dating in marriage

I just realized that I am barely getting a third post in for February. I have about three posts sitting in draft that I’m glad I didn’t publish, but has now left with me with only two posts. Yikes! I am grateful for my resolution, though, because it’s keeping me sharp on my writing.

Husband and I go on dates on the weekends. I love them immensely, whether we’re joined by others or not, whether it happens during the day or at night. We also have a lot of fun, it sparks up the romance in our relationship, and honestly, I think it’s worth the money spent.

When we went to our Engaged Encounter weekend retreat, they had us talk about the values or priorities that would stand out the most for us. I can’t remember our specific ones, but having been married for almost two years I can say that for us, spending time together is a big priority. The week is filled with early bedtimes and stressful work days, so weekends are usually when we spend the most (mindfully present) time together.

Back when we were dating, Husband and I saw each other three or so times a week (we lived a hour apart). We went out to eat a lot, and I was eating take out pretty much every day being a bachelorette, so going out to eat lost its allure after awhile. Once we got married, we obviously had to cut back dramatically on going out to eat in order to be able to pay for things like, oh, rent and Stepson’s tuition.

When we go out now, we like it to be somewhere unique but where we have an idea that the food is going to be good. Living in Chicago, these places aren’t hard to find. Last weekend we went to a steakhouse courtesy of a giftcard from Christmas. I wasn’t sure what it would be like when we got there, considering I hadn’t been there before and it was a chain restaurant.

You know how chain restaurants can just feel different sometimes when you go there? Like everything is in fast forward, like they’re trying to get you out to get the next people in (because they are)? I always feel like local joints leave you alone more, let you enjoy your meal and conversation, always offering more refills and a chance to relax. They also feel more intimate, with lower lighting and just … a ‘feeling’ of relaxed, meal time enjoyment.

The restaurant we went to last weekend was crowded, and we waited for a hour to get seated. It was later at night, but Husband and I had a gift card to spend, so we went all out and ordered an appetizer, haha. It really was a delicious meal and a great time. But here’s why.

Sometimes, when you see a person every day, even though it’s only a couple hours at night, there’s still the matter of having a real conversation. I worried about this a lot when I was dating someone new, and I worry about it sometimes with Husband still — what will we talk about? Usually we start a conversation in the car, and it carries on into the restaurant and we go from there. Or sometimes, like one amazing brunch at our favorite local spot, we just enjoy the meal and each other’s silent company. Anyway, that night we had been watching some basketball contest on TV and perusing a menu while we waited to get seated, and so when we actually sat down we were kind of … quiet. We had already talked about the menu, and our day at the auto show, and our plan for the following day. Now what?

And then, out of nowhere, Husband started talking about his ex wife and his ex girlfriends. I know, right? At first I was like, ‘Eh … okay??’ But then it became a really great topic over how when you finally find your ‘partner for life’ you can look back on the past and see how wrong those other people were for you. Hindsight and 20/20 and all that. And then it got really romantic (I’m being serious!) and Husband told me about how he met each one and how, actually, they had each pursued him and he had gamely followed along (if you know Husband, this is SO him, he’s very laid back) … but then there was me. And for me, Husband had felt the desire that this was IT and so he had put his game face on and now it was his turn to actively go after a girl. It was wonderful, romantic, relationship affirming conversation set in a great location with amazing food accompaniment.

I don’t know how this sounds to all of you. Maybe it sounds weird, or unusual, or you’re sitting there thinking, ‘He’s lying’. (But why would he? Anyway.)

I think back to this night and I see it truly as a date. And I don’t think that, in ways like that, Husband and I have ever stopped dating and courting one another. I like that. This marriage is so fresh still, and there are a million ‘This could happen …’ scenarios that could change how things are right now, but for right now, I really love our dates, and gladly set aside money for them because the impact they have on our marriage is priceless.

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