Anyone married longer than five years will tell you they remember that seductive high they felt when dating someone new—that feeling of elation that only comes from novel love. That high is likely the reason they chose a date on which to marry their seducer under the delusion that it would remain so blissful for eternity. At least that seems to be the marketing ploy with marriage. We see our friends, family—and let’s not forget our very favorite, very perfect celebrities, thanks to the media—get married. By most of our childhood fantasy standards, it’s the perfect fairy tale. That’s the part we outsiders see. The part we don’t see is the next twenty years … weddings ARE fairy tales. Marriages are reality. Reality entails working, kids, exhaustion, fights, lack of time for one another, and bills that engulf you faster than quick sand. For the happiest, most-in-love couples, this daily struggle is trying. So, if you’re taking one another for granted, you’re digging your marriage’s metaphorical grave—one shovelful of snarky comments and eye-rolling at a time.
As a spouse of almost fifteen years, I am abundantly aware of how hard making couple time can be. By the time, all the chores are done and the kids are in bed, the last thing you want is another thing to “work on.” It can be exhausting. But once you start ignoring your partner, the disconnect begins. One may think his marriage is unbreakable or “forever.” This could possibly be the biggest, most deceptive, self-told lie ever conceived. No marriage is perfect. No marriage is unbreakable. Taking each other for granted can and will lead to emotional separation. Emotional separation will transform itself into physical separation.
Couples don’t sit around planning to take one another for granted. It’s something that just begins to happen over time. Comfort and routine take root. Spontaneity and fun cease to exist with the mounting obligations and responsibilities. Marriage takes constant work. This means when the kids are in bed and you’re exhausted—but you’re very aware that your spouse is feeling frisky—you put everything else in your mind away, lock your bedroom door, and let loose. This means when you see how exhausted your spouse is from doing chores, you resist plopping down in the recliner and offer to help. No one “plops” until both of you can “plop.” This means you make a special effort to ask your spouse for a date night. Tell them you miss spending time with them: “just us.” Taking the kids to dinner doesn’t qualify as date night. Maintain an interest in his/her activities and interests. But most of all, it means sensitivity to feelings and constant reminders of your love and devotion … i.e. hugs, kisses, sexy emails, and unexpected afternoon “visits.”
The old saying, “Treat others as you want to be treated” will forever hold true. We all want to be appreciated, desired, and adored. No one wants to be ignored, tolerated, or taken for granted. We all strive to avoid marital suicide—or so I hope. So, only one question remains. When’s date night?