“Dating your Spouse”: What it Really Means
Want to hear something that’s a little embarrassing? I still try to impress Katie. Like all the time. It’s honestly to the point where, if I say something funny (or something I think is funny) and she doesn’t laugh, I start to give her crap, because it’s just that important to me that she thinks that I am funny. Just as much as it was when we first starting to date. I’m not saying that you should be constantly trying to impress your partner for your own ego’s sake. This is just silly thing that gives me a little confidence boost from time to time. It’s something that makes me feel wanted, which is something you strive for in your marriage. You can do this by dating your spouse.
Dating your spouse: what is it?
Simply put: It’s continuing to get to know your spouse throughout your marriage. Think about when you first started dating. You wanted to spend almost every waking minute with each other. Why is that? Simply put, it was because you wanted to get to know this person better because you liked them a lot. That’s why we continue to date our significant others until there is commitment. Once that happens, a lot of the time, we start to get comfortable with each other and stop getting to know one another.
That all makes sense. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with being comfortable with your life partner. In fact, it’s definitely a requirement for most of us. But when we become comfortable is also when we tend to become complacent. We stop getting to know our partners, because we assume that we know them as well as we possibly can. In other words, we stop dating our spouses.
Don’t let this happen. Just as in any career, you can never have “done it all.” There is always room for improvement and advancement, even when you are at the top of your game. You need to continue to innovate. The same thing is true for your relationships, even when you know each-other better than anyone else in the world knows either of you, that doesn’t mean you know everything!
There will always be new things to learn about your partner, because your partner will be changing and evolving overtime, just as you will. If you continue to date your partner, and frequently spend quality time with each-other, you will go on your individual journeys of change and evolution together, and grow closer as a couple over time. This is why it is so important to keep some of the magic of dating alive with your partner as you grow together!
So, why do we stop getting to know each other after marriage?
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We have different expectations for someone we are dating, and someone we are life partner’s with. This is a good thing to a certain degree. We definitely shouldn’t be going into every relationship thinking: “I’m going to marry this one” immediately. But at some point in any long-term relationship, we do need to ask ourselves, “Where do I see this going?” I’ve witness a fair amount of 2-3 year relationships where people never asked themselves this question, and just got comfortable. They had fun for a while, but eventually ended up resenting each other.
They went into the relationship with the expectation that this is just casual, it’s just a fun, there are limited consequences if they break up. But sometimes these relationships turn long-term, and then into marriage.
When this happens, there is a sudden shift in expectations from you partner. Now, you have to build a life together, often you are linking finances, the consequences of a break up are much higher (and expensive). So, if you haven’t, as a couple gotten in a mindset where this is going to happen, that can be problematic. The other thing that happens a lot, is that couples have thought about this love each other, and have loved every minute of dating, but then think that things need to change because of these expectations they will have for each other. This does not need to be the case.
Not a lot needs to change in the dynamic of your relationship after you get married. What should happen is, the further you go in your relationship, the more you need to realize that you should be thinking about your future. Once it’s been decided that you want to spend your life with someone, you gradually take steps to make that the norm, and once you’re married, life your life together, and continue to get to know each other. Continue to go on dates, put the phone away, and concentrate on spending quality time with each other. This is what dating your spouse is about. It’s not fancy. It’s continuing to get to know a ever-changing person that you have dedicated your life to.