I’ve been working with couples for a long time. I’ve heard many versions of the same stories. And some of the strangest and challenging situations that stretch my imagination. One of the things that amuses me is to make lists of things.
You (and all other couples) know it’s important to spend quality time with your spouse. I recommend it for all of the couples that I work with. Again and again, couples explain to me why they can’t make it happen. I’ve compiled a list of as many reasons as I can remember hearing. Perhaps you will recognize a few that you have used. (And I included the reason why I think it’s BS.)
Reasons You Don’t Date Your Spouse
- You can date for free.
- 15-minutes a day adds up to 1:45 a week. 20-minutes a day adds up to 2:20 a week. 30-minutes a day adds up to 3:30 a week. You really can’t find 15-20 minutes every day to spend with your spouse? How about sharing a cup of coffee and chatting for your date.
- Sounds like you are out of practice. The more regularly you spend quality time with your spouse, the more natural it will feel.
- You get into arguments because you don’t spend time together solving problems. Unsolved problems will hijack your dates if you aren’t working on them at other times.
- You will build shared interests by trying new things together.
- Plan an at-home date. Put the kids to bed and spend time together. Or get up before the kids so you can spend 30 minutes together.
- In busy family life, not much is spontaneous. If you wait for that, it will never happen. Waiting for things to spontaneously happen is like gambling with your future.
- You are right. It won’t feel like when you first met. Instead, it will feel like you are deeply connected by the life you have built together. Sometimes spending quality time together will spark that “in love” feeling. But you will miss it because you didn’t go out.
- One of the many ways to heal hurt feelings is to create new happy memories. As you invest in the relationship, the hurtful events will slide deeper into the past. Dating your spouse will help heal those hurt feelings.
- They will let you down again. Maybe not in the same way, but in some way. But they also will rise to the occasion. Especially if they are on-board about the plan to go on a date.
- I’ve seen couples who plan their date while they are sitting in the stands watching their child’s practice. One of the ways to work around disruptions is to have a backup plan. It’s okay to have two date night times on the calendar or to have a backup event in case childcare falls though, someone is sick, or a child’s event is moved.
- Take turns planning your dates. Get a date night ideas book or cards. Create your own jar with popsicle sticks and write different dates to choose from at random. Have a standing date night with standing child care arrangements. Don’t make it complicated. Don’t shoot for epic.
- People show that they want to be with their spouses in different ways. Are you sure that they are not choosing you in other ways? Look for those. Besides, tit-for-tat doesn’t work well in a marriage.
- If it is truly too hard to be away from the kids, plan an at-home date after they go to bed. This feeling will probably wear off.
- This one is a fun one. So, what you’re saying is that it’s not worth investing in the relationship that you hope is strong into your elderly years? Really? This is the person who will be pushing your wheelchair around.
- An hour spent together once a week is more valuable to your relationship than an epic vacation.
- In a long-term relationship, there will always be some unresolved problems. It’s an important skill to know how to put that conflict down so that life can continue. That problem does not define your relationship, even if it feels like it at the moment. Your relationship is bigger than this argument. Are you going to sacrifice this time to connect?
- Or, if you spend time together, you will feel more in sync and better about the relationship. Avoiding time together will make that worse.
There are a lot of excuses that couples offer for not spending time together. And I’m sure that I missed a few. You can sum them up as Reasons We Don’t Prioritize Our Relationship.
So far, I haven’t found any valid reasons to Not Date Your Spouse. In fact, I’ve found a lot of benefits in dating your spouse. Here are a few.
Reasons to Date Your Spouse
- You love them.
- It makes you happy to relive the time together of the beginning of the relationship.
- Dating makes you feel young again.
- There’s no awkwardness of dating someone new because you know each other well.
- It reminds you of how it all began.
- It’s fun.
- Shared activities make you feel close and connected.
- You can explore new activities together.
- You will make new memories.
- Couples who spend more time together have more sex.
- Couples who spend more time together are more satisfied with their sex.
- It’s space to dream about your future.
- It’s space to work through problems.
- It’s space to deeply know one another.
- It makes each of you feel prioritized.
- It’s cheaper than couples counseling.
- It’s cheaper than a divorce.
- It’s time to talk about all of the things that got lost in the day-to-day busy-ness.
- Makes you appreciate your spouse more because you talk about what you’re each doing for yourself and your relationship.
- It takes the pressure off the rest of the week because it’s a time to when you have each other’s full attention.
- It shows you value the relationship.
- It’s time to practice listening.
- It’s time to practice accommodating one another.
- It’s time to play a different role with one another.
- Research says that couples who go on regular dates have a lower divorce rate.
- And they are happier in their marriages.
- It reduces overall stress.
- It makes a couple more committed to the relationship.
- It makes you more attuned to one another’s needs.
- Enjoying your marriage is one of the best things you can do for your kids’ well-being.
- It’s a good example for your kids.
- It helps you get on the same page.
- Close relationships predict greater lifelong happiness than money or fame.
- It helps you grow together over the length of the relationship.
- It boosts oxytocin and other feel-good neurotransmitters.
- A good relationship gives you a stronger immunity, lower depression, lower blood pressure, lower anxiety, better stress and pain management, faster healing, and fewer colds.
You might say that dating is a multivitamin for your marriage.
Whew! That was a lot! I hope you found a couple of reasons to prioritize quality time with your spouse. It will make your life better. It adds a boost to your career. It improves the stability of your relationship.
Spending time with your spouse doesn’t need to be complicated. It includes special and fancy dates. But it also includes coffee dates, walks in the park, conversations on the couch, and playing games at home. Choose the activities that easily fit into your life, that match your energy level, and that you will both appreciate.
Now, pull out your calendar and put some dates on it!
If you struggle to get out of the house, here are suggestions for At-Home Dates.
If I missed any excuses or reasons to date, email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll add them to the list.