Never Stop Dating

“The right one never stops showing you they love you, especially after they already have you.”

Marriage is a beautiful thing. “Officially” pledging your life to another person is a monumental and exciting time in one’s life. It is two individuals becoming one team together, and it is continuing your journey as a new family going forward. But something most people don’t usually talk about is what happens when the white dress comes off and the honeymoon ends. It’s suddenly doing quite literally everything together – it’s learning to tackle and overcome obstacles as one, as breaking up isn’t as feasible an option anymore (though not impossible if circumstances call for it). I personally love being married; doing life and everything in it with my best friend in the whole, wide world is like a dream come true. Sharing a last name and becoming a family of our own gives me a feeling I can’t adequately describe. But just because we are happy and thoroughly relishing in this phase of our life doesn’t make us immune to hardships. Every couple bumps heads, disagrees, and doesn’t always see eye-to-eye. Even though I can honestly say we are and have remained in a very good place, we are far from perfect and are certainly not experts at this marriage thing.

Something I’ve accredited to our overall success thus far in our journey has been the importance we still place on dating. Not dating around, obviously, but dating each other with the same passionate pursuit that lead us to the exchanging of vows in the first place. In the grand scheme of things, that isn’t always as easy as it sounds. In fact, I think it’s almost as if it’s made more difficult because it sounds so mindlessly simple. Prioritize your spouse? Uh, duh. Continue the things that drew you to each other in the first place after the honeymoon phase? Done. But in the chaos of day-to-day life, it certainly is easier said than carried out. Between all the things on the laundry list of daily obligations, it’s unfortunately all too easy to put your relationship on the back burner while tending to everything and everyone else. But that is a problem we’ve observed overall and have vowed to fight against together.

It certainly helps that at this stage in our life, we are still in the realm of just us two and are better able to focus our time, energy, and resources on one another. But I’m hoping that all we are able to invest in each other and our marriage during this time will be a solid foundation that we can further build upon once we do transition into the next phase and all that comes with it. Our dates aren’t always elaborate. Sometimes we enjoy things that push us out of our comfort zones, and others we prefer to remain among safe and familiar. We dedicate at least every other weekend to a formal planned date day/night – with some spontaneous ones in between – and I firmly believe it makes all the difference. I encourage everyone to make the time (how much is up to you) for you both as a couple at least somewhat regularly. Effort is the most precious thing we all should wish to feel, and all too often, its power is underestimated. A simple night in can feel far more intimate and special than any elaborate night on the town with the right amount of effort put into it. The continued pursuit of your spouse after you say “I do” is increasingly vital than it ever was before. By adding careers, school, bills, children, and so on into the mix, it is more important than ever to fan that flame as time goes on; otherwise, what is truly binding the two of you together? Genuine love or convenience, appearances, etc.?

This past week, we spent the weekend vegetating at home in a homemade blanket fort (Best. Idea. EVER, you guys!! That thing took a few days to actually take down, we both came to love it so much) with our guest room mattress on the floor in the living room and a string of Christmas lights connecting both walls in front of the big screen. We grilled steaks, whipped up fancier, less traditional sides, and sipped on the same champagne we’d drank at our wedding. We have pizza and wine nights, too. We opt to go hiking through scenic routes with deep conversation. We Yelp restaurants and landmarks on the fly. We plan spontaneous weekend trips and just go. We’ve discussed serious, thought-provoking questionnaires on long drives. We get fancied up to go out to eat. We’ve done the top touristy things around town. Some days, we nap non-stop and only leave our bed when we absolutely have to. I could go on for what feels like ever, but that’s because I could honestly do anything with that man and have the time of my life. That’s the beauty of getting to live this life beside your favorite person in it: any and everything you do together is the best time ever (yes, even the “boring” stuff). My husband goes above and beyond to make me happy and I do my very best to keep that smile upon his face, too.

Never stop dating. Never stop flirting. Never stop pursuing, even when they’re already yours. Never let the spark die. Never stop learning about each other. Never stop trying. Never treat each day together as anything less than a blessing.

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