Some months ago I wrote on the topic of Date Nights. I said the following:
- Dating each other still seems like a new habit we have to remind ourselves of. It’s so easy to lapse into our own corners and forget about actively romancing each other. It’s never too late to start…
- But you can’t start early enough. If I had it to do again, I’d have prayed more for and with my husband on this issue of continuing to date each other. It would have avoided so much heartbreak and lack of communication.
- Communication was crucial, and we tried to institute a once a week no-fail communication time (we’ve gotten lax here, but we do have so much time together now that communication truly does not always have to be scheduled).
As I’ve been trying to figure out my latest funk, one thing I’ve hit upon is our failure to “date” each other. I think as we both repurposed into our new “retirement” life style, where we do spend A LOT of time together, we just assumed that no extra special efforts were required to “date” each other.
Since we are together so much, I think we also got lulled into thinking we didn’t need special “communication times.”
Praying together and for each other, and continuously growing in our faith was something I’d do differently “if I had it to do again.”
Forget the regrets of the past… What about now?
Even after 24 years together, we are still learning how to do this. There are the basics of respect, patience, love. But how do we put these in action? There are the concerns of boredom, becoming mundane, taking for granted, and staleness. How are we actively working to avoid the pitfalls?
Yes, I think we both got so lulled into believing that “more time together” equated to communication, dating, and actively working on/praying for our relationship. Simply increasing the hours in a day that we are together does little more than create tension (we do well to take breaks from each other), and it certainly doesn’t automatically improve intimacy. We have solitary pursuits and we do things together. We each enjoy reading and other hobbies. We have our own workout methods and schedules. We like touring our city together, and traveling abroad. These are all good things. These are part of the purpose, passion, and plan of this chapter of our lives. There are things we need to improve to round out our retirement life, such as investment in a church, voluntarism, and new friendships.
I realize that many of you reading this are far away from retirement, and are dealing with the tyrannies of work, families, and not enough couple time. It’s even harder to squeeze in the needed relational strengthening! But it’s so crucial. And no less crucial when time isn’t the enemy.
I think that every time I begin feeling distance and frustration with my husband, I realize that it’s for lack of dating, communicating, and praying. We have just gotten complacent and lazy about putting in the continued hard work. Just because we turned around a failing marriage, it doesn’t mean it’s clear sailing ahead with no effort. We need lots of adjustments and lots of work, continually, as we sail forward.
The keys to a healthy marriage aren’t complicated, but they’re not easy to implement either. It requires a lot of discipline and dedication to maintenance. SJ and I need to have this talk again, and recommit ourselves to investing special time to the health of our marriage.
How are these going in your marriage?