward to by marking your calendar and making it into a special time together.
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Throwback to the beginning of your relationship
If you’re struggling to think of ideas for date night, or just can’t get excited about trying out a new activity, consider doing the kinds of things you did together at the beginning of your relationship. Doing activities that initially brought you together as a couple can help you maintain the feelings you had when you were in the fun and carefree courtship phase in your marriage phase.
Like we said above, dating should be fun. Going on dates can be a great way to blow off steam after a busy couple of days and try something new with your partner. But it’s also important that you work to incorporate intimacy into your date nights. Afterall, you are romantic partners! Yes, this does mean sex. And, yes, sex is important, but when we talk about intimacy we also mean romantic and physical intimacy. In addition to prioritizing sex (and scheduling time for it if that’s necessary in your busy schedule, or just something that you like to do), schedule romantic time together. Romantic time can be a nice date night out, cooking a fancy meal at home, taking a romantic trip together or even just going on an evening walk, distraction free so that you can soak in each other’s company. Finding ways to be intimate with one another will improve your connection, strengthen your bond, and also improve you sex life by increasing your attraction to your partner.
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Table your usual talking points
When you do find the time to go on a date, and be intimate, it can be important to distinguish the date from a regular activity. You want the date to feel special to a certain degree (not all the time, but definitely some of the time), so avoid talking about the things you normally discuss (aka don’t talk about work or what you’re going to get from the grocery store later in the week). Take this time to truly check-in with your partner. Talk about your interests, things you want to do together or reminisce about old times! Dating is about cherishing your time together and discussing new, interesting things! If you are struggling to talk about new things, you and your partner can consider looking up date night conversation starters (easily found online or even in relationship books). Admittedly, this does sound a little cheesy.... But if you and your partner are open to it, conversation starters can help spark interesting conversations about new topics!
Consider your love languages
Plan a date with your love languages in mind. Love languages are one of the newest and trendiest forms of relationship psychology. The thinking is that every person has a preferred way to give love and a preferred way to receive love, which may or may not match up with their partners. Love languages are broken up into five categories: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch. Each person has a preferred love language, or a few preferred love languages that dictate their behavior and expectations in a relationship. There are tons of quizzes and books out there that can help you figure out what your love languages are if they aren’t super apparent to you after reading through the characteristics. Once you figure out what your love languages are, plan a date that is complementary to these preferences! Do you both prefer quality time? Do an activity together! Does one person like gifts? Plan a date around presents! Get creative with your date ideas and help show and receive love in your preferred ways.
Take a sick day
This isn’t a super realistic tip for everyone, but depending on the type of work you do and whether you can take the day off or trade shifts or what have you, it can be fun to take time away from work to prioritize your relationship. In the hustle and bustle of life, it can be hard to take the necessary time to cultivate your connection to your partner. Sometimes taking just one sick day and spending that together can make all the difference in terms of your connection. If this isn’t possible, but you still feel like work is getting in the way of date night/your connection to your partner, think of ways to keep your work and home life separate. Can you leave the office earlier? Can you start your day later so that you have more time together in the morning? Can you avoid overtime so that you can prioritize your time with your partner? It’s important that your job doesn’t take away from putting time and effort towards building a stronger bond with your partner. Sometimes this means getting creative with time management! And sometimes this may require you to play hookie....
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Hire a babysitter!
For a lot of couples, raising children can cause them to put their relationship on the backburner. Between changing diapers, driving the kids to school or afterschool activities, homework help or bedtime routines it can be difficult to find a way to spend quality time with your partner. And while you may enjoy all of the things related to raising children, it’s important that you are still finding time to work on your relationship and spend time as a couple. Sometimes hiring a babysitter for one night and having a night out, or taking time to do something you like but don’t often get to do can help you rekindle your closeness as a couple. It can be easy to put your problems and your feelings on hold while taking care of your kids, but this kind of behavior can have negative impacts on your relationship. Finding time to prioritize your relationship in the midst of the business will show your dedication to one another and keep your relationship strong.
Relish each other
At the end of the day, dating is about maintaining a connection with your partner and learning more about them and your relationship. In addition to dating during your marriage (and every stage of your relationship), you and your partner should consider using services like Relish, a relationship coaching app, that can help you and your partner maintain your connection as your relationship grows and evolves. Relish pairs you with relationship experts that can help you set and work to achieve relationship goals, which can include things like supporting each other and growing together. Investing time into this kind of activity shows commitment to your partner and support for your relationship. Sometimes dating isn’t enough to keep your connection strong, especially if your dates are few and far between.
Using Relish can help you incorporate relationship strengthening exercises into your daily routine so that your relationship can continue to flourish and grow throughout the course of your marriage. Interested? Claim your free 7 day trial.