Remember those first few months of a new relationship? The anticipation of a phone call or email, the butterflies in your stomach when thinking about him/her? Spending extra time picking out the perfect thing to wear and really paying attention to your appearance? The "falling in love" stage of a relationship is exhilarating and can take your breath away, but what happens when you have been with that person for years, and that feeling goes away? How can you bring the spark back to your marriage?
Experts from Dr. Phil to Dr. Berman tell us the importance of "dating" our mate, but how do you do that? A lot of people either don't know where to begin or feel silly at the notion. Dating your mate can be one of the best things you can do for your relationship.
First, decide on where to go. Put some thought into this; try to stay away from the old standbys or places where you have taken your children on family dinners; it needs to be a place that is special. It does not need to be a Michelin star rated restaurant, but just somewhere new or that you have always wanted to try.
Second, begin the 'courting' process; call your wife/husband and ask them out to dinner; this needs to be personal, no text messages! If you think your spouse would appreciate a written gesture, then hand write a note and slip it into a place where you know they will find it. Once the invitation has been accepted, talk about the upcoming date; tell your spouse how much you are looking forward to it, flirt with your husband/wife just like you did all those years ago. This builds the anticipation for the date and begins to help you to 'reconnect' with your spouse on that level again. You are becoming lovers again, and not simply parents or roommates.
On the day of the date, spend time getting ready, really put effort into your appearance; not only will you feel better about yourself, but your spouse will appreciate the extra thought! Once you have arrived at your destination try to not talk about the kids, bills or other areas of your life that can bring stress. This is your opportunity to reconnect with your spouse, so talk about current events, past dates from early in your relationship, anything that brings you closer to each other and that you both find interesting.
Remember to touch, flirt, smile and laugh during this time together, it is as important as the conversation. Hold hands and really listen to each other, reconnect on every level, and at the end of your date, ask you spouse if you can see them again. While it may sound a bit corny to ask this knowing that you will see them tomorrow morning at the breakfast table, it sets up that anticipation of your next date night, and keeps you thinking about spending some more alone time with your husband/wife.
Remembering what attracted you to your husband/wife in the first place is important. When the kids are out of the house and it is just the two of you, it can be awkward and you might find yourself asking who this person is that is in your house. Those sparks all those years ago can be hard to remember, but they are still there, they just need to be rekindled. Reconnecting to your partner and remembering that you are partners and lovers and not just parents or roommates is one of the cornerstones to a happy and fulfilling relationships. So, go date your mate and bring the spark back!