“Greg. You have more dates with your wife than anyone I know. To be honest, it’s hard for me to fathom. How in the world do you do it?”
“We’ve actually come to the place where the first thing we put in our calendar is our date nights. Then we work everything else around that. But it wasn’t always this way.”
“Really? I would never have guessed by what I see. What changed?”
“Well, the short answer would be, “I came to my senses and returned to intentionally pursuing Lynn as I did before we were married.”
laughing, “That is pretty succinct. You can tell me more if you like.”
“Sure if you want to hear it.”
“Of course! I wouldn’t have asked otherwise.”
“Alright. But you asked for it. Lynn and I dated for four years prior to marriage. Some might call it courting, I guess. When we could, we’d spend a lot of time together. When we were not together in person, not in studies or working, you could find me huddled in my room,door closed, phone to my ear, fidgetting with a phone cord as I sat listening. I loved hearing her voice. Listening to her talk, getting to know who she was, and what she was passionate about. This was long before the Fav 10 promotions modern cell phone packages offer & let me tell you, some of the monthly bills that came in, were out of this world.”
“No doubt about it, I can remember those days too.”
“Yeah, the expense never bothered me because I loved talking with her. More than anything though, I enjoyed our times together. We could be canoeing, walking through the zoo, shooting hoops, eating KFC at the park, or riding motorcycle down a twisty back-road. Just being with her was exhilarating. After a few years of dating she finally asked me to marry her. Ok, Ok, truth be known, I finally clued in that she would actually say, “yes,” so I mustered up the courage to ask. We married between my first and second years of studies and although it was a little tougher balancing part-time work, studies, ministry in a local church, and a new life together we managed to continue our regular dating routine. 4 years into our marriage we had our first child. What a season of change that was for us. We moved to a new community, began ministering in a new church, and had a baby all within one month. Six months later we discovered we were expecting child # 2. My mind reeled as I plummeted from awe and wonder at the miracle of child birth to panic and fear in a heart beat. Subtly, almost imperceptibly something happened within me. I didn’t recognize it, but I was pouring my life into our two little girls, making sure that they knew their daddy loved them, (Once I got over the shock and fear that is.) and the ministry that we were working in. Lynn and I always had a ‘good’ relationship. People often commented on it. What couldn’t be seen on the exterior was a cooling that was taking place within our relationship. The greatest responsibility for that, was not Lynn’s but mine to bear.”
“I had allowed good things to dominate my time and affection. Good things like, investing in our children, providing for our growing family, pouring my heart into ministry. When you boil it all down, I had placed these good things, in higher priority than Lynn and my shared relationship together. When this dawned on me, I was amazed at how subtly this took place within my life.”
“What brought about this realization?”
A friend loved me enough to ask, “Greg, what could happen in your marriage if you put as much energy into loving your wife as you obviously do your children?”
“Wow. That is a powerful question!”
“It was for me! I began reflecting upon my intentionality with our children. I had been dating the girls regularly, taking time away as a family. Ensuring that we were cultivating a healthy relational environment, for us as a family. Lynn, on the other hand, I was now dating sporadically, with a lot less intentionality. It was more like, ‘Hey, I have some time do you want to grab a sitter and head out tonight?’ What impact could this have upon our marriage? As I thought about that, I remembered how we pursued one another during our courtship and into the early years of our marriage. If I could direct the same energy and enthusiasm into my relationship with Lynn, it would probably mean the world to her. I renewed my commitment to pursue Lynn as I did while getting to know her. To cultivate our relationship with intentionality. To go on discovery, seeking new territory within her heart I had not yet discovered. I returned home and shared with Lynn my renewed commitment to her, pulled out my day planner and together we selected an evening we would call ours. What I discovered in work and ministry was this, if I didn’t write it in my day planner, it often wouldn’t get done. On the other hand though, writing the date down ensured Lynn was a priority, and provided a visual for me when others requested my time. Interestingly enough, what seemed almost awkward and forced in the beginning has become so natural and normal that we don’t even think about it anymore. Date night is a great night, a highlight of our week. There is a no doubt it has had a profound impact upon our relationship together, but has also been great for our children to see the priority we place upon one another. I would not change this for anything.”
“That’s amazing. Thanks for sharing Greg. You have given me something to consider today without even knowing it.”
* This conversation gleaned from a phone call last week with an old friend.
As you consider keeping love alive within our marriage relationship. Let me close this with one final thought and a couple of questions. It’s very common for men to think that pursuing the girl, trying to capture her heart, goes hand in hand with dating/courtship but not with marriage. That simply is not the case. We have discovered, as many others have, that continuing the pursuit of capturing and holding her heart opens up new vistas and lands of discovery. Doing so will draw you into a deeper, richer, fulfilling relationship with one another.
So the short challenge here is, take up the chase again, pursue and capture her heart. You can begin asking yourself, “What did I do when I was dating that she loved so much?” and then begin doing it again.
Your relationship will be better because of it
Until Next Time, Keep love alive by resuming your pursuit of her heart
Your friend and Pro-active Parent Coach