Meg was on the go from the time she woke in the morning to late in the evening: racing the kids to school, working at the library and maintaining the family calendar. And she was wearing down. Her husband, Joe, missed the long talks they used to have in the earlier years of their marriage, and he felt a growing distance between them.
One night as Joe walked in the house from a long day at work, he saw the droop in Meg’s shoulders and made a decision. “Meg, we need some time together.” Joe asked Meg if he could take her out to her favorite place for dinner. No, this wasn’t in the budget. Yes, it was already 7 p.m. on a weeknight. And yes, the kids were running around the house, hungry for dinner that wasn’t even started. Instead of retreating to the evening routine, Joe called his sister and asked her if she could watch the kids for the night. In less than 40 minutes, Joe and Meg walked out the door for a night together.
Alone for the first time in months, they sat and talked. He listened as she cataloged the stresses she was facing. “Whether it’s the kids or the daily stuff, I tend to get anxious and I need someone to download my thoughts with. I miss talking to you,” she said.
Two hours later, when the wait staff started to turn off lights in the dining room, Meg and Joe realized they had reconnected emotionally. They had talked about some solutions to their busyness as well as their jobs, their kids and their life together.
Taking a deep sigh, Meg looked at her husband and said, “Joe, you knew just what we needed tonight. I feel so much better already. Let’s not wait months to do this again.”
Too often, married couples get settled, caught up in the routine of jobs, church, parenting and other commitments. Many couples are so busy that they don’t take time to nurture the foundation of their family ï¿½ their marriage and their relationship with each other. As we know all too well, when that marriage foundation begins to crumble, everything else comes down with it.
Men, you would never think of ignoring your car for a year at a time, so why do you think your wife can go for days or weeks at a time without attention from you? Women, you wouldn’t think of buying a plant and refusing to water it, so why do you think your husband can go for days or weeks without some of his most important needs being met?
We all need to get away alone and continue to talk, laugh and have fun together. It’s in those times of dating your mate that true connection takes place. We need to learn more about each other, our past and our dreams for the future. We need to feel at ease with each other as we face new challenges together. That’s why dating shouldn’t stop with marriage.
In our book, “40 Unforgettable Dates With Your Mate,” we take the five love needs of men and women and give date ideas for each love need. You might be asking, “Okay, Gary and Barb, why the focus on love needs? Why can’t we just go to dinner and a movie?” Well, you can, and that’s a good place to start. But if you’re going to go out to dinner and a movie and spend the money getting a babysitter, then make the date count! It’s what we call having a “date with a purpose.” Intentionally give your time together a purpose beyond just sharing an event. Focus on the needs of your mate, put him or her in the spotlight, and nurture your marriage relationship.
Just like Meg and Joe, each one of us is busy and weary. Joe noticed what his wife needed, he took the initiative to do something about it, he listened to her heart, and gave Meg a new outlook on life. And in the process, Joe too was reconnected emotionally.
Keeping a marriage together and the romance alive takes time. It means making your marriage and spouse a priority and setting aside time for only him or her. So before this week ends, plan a special date with your mate. Hey, and one more thing: make it count!
Copyright © 2002 Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg, used with permission, published by Tyndale House Publishers. Adapted from 40 Unforgettable Dates with Your Mate
Married nearly 30 years, the parents of two married adult children, and grandparents of two, Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg have a unique blend of insight and wisdom that touches people of all ages. Together with Gary’s 25,000 hours of counseling experience and Barbara’s wise counsel and biblical teaching, they are America’s Family Coaches (AFC) — equipping thousands of families across the nation.