After years of being married a lot of couples hit rough patches where they seem to loose their connection with one another. Couples tend to drift further apart and even though they know this is happening they do little to stop it or reverse the behavior that has them heading in a downward spiral fulfilling what seems to be a bad marriage trend. Falling into the trap of being married but not fully engaged in the marriage is a problem that can easily be prevented or reversed if the couple remembers to keep an open mind and are willing to re-commit themselves to their marriage. There are a few things that couples can do to pull themselves out of this rut and prevent themselves from becoming “Married But Not Engaged”.
My wife and I spend a lot of time together and we do things like going to dancing classes, the movies, skating, walking around the block or in the park and of coarse dinners. So when my wife suggested to me that we start having a date night I was confused and was not trying to have that. My thoughts were that date nights are for couples who are in relationship trouble. Why should we subject ourselves to only going out once a week when we were already spending time together in different ways and going out on dates multiple times during the week.
My wife let me complain and fight for a while and would bring it up every now and then until finally I guess she had enough of my stubbornness. She waited until I was going to get an oil change for my car and hit me with “IT”.
Me – Hey, I’m going to get an oil change.
Her – Why, is your car broke?
Me – No, but I don’t want it to break.
Her – Oh, so that’s preventive maintenance so that you don’t have car trouble later on?
Me – Yes (thinking) Oh crap, I know where she is going with this, how can I save myself!
Her – So you are fine with preventive maintenance for your car but not our marriage?
Me – Huh? (Now I am trying to think of something and the only thing that came out was) No, that’s different our marriage is strong.
Her – But just like your car, our marriage needs tune ups so that we keep running strong.
Me – (Knowing I lost already) Let’s compromise, how about if we don’t go out any other day that week, we make sure that we do something on date night but if we have already been out that week then we don’t have to have date night.
Her – OK (which actually meant yeah that’s what I thought, I got you)
Needless to say, we have date night almost every week. We may move the day from time to time but we still commit to doing something together almost every week and our marriage is stronger than ever. What can I say, she was right and date nights strengthened our marriage and protected us from falling into the category of being “Married But Not engaged.
There are some men out there who would rather sit down on the couch after a hard day at work looking grumpy and “Al Bundyish” instead of having quality couch time while watching something on TV with their wife. They can come up with every excuse in the book as to why they can’t watch TV with their wives like, your shows are stupid, I don’t feel like explaining this sport to you, and you ask too many questions.
Marriage is about compromise so why not watch something that she wants to watch and then something you want to watch. All things can be worked out if you are willing to put forth a little effort and work with one another. My wife and I have coined the term “Couch time” and it can be considered a date night. There are times when neither one of you are in the mood to go out or money is tight. “Couch time” is just another way to spend time with your spouse and not allow yourselves to fall into the rut of being “Married But Not Engaged”.
Note to the fellas: Watch her show first. When you watch your tv show, more than likely she will fall asleep and then you will get to watch more and more of your shows in peace. (LOL)
There are a lot of couples that just go through day to day being miserable and complaining that they never spend time together. The truth is they are not making any effort to spend time together or they are so stuck in their own funk that they think it will take a miracle to get their marriage back on track. Marriage takes work but it doesn’t have to feel like a job (Click this link to read another article by that title Marriage Takes Work But Shouldn’t Feel Like a Job). The steps to getting your marriage on track do not have to be so huge that you never get around to doing them just because the two of you can’t figure out when, where or how to get started.
Taking little steps like Date Night and Couch Time can get that fire between you started again and get the two of you back to being committed to your marriage so that you will no longer find yourselves “Married But Not Engaged.”
What are your thoughts on having date nights?