Our LOVE experts (remember this post) are back to share some insight into DATING!
You know those couples that OOZE love? Not the cheesy get a room ones, the ones you want to be around because they are always happy and full of energy. That is Chris and Ali. Added bonus: pretty much everything that comes out of their mouths makes you laugh, yet sincerity is among their top attributes. Not liking them is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE. I am so excited they accepted the invitation to share more romantic insight with us to help us all stay in love! Take it away guys!
(Warning: This article may not be suitable for children, the elderly, people at risk of heart attack, or anyone currently operating a vehicle. Side effects may include hot flashes, flashing in general and saying (in a southern accent) the words “oh, my!” You should not read this if you are currently IN any of the following: church, a hot tub, Walgreens, or surgery. You have been warned.)
A lasting piece of advice offered by a friend on our wedding day was to date and keep dating, because in his words, “How long would a relationship last if you never made time for just the two of you?” Realizing he might have been a little vague, he added the important consideration, “Date EACH OTHER!” With or without this addendum, we knew that dating would have to be a priority for the marital bliss we hoped to have.
Let’s begin with the definitions of what a date IS and IS NOT. This may be necessary for the multi-tasking spouse who believes that picking up your dog’s parvo medicine, stopping for a couple “minutes” at the boat show, or swinging by a Pampered Chef party is a date as long as it includes dinner. Simply adding McNuggets to an errand does not upgrade it to a date. Sorry.
Also, while double dating and group dating are fun, they are not as much about the personal bond between the two of you. We’ll address those in another snarky, irreverent article later.
A date IS spending quality time with just the two of you.
A date IS NOT an event including children, relatives, buddies, pets, or a court appearance.
A date IS visiting an establishment or participating in an activity you both enjoy.
It IS NOT dragging your spouse to “Hot Yoga”, because “I had to go fishing with you, now it’s your turn!”
Simply put, a date IS the two of you, enjoying an activity that you both relish, or trying something new you both are interested in. It should be mutually agreed upon and inspire enthusiasm from both parties. Don’t feel bad if dinner and a movie seem to be the majority of your dates. If you love it together, do it together.
The following are a few elements that make dates more enjoyable.
Many of us back out the door shouting instructions for how to make Shells-and-cheese and threats if kids do not get along. “What do you want to do?” is not best determined in the driveway. Such planning often results in an evening of Costco and a dinner of tiny samples. As we have already discussed, not a date.
While getting out together is always good, a great date begins days before the event. Like a good vacation, the lead-up to the event is as exciting as the event. Leave each other post-its, and send text messages about what you hope your date will be like. (Note: Be sure you are sending the text to your date, not your friend. My friend Nate still wants to know what I meant by “Popcorn surprise”. Embarrassing!) The lead up is critical!
Like an ancient martial art, the craft of dating (Date-foo) has core techniques that can serve to maximize the experience for both parties. As married Date-foo masters, we recommend these things to make your date more fun and romantic.
1. Put on something nice: We’re not talking formals here, just don’t wear that velour tracksuit you slept in or the ever-classy “Git–R-Done” sleeveless tee. A little self-respect goes a long way.
2. Get a booth: Don’t let hostess Britney seat you at a drafty table, insist on a booth for the two of you. She’ll roll her eyes but ultimately give in because she needs to get back to texting.
3. Sit close: If you are at dinner, sit on the same side of the booth. This will allow you to tangle up a little more, enjoy being close, and creep out that family sitting a few feet away.
4. Turn your phones off: Leave them in the car. It should just be the two of you. Unless, of course, you text each other in a provocative way…wait, that’s bad.
5. Share entrées: Get some things you both like and share away.
6. Sneak food into a movie: That’s right, you’re bad. Stuff your coat, purse or old baby car seat with a blanket over it. (To the usher: “Yeah, all our babies smelled like Chinese food at this age.”)
7. Plan things to talk about: This should include uplifting and fun topics like “What fun places should we go this summer?”, “Tell me your Top 10 restaurant dishes”, and “If we could move anywhere, where would you pick?” It should not include such topics as “What is wrong with your mother?”, “Check out this patch of athlete’s foot” or “Remember in high school when I dated ________?” Good conversations are the best part of a loving and romantic date.
8. Be spontaneous: If you happen upon a concert in the park or at your local coffee house, be willing to change your plans and just enjoy it together if it’s something that you both are interested in.
If you have children, let’s face it, even with the best babysitter in the world, FEMA will likely be on-site delivering disaster assistance when you return home. Things will not be clean. Know this going in. Accepting that your house might resemble a crime scene worthy of a Bill Curtis voice over will actually lower the stress level of returning with your spouse and improve the enjoyment of the date.
To make the experience more fun, you and your sweetheart could make side wagers. Place bets on which child will have lost their shoes “somewhere, I don’t know where.” Gamble a foot massage on what might be under that towel in the living room. Even try and surmise who will likely need to have their stomach pumped because of fruit snack overdose. Humor about such things will make the entire date much more enjoyable.
Dating is just one of the ways you can stay, and fall even deeper, in love. It’s not some big mystery. An active, burning love life requires the same thing that got the fire burning in the first place: time and attention. If you both want that to happen at the Boat Show with a 20-piece McNugget, then just Git-R-Done!
Thank you, Thank you! You guys ROCK! Can’t wait for more (hint, hint)!