Anatomy of a married date…or 7 tips on what not to do if you want to enjoy your time together

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Dating is near the top of the list of Do’s in marriage.

But beware, every time you do something to build your marriage, the enemy pulls out all the stops to thwart your best laid plans.

So do not be discouraged if things don’t turn out as you planned. Often in the unraveling of your dating-dreams God is waking you up to His higher ways of being more like His Son in a marriage that grows stronger through tests and trials.

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If you want to create a fulfilling dating experience then please be sure to:

1. Leave bad attitudes at home…Maybe you — or your husband — really weren’t very keen about this particular date. Maybe you were only a five on the one to 10 scale of desiring to do something that your spouse suggested. Well, if you can’t be a good sport about it, if you can’t seek to find something wonderful in what they think is grand, say so up front. Honesty in communication — truth spoken gently in love — helps keep unrealistic expectations at bay. Going through the motions rings empty and can lead to resentment in both of you. Try to each be at least a seven and then put your heart into it.

2. Kill your unrealistic expectations…Sometimes a date takes you and your spouse to the moon, rating a near perfect five shooting stars. Other times a date fizzles. Accept it. Take the good with the not so good and be thankful anyway. Your spouse is human like you. Imperfect. Broken. Sinful, yet loved and valued tremendously. Life, marriage, and dating — it’s all imperfect, too. Just do the best you can and all the rest is grace. Setting the bar too high on what you are expecting sets you up for disappointment which can lead to sin or sadness, both of which can cause a temporary separation of wedded hearts. Just the opposite of what dating is supposed to do!

3. Prepare for the weather…If it’s 18 degrees out with a wind chill of minus 7 dress appropriately especially if you need to park and walk a distance before ducking indoors where it’s warm. Or if it’s summer and sweltering, wear a sleeveless dress or shirt, with hat and sunglasses, and bring plenty of water. You’ll be a lot happier if basic creature comforts are taken care of and so will your spouse. Then link arms and saunter along, the best of friends out for a wonderful time regardless of temperature. You’ll be snug as love bugs on a magic carpet ride.

4. Let the little things go…Maybe you get lost en route. The gal inside your GPS goofed and told you “you have arrived at your destination” but it’s a vacant lot. Perhaps you can’t find parking close to where you’re going and it’s freezing cold {see above.} Maybe the person on line in front of you is talking too loudly and it’s wearing thin. Pull on your thick skin and take a deep breath. Let. It. Go. Focus on your mate, your bff lover, your gift from God. Annoyances are a part of life and something God uses to help grow your character!

5. Take your time…Unless you know up front that you only have a brief period to do something together plan to be unhurried. These are moments of your marriage to savor that you never get back. Life is one big rush, but dating is meant to slow. you. down. So exhale and relax. Hold your spouse’s hand. Marvel at the curve of her chin, the breadth of his shoulders. Inhale love and thank God for every blessed moment. It’s a privilege to do life together!

6. Shut out stress…Dating is supposed to be F.U.N! Not a chore or duty to be crossed off your list and certainly not something you race through so you can get back to the tyranny of the urgent waiting for you at home or office. All that stuff will still be there and will probably outlast you. But marriages don’t last forever. It is appointed unto man and woman once to die and you don’t want to be at death’s doorstep knocking for one more day, one more hour, one more date.

7. Don’t take it personally…If your date goes south and your mate sours, stay strong. Remember that ultimately everything is about God and learning to love Him and each other well. Unhappy moments in marriage are worse when both spouses step into the devil’s trap. Rise above the circumstances and ride it out. Trust Father. Next week, God-willing, is another date. All is grace.

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Dating is meant to be magical.

A time to escape the everyday pressures, celebrate your love and remember why you fell for each other. It creates a warm bond of shared experiences in a no-pressure zone that weaves the fabric of two lives into one that is comforting and caring, leading to intimacy.

But bad dates happen from time to time. Use the experience as a lesson and take corrective actions.

Then brush yourselves off and look forward to the next time…

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13 thoughts on “Anatomy of a married date…or 7 tips on what not to do if you want to enjoy your time together

  1. I love this, Sheila! You’ve come at this with an unusual angle and it’s so very practical and needed! High expectations can be a killer of enjoyment on a date–been there, done that! And the times when Gary and I can’t let go and enjoy the experience on a date, that’s a sign to me that we probably haven’t gone on a date often enough! Life has intruded on our “happy.” I’m going to be sharing this! Such helpful information, my friend! I hope you and Michael are staying warm in the snowy Northeast!

    • Been there, done that! Just last Saturday!! 🙂 But all is good for this is life, isn’t it? We are purposing to practice dating more regularly…next weekend we are touring a Chocolate Factory in CT!! Thank you so much for sharing the post, Beth. And sNOw…it aint nothing but blistering cold in the Northeast…but we are trying to stay warm!! Blessings to you, my dear friend. Tweeted a link about DILs that I think you will like. xxoo

  2. I smiled as I read this. Valentines Day is our anniversary, (28 yrs). We had reservations at our favorite place on Saturday evening. Unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate, (not the first time). We had to cancel. But we pulled steaks out of the freezer, enjoyed DQ ice cream cake, (he bought earlier), and had a very nice day in our cozy house. The special surprise happened on Sunday when the restaurant extended their hours because of all the cancellations. So we were able to have two nice meals! This is what I love about our marriage and my man. We kind of fly by the seat of our pants sometimes. But life is short, enjoy it! Take a different route sometimes.

    • Life is short, Debbie. And the unexpected unfortunate can happen at any moment in marriage or life so we must hold tight to all our gifts, grateful even when things go differently than planned. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and glad you had a nice day, cozy at home. We were at home on Valentine’s and loved it!! Blessings…

  3. I really enjoyed reading this! Although I’m not married, these same principles are still relevant for us singles. Life’s too short to stress over the little things. It’s very good to enjoy the present.
    Coming from the #raralinkup!

  4. Thank you for your words on marriage. It is tough. And my husband and I don’t go on many dates – ever really anymore. It is something we need to start doing – taking time out of busy life for one another. Thank you for these practical tips. #RaRaLinkup

    • Dana — I hope you and your hubby will set aside some time — even if only a couple of hours — to do something fun, just the two of you. Cup of coffee in front of the fire at your local Panera’s, if you have one? It really is THAT important to date our mates. Blessings…

  5. Thank you, Sheila, for this practical and encouraging dating advice. My husband and were blessed recently to get away for an entire weekend together, just the two of us. And I think I saw each of these choices before us.

    The weather was colder than we wanted. The popular restaurant did not live up to its hype. The people next to us drowned out the peacefulness of a gorgeous sunset on the water by playing a soundtrack of their own.

    Each time we had a choice. Thankfully each time we chose to let it go and find the joy in the moment, time spent together. : ) Sharing this with others.

    • Thank you, Crystal, for stopping by and for sharing this post. And I am so glad to hear that you and your husband chose wisely. Our choices are THAT important. They determine the course of our lives, moment by moment. May you and your sweet hubby have many more times like that together. Thanks and blessings…

  6. As always, wonderful post, Sheila. I thank you for giving such practical, yet vital tips. It seems like simple things that we would already know, but sometimes “life” has a way of robbing us of the simple joys and your post is a great reminder to be intentional with our love. Thank you for sharing this! Infinite blessings to you, Love! 🙂

    #RaRaLinkup 😉

  7. Great suggestions, Sheila! My husband & I love to date & try to do it every week. We usually never have a plan, we’re just glad to be together & alone!! Visiting today from #RaRaLinkup

    • Thanks, Katy. So glad to hear you make dating a regular thing. We had gotten away from the practice this summer through the holidays as we sold our home and moved and then got really busy. But we have recently re-implemented dating…and today was quite the adventure. We were at a local college to see an art exhibit and our car drove over something jutting up from the pavement and unnoticed till we were over it …and got severely damaged… and we needed a tow home… and then a walk in the cold to our home…and QUITE THE ADVENTURE yet with good spirits between us and like you said, just enjoying being together! God is good!!