Never Stop Dating Your Spouse
We’ve been married five years, and we typically communicate well, even during times of conflict. However, we can’t seem to resolve an issue about “dating while married.” I heard on your Art of Relationships podcast that it is important to continue dating, but my spouse thinks it’s no longer necessary, and it’s too expensive. Any suggestions to help us resolve this?
Dear Done Dating,
As you know we are big proponents that you should never stop dating your spouse, and we talk about it often on our podcast. When we speak at various events, we have found that this issue often comes up, and with a lot of emotion behind it, usually during our “Conflict” and “Finance” sessions. Anything related to money differences often brings out the passion.
To help you reach a resolution, here are a few suggestions.
First, tell your spouse that they are wrong, wrong, WRONG, and if they do not shape up and listen to you, they will be put on our “BAD SPOUSE” list, which you can find on our website. We find that usually does the trick. Just kidding.
Second, if you want to try a healthier route, share with them this great piece of research, perhaps over a candlelight dinner at home: According to Dr. W. Bradford Wilcox (director of the National Marriage Project and a recent guest on our podcast), along with his co-author Jeffrey Dew, date nights among married couples led to higher-quality relationships and lower divorce rates, compared to couples who did not date. (See The Date Night Opportunity: What Does Couple Time Tell Us About the Potential Value of Date Nights?)
Their findings indicate that dates are indeed associated with higher reports of satisfaction with communication, sex, and commitment…for both husbands and wives.
And finally, there are some very creative ways to date on a budget. For example, using coupons discount cards can save money, as can packing a dinner and going to a local park. Offer to trade babysitting with another couple. My wife and I oftentimes enjoy finding the cheapest possible fast food restaurant and going to a nearby hiking trail.
No matter what you choose, the point is for you and your spouse to get some regular, quality time alone together – without the kids, social media, work, etc. What a great way to improve not only your communication and your sex life, but you get your honey back on the “GOOD SPOUSE” list.
Christopher Grace serves as the director of the Biola University Center for Marriage and Relationships and teaches psychology at Rosemead School of Psychology. He and his wife, Alisa, speak regularly to married couples, churches, singles and college students on the topic of relationships, dating and marriage. Grace earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from Colorado State University.