10 Things I’ve Learned from Three Failed Marriages, Part 8: Date Night


Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Importance of Dating

Remember when you were dating your wife before she was your wife? You wanted to be with her all the time?

Dating was fun. It got you away from the ordinary affairs of life, such as working, driving back and forth to and from work, watching television, and sleeping . . . yes, sleeping.

I remember talking into the late hours of the night when I was dating. I wanted to be with my girlfriend all the time. Then, when we actually were together all the time (i.e., got married), we stopped dating. And much of the fun went out of our marriage. In retrospect, I have to take the majority of the blame for that, if not all of it.

Before, when you were dating, you valued your girlfriend and she felt special because of it. You treated her special. You made her feel important. You put her before almost everything in your life, time-wise. I say “almost” because, unfortunately, you still had to go to work eight to ten hours a day, or even more, including drive time.

And They Lived Happily Ever After

A woman goes into a marriage thinking she is going to continue feeling special. It’s the old “and they lived happily ever after” syndrome. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell we guys that we were supposed to be a part of this equation.

In all too many cases, this is when the Law of Entropy (fourth definition) kicks into gear. This is where the natural tendency of a social system tends to degrade over time if left to itself, according to one dictionary—that social system, in this instance, being marriage.

This Law of Entropy is actually first and foremost a principle of the law of thermodynamics, but it applies equally as well to relationships. And what is marriage, if it is not the most important relationship you’ll ever have in this life? It had better be, anyway, if you’re considering marriage or are already married.

Will dating, even once a week, solve all your marital problems? No, of course not. But it can go a long way to take some of the pressure off the negative aspects of the relationship. It doesn’t get rid of them, but it can be a reminder to both of you that you can still have fun together, even if you don’t agree on everything.

Admit it—a good many husbands tend to take their wives for granted. After marriage, we tend to settle back into our pre-dating mode of living. We start watching more TV. We often become more self-absorbed, the way we were before marriage.

It’s this kind of behavior that gets a wife thinking, or even asking, “Why have you changed? We used to have so much fun. You used to pay attention to me.”

Date Night

First of all, let it be stressed that “date night” doesn’t have to be at night. It can be any time of day that is convenient for both of you. That being said, when one has children, nighttime just seems to be more convenient, if not practical, in terms of being able to get a babysitter, who is typically a schoolgirl who is attending school during daytime hours.

Dating is important. Never forget that. Being alone with your wife, without the kids, is a release for the wife, as long as you make every effort to make it pleasant. It can be a release for yourself, as well.

Complaining is not allowed, not even for bad service or food at a restaurant, one of the many curses I used to have which even still pops up every once in awhile (but not in dating situations). Remember, dating is meant to be fun.

Schedule a date night once a week. It should be every week because when a week is missed, it becomes so much easier to miss the next one. Excuses can come fast and furious, especially if the previous date night wasn’t particularly pleasant, which can happen. You just have to try to insure that it doesn’t happen.

Yep, I’m putting it all on the husband. Why? Because I’m talking to husbands, not wives.

Dating doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. It could be as simple as sitting down and playing games (on the table, not on the computer), just you and she alone (after the kids have gone to bed . . . early).

Or, it could be as complex as preparing a nice dinner (or take out, if you can’t cook) and setting a nice table out in the back yard or even in a park, complete with candles and whatever favorite beverages might be in order. You might not wish to try this in the middle of winter unless you’re both snow bunnies.

If you’re strapped for ideas, there are many good books on the subject you can either buy or check out at your local library. There are a lot of great ideas in those books. Reading them together can be great fun and will get your creative juices flowing, as well.

Continue Wooing

I know, wooing is an antiquated term, except in crossword puzzles and old people. But I still like it, as it implies something more than just being together.

Why do men stop wooing their wives after they marry?

Is it because they become comfortable? Lazy? Having someone around at all times to take care of them?

Is it because they’ve caught their “prey”?

One reader wrote the following woeful message to me, “I think he is in the zone of ‘I’ve won the prize, why should I keep playing the game’ ”.

That’s a sad indictment on we males who fall into this category. Yes, I include myself, for both of the above reasons. It’s not something I’m particularly proud of, but it’s a fact I learned a little bit too late—okay, way too late.

A woman likes to feel she is as important after she gets married as she did before the wedding day. Yet, in so many marriages, she is let down not long after the honeymoon is over, as this woman indicated.

Fun in Marriage: An Imperative

A wife gets tired working all week without a break, either at home and/or at work. A fun diversion is usually welcomed. Make it your time—no kids allowed. If you are strapped for funds, some church groups actually have girls who will volunteer on occasion to watch your kids for free as a service.

Never forget to include fun as part of your marriage. It’s so easily overlooked with nearly everyone sitting down comatose in front of a TV every night while life passes them by. Don’t let that happen to you.

You got married because you enjoyed each other’s company. So many marriages end in divorce because they forget this one simple thing. For some, the honeymoon ends after they put rings on each other’s fingers or when they start discovering each others’ weaknesses. For a few others, the honeymoon lasts a lifetime.

However, there are a lot more distractions today than there were even one generation ago. The inattentive husband’s interests continue on in pretty much the same vein as it did before marriage, while the wife’s interests, at least at first, tend toward her husband and their relationship.

I realize this is a blanket statement and doesn’t cover every situation, but I think it’s a broad enough blanket that it covers many situations. None of these “lessons” are meant to be all inclusive. If they were, this would be a book instead of a 10-part blog series.

Why Relationships Drift Apart

If the husband, content in his “prize,” continues putting his interests over the interests of his marriage, the wife will eventually start developing her own interests, to the exclusion of her husband’s. This leads to “each going their own way” that we hear about so often today. Or, like the woman above, just suffers in silence. This sort of suffering can lead to entanglements outside of marriage, if one is not careful.

“Yes, but things have changed now that we have kids,” is a sometimes heard complaint. Well, of course things change after children are born, especially for the wife. I think most wives would appreciate their husbands taking time away from the TV set to play with, or otherwise pay attention to, their children. In so many cases, it falls on the wife to be the sole nurturer of their children.

“That’s what women are for, right?”

You might not believe that there are yet men in today’s “civilized” world who continue to think this way. However, it’s not all their fault, as family and/or social traditions are often at fault.

“They” often say that “ignorance is bliss”—but I daresay that this is not true for the wife of one such ignorant husband.

Give Mommy Some Rest

One thing a husband might consider, after talking it out with his wife, is to establish an occasional Daddy’s Night Out with the kids in order to give Mommy a rest. Some wives would appreciate that; others might not. That’s one reason it is important to actually talk with your wives.

If the husband genuinely treats his wife like a queen, I think in most cases, the wife will, in turn, treat his as if he were the most important person in her life. And he should be (without getting religious) and so should she be the most important person in his life. The kids come second.

Going out on a date with your wife once a week will not solve all your problems, but it can at least show your wife that she is more important than the TV set, computer, work, hobbies, et al. That is important in any relationship, let alone marriage.

As you likely double-dated during your courting, I would say that it would be okay on an occasional basis. What you don’t want to do is substitute “partying” for alone time with your wife. That’s how I see it anyway.

Link back to Wikimedia Commons

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25 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Y. Prior
    Feb 07, 2014 @ 03:12:37

    well said – well said –

    Reply

  2. Y. Prior
    Feb 07, 2014 @ 03:20:06

    Okay – would like to add a few more thoughts (if I may) well I get it that you are talking to husbands – but it really has to be an interactive thing that is talked about. Checking in and communicating about what is needed, desired, and possible should be frequently discussed. Because needs change, seasons change – and well I like how you point out that the romance does not have to fade – and you offer great examples (wooing, serving, etc.) oh – and another reason discussion is needed also is because it helps to find out “love languages” and then target those.

    also, I get what you mean when you say kids come second – but when in the throws of child-rearing – I think there are times when rank or order does not get considered and we just meet the need of the child – because they have a very real need and I just do not like the ranking of relationships – all are valuable and when balance is in place – the relationships are separate, but independent – and I know that many couples get lost and put kids first (and then often have nothing to retire with as a couple) and I got your point. 🙂

    Reply

    • Cris
      Feb 07, 2014 @ 03:48:56

      Thank you for your comments. Really.

      #9, which is mostly written, covers the subject of communication—real communication, which is something that never existed in any of my marriages. None of knew how.

      When I put husband and wife as #1 relationship, that’s not to be taken as ranking. It’s kind of hard to describe what exactly it means.

      Individual needs of children often come first, but needs aren’t relationships. Individual needs, as you inferred, should be discussed between husband and wife, whether their own needs or the needs of the children.

      I may have to use some of your comments in my next post, without mentioned your name, of course. But then, anyone reading the comments could figure out who my mysterious “reader” is. Heehee

      My biggest hang up in getting these posts out are 1) laziness, 2) forgetfulness, and 3) finding an appropriate photograph.

      Thank you for your comments and I liked your Mexican chandelier photos, although there was no place I could find to click on a Like.

      Reply

  3. vastlycurious.com
    Mar 22, 2014 @ 12:15:36

    Bravo , well done and I concur 100%. I am just through my second marriage and I left them both for gradual lack of attention, and enthusiasm for life and lust. I am going to copy and send your blog to my son who is to be married this July ( I practically forbade my 3 children to marry before age 30 ) and I hope he reads it and absorbs it!

    Reply

    • Cris
      Mar 22, 2014 @ 15:55:57

      Thank you. There are eight other posts as well, with one more to be written. Sometimes I get so involved in other things that it takes me a long time (sometimes a really long time) to put out a post. I appreciate you comments.

      Be careful, though. I wouldn’t apply any pressure, as that can bring up the self-defense wall. 🙂

      Reply

      • vastlycurious.com
        Mar 23, 2014 @ 08:46:52

        I shall not ever apply pressure. They are grown ! (and over 30 )

      • Cris
        Mar 23, 2014 @ 12:07:37

        🙂 Good luck. Parenting is the hardest job on earth, bar none, and, at the same time, the most rewarding. It’s wonderful to see my children doing better than I did. 🙂

      • vastlycurious.com
        Mar 24, 2014 @ 21:32:30

        You have no idea! ( maybe you do? )

      • Cris
        Mar 25, 2014 @ 05:25:38

        Well, I do, but it’s hard, at least it was for me, to be a proper parent when your kids are hundreds of miles away while they were growing up.

    • Cris
      Mar 22, 2014 @ 16:13:06

      And it isn’t so much about the age of a person getting married. It’s more about the maturity of the individuals involved. And sometimes it’s hard for parents who has been through one or more divorces to see the maturity in their children, although it’s most often quite easy to see when they’re not mature. But these are the ones who will bristle when told they are not mature enough to get married, for immature people do not look at themselves as being immature. Personal experience. 🙂

      Reply

      • vastlycurious.com
        Mar 23, 2014 @ 08:45:41

        Agreed which is why they should wait until after 30 : )

      • Cris
        Mar 23, 2014 @ 12:06:16

        Unfortunately, myself included, I know a lot of people who are well over 30 who aren’t very mature. In my view, there is no stated age that makes a person mature enough to marry for the right reasons.

        The youth of today feel that once they reach the legal age they automatically become adults and, therefore, mature. I’m much older than 30 and I still don’t think I’m mature enough to get married.

        But that doesn’t mean I haven’t learned anything. It’s precisely of what I HAVE learned that makes me aware of the fact that I’m not ready to get married.

      • vastlycurious.com
        Mar 24, 2014 @ 21:33:49

        i think that between the ages of 20 and 30 you change DRAMATICALLY , hence marriage needs to way! : )

      • Cris
        Mar 25, 2014 @ 05:39:48

        Well, I changed, maybe not dramatically, but I changed AFTER I got married, but not enough to be a good husband.

        Some people NEVER change or mature, no matter how old they get. Change or maturity is not a measure of the number of years one has acquired. It’s more a matter of coming to know oneself at a deep level, which often comes following some kind of emotional crisis, such as an automobile accident, a near-death experience, a divorce (for me, three divorces), the birth of a child, a new job, or fired from a job, or any number of things.

        Change and maturity are also a matter of where one’s heart is—life’s a bowl of cherries; it’s about having fun and games with friends; it’s about making a living; it’s about going to college for fun/study/to please parents. It’s about any number of things. It’s not about age.

        I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s the truth. One doesn’t magically change when one reaches a certain age, whatever age that may be.

        I know you don’t know me from Adam, but trust me on this: age does not equate to maturity—only internal growth does, and internal growth comes from recognizing something deep inside that one sees, doesn’t like, and wishes to change.

        At least, that’s the way I see it. It’s great chatting and trading ideas. 🙂

      • vastlycurious.com
        Mar 27, 2014 @ 05:08:07

        I will answer this in more detail – rushing off for my 11 hour day : )

      • Cris
        Mar 27, 2014 @ 06:26:42

        🙂

      • vastlycurious.com
        Mar 27, 2014 @ 18:39:43

        Eventually everyone evolves and adapts as they age gradually unless yes, there is something catastrophic that happens or a series of events brings on a more rapid change. Life long drinking is also a game changer and alters ones persona gradually and sadly. Sometimes there is a wiser and more mature outlook on life and yes I agree, sometimes there is no gain in maturity. I am not perfect and do not expect perfection only respect. I think the adage if I knew then what I know now is still very true : )

      • Cris
        Mar 28, 2014 @ 01:57:09

        I agree with what you said, especially your last sentence. I think most of us can look back and say that. However, I would never want to go back and relive everything what I know now, even though “everything” would probably turn out quite different.

        I’ve got the next part of “10 Things” written but have yet to edit it and fully put it into the computer, at least the first part. Part 9 will be in two parts and will be on communication. Obviously, you could write a book on the subject, and dozens have, so I realize that it is a formidable task and I can but touch on it.

      • vastlycurious.com
        Apr 07, 2014 @ 20:47:18

        Let me know please?

      • Cris
        Apr 07, 2014 @ 22:38:43

        I’ll do my best to notify you. If you’re following, you’ll be notified automatically. I am in the process of editing part 9a because I am unhappy with some of it. I should have it out within the next two days. So you can just check back if you’re not following. 🙂 Thank you for your comments and interest.

      • vastlycurious.com
        Apr 09, 2014 @ 18:32:57

        Now I am : )

      • Cris
        Apr 09, 2014 @ 22:48:05

        Let me know what you think of the post.

      • vastlycurious.com
        Apr 12, 2014 @ 10:48:26

        I will look and then I am taking a break from here. Hopefully when the dust settles I will be back, healthy and happy !
        Be well. ♥

      • Cris
        Apr 12, 2014 @ 22:51:25

        🙂

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