Dating after marriage? How can I date after marriage? Has it become an accepted phenomenon? I thought dating after marriage equals infidelity. Well, I bring you good news. No, it doesn’t because the dating we are actually referring to here is “dating your spouse after marriage”.
Many people get married, even to their best friend or to the most perfect mate they ever found, but after marriage everything turns sour. We had serious fun when we met that ‘significant other’. In fact, many ladies play it over and over in their heads; the first time they caught their ‘boo’ admiring them. But all that becomes history once they say ‘I do’ or once the babies start rolling in. We all get caught up in the routine of life and we ignore the very thing that keeps us mentally sane and happy – relationships.
I heard some elderly women discussing the issue of marriage one day and the statement one of them made really got me thinking. She said, “All marriages are the same, it is only the wedding ceremony that is different”. That statement didn’t really go down well with me, perhaps because I didn’t want to imagine my marriage going down the same path I see most marriages going these days.
But if I were to rephrase that statement, I would say, “All marriages have their own issues, but the wedding day is always different and ‘near perfect’ because we all take our time to plan for it and make it stand out of the crowd”. But I guess we are least prepared for what we face in our marriages. So, many of us with less emotional stamina, hit the rocks faster than our neighbors.
Enough of the stories. Now, how does dating my spouse have anything to do with my marital issues? Now, what does dating entail? Before marriage, during those once in a while moments, we used to look forward to making the best out of every meeting and making sure we enjoy every moment of it. Whether we admit it or not, many of us, especially the female folk, still fantasize those moments of bliss and wish they could happen all over again. That sweet silent feeling is what prompts many men and women into infidelity. They keep needing excitement and someone to appreciate them, take them to fun places, do fun things with them; someone they try to please and who is trying to please them in return. Their homes are void of any of such and so they don’t even think their spouses are in any position to do any of that. Their spouses are ‘expired lovers’. “New love is always sweet”, they say and I agree with them. New love, refreshed love, rekindled love and unconditional love is always sweet in a home.
Marriage is like a bottle; love is like the wine in the bottle. Drain out the wine and the bottle is empty and needless. But keep filling it with new wine and the bottle sparkles with freshness. Dating is one thing that could keep the wine in the bottle fresh. Dating is about romance, about fun, about sharing and caring.
A woman that has done nothing but work all year round without a moment of rest when her darling husband would volunteer to take her out to somewhere she loves (or even surprise her with fun gifts like chocolates, jewellery, undies, etc) can only get cranky, irritable and aggressive towards her husband. As a man, you keep complaining, “My wife is disrespectful, my wife is annoying, my wife only knows how to shout at the kids and everyone else around the house. Before I married her, she wasn’t like this. She was loving and caring. I don’t know what has gotten into her head!” Well, back then, before you married her, you were loving, you were caring, you bought her gifts, you took her to nice places, you kissed or pecked her each time you saw her. You treated her like a queen. And guess what? She naturally responded by being nice and loving. But now, since the year began, after just 1 or 2 kids, you can’t remember doing anything for her. Helping her with her daily chores just to woo her into having a nice time with you is not even one of the last things on your mind. And you complain she doesn’t respect you? It is natural for a woman that feels loved and treated like a queen, to respect her husband in return. Some men don’t even know the pant size of their wives anymore. In fact, many men are guilty of it. You hear them saying very unromantic things like, “Why should I buy her undies for her? I give her money to buy whatever type she desires. I can’t go shopping for undies for her”. But the irony of this is that, many of them willingly bought such gift for their wives when they were still their girlfriends and would still willing do it for some hot sexy girl out there. Yet they see it as a taboo to do it for a woman that bears their name.
Women also have their own fair share of the ‘wine-spilling’ blame. Many wives just see their husbands as foolish men they stupidly fell for and got married to and are now doomed to keep warming their beds and bearing their children. Even if your husband is the ‘kill-joy’ type, you can be the one to create the sparks of romance that would eventually ignite a full blown fire and bring back the love in your marriage. There are few women out there who honestly crave to have sex with their husbands all the time. Either because sex has generally become a very boring assignment for them, or because they feel stressed up by their daily routine. And so, they see their husbands as big-headed and stupid each time they demand for sex. The irony of this is that, many women that practice infidelity could willingly give themselves up for sex, for as many times as their lover requires. Perhaps because the strange man ignites the fire and fun they seem to lack in their own bedrooms. Well, they say, “Stolen waters are sweet”. But I think the water becomes bitter once the owner catches you drinking it. So, why not add sugar to your own water and see if you won’t enjoy it.
If your husband has not yet realized that he can date you after marriage or after bearing kids for him, you can date him first, and if he’s a responsible man, he won’t hesitate to reciprocate the gesture and your marriage will become a fun place to be. Apart from cooking his favourite meal (any good restaurant could do that), you could buy him stuff; a particular shirt you spotted that would look good on him, under wears, his best cologne or anything petty that you can afford and that you know he would love. A perfumed card or letter or even a flower (who says women can’t give men flowers?), a gift sent to him at his work place or a personal visit, or even a birthday present or surprise party.
And the list continues… dressing up in sexy outfits whenever you are together, inviting him for a walk or a trip to the shopping mall or even a regular market. Think of those things you did in those days that usually brought smiles to your darling’s face. Where you among those that used to sneak your boyfriend’s favourite meal into his working place? Well, try it again and you will be surprised that something in him would break. Dating the way we did before marriage usually brings back the feelings we felt in those days also.
Over to telephone conversations! This is one thing I’m personally guilty of and I’m currently working hard to be a better spouse. Many telephone conversations between husbands and wives sound more like a quarrel or like a conversation between colleagues or even neighbours. Re-ignite the romance in your conversations. Say ‘I love you’ and mean it even if you’ve married for as long as you can remember. Speak gently and lovingly like the way you used to when you were dating. Say the words as if you mustn’t lose him/her at the other end. Send those lovely text messages like you used to in those days. Send serious messages about other regular stuff and add a romantic line at the end. You don’t have to be pinging and chatting online with strangers or friends only, your spouse needs more of that from you too. Chat up your spouse lovingly. You can even chat online when you are in the same room together. These days, many couples could be in the same house for a few hours after a busy day and the next thing is they spend all their time chatting online with other folks. And some even go the extreme that when their spouse decides there is a pressing issue to talk about, they start dosing off or claim they are tired and need to rest. That is very insensitive and totally unromantic.
In the days before marriage, when your boyfriend/girlfriend called you up at night to discuss a pressing issue, I bet you could stay up till dawn trying to trash out that issue; perhaps for fear of losing them to another person. But nowadays, you care less whether they have issues to talk about or not. After all, they are married to you already. If they don’t like the way things are, they can go to hell or if they really have anything to talk about, they can wait till you are ready. Now, that’s very unromantic.
A very guilty crew of an unromantic marital life are clergymen/women. Only few of them know and truly practice romance in their marriages. Many of them are too ‘spiritual’ to have such carnal moments with their spouses. Well, the irony is, if you are married to your spouse, then we are all assuming that you do have sex together. And if you do have sex together, then all of the above suggestions and more also apply to your marriage. Now, prayer is very good in a home, in fact we say, “A family that prays together stays together”. But there should also be a balance in the home. Knowing where to strike the balance is what makes you an excellent clergyman/woman. Being romantic with your spouse and saving your marriage from emotional stress will not make you less spiritual or affect your ministry, instead it would boost your morale and help you perform better. And going long periods of time without being intimate with your spouse could slowly head your marriage for ‘the rocks’.
You can date your spouse after marriage. Stop letting routine eat up your days, weeks, months and even years and then begin to look back and start wondering why your home is full of so much hatred and stress. Make it a point of duty to keep the fun going in your marriage. Don’t let the wine dry up from your wine bottle.
In the end, family is all that really matters.