As a relationship expert and psychologist who specializes in dating and couples therapy, I’ve found that many dating behaviors can provide a good foundation for a happy marriage. We forget those early habits and develop others once we have settled into a long-term relationship with family and responsibilities as our new focus. But, this article is a reminder of how your old dating habits can revitalize your long-term relationship and make it feel new again. I’ve outlined 7 dating behaviors for you to try:
- Dress Up: When we date we put in extra effort to look our best and to go out and have a great time. With the hum drum regularity of married life it’s easy to forget to put in the effort to plan and have fun together, but don’t. Every once in a while surprise him and yourself with a night out or even a night away.
- Be Positive: When we date we notice all the terrific things about our partner. After they are your spouse you may begin to see them as a table or chair. You may stop looking at them in new ways and you may become more apathetic or negative. Remember how good it felt to both of you to be ‘in love,’ feeling positive and in a state of constant discovery. You can choose to adopt that state of consciousness again. Look for what is loveable about your mate and admire them.
- Have Regular Date Nights: Research shows that having weekly date nights lowers divorce by 3 times and improves your sex life.
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- Respond to Each Other’s Wishes: Marriage researcher John Gottman found that the couples who responded to each other’s wishes for attention did better. Couples who had divorced after a six-year follow-up had “turn-toward bids” only three out of ten times. The couples who were still together after six years had “turn-toward bids” for attention nine times out of ten. They were regularly meeting their partner’s emotional needs.
- Have Regular Sex, Show Affection & Say, ‘I Love You’: When we date we give our partner regular sex, affection and are constantly saying, ’I love you.’ Then sometimes when we have kids and are busy with our daily lives we forget how important these things are for our relationship. Take the time to show your spouse that you love them daily. Hold their hand, give lavish hugs and kisses and make them feel special.
- Celebrate Each Other’s Successes: Research shows that happily married couples celebrate each other’s successes. Remember to stop and congratulate your mate for a raise, great review or promotion. Still take the time to celebrate each other’s birthdays and your anniversary. You want to remain each other’s biggest fans, even once you’ve committed.
- Get to Know Your Partner by Asking Questions: When you date you ask about your partner’s past, interests, dreams and favorite things. Your interest means a lot. After you’re married a while you may already feel like you know the other person and can finish their sentences so you stop being interested and curious about them. There is always more to know and this process of discovery leads to greater intimacy, so ask questions and listen.
Try out these 7 old dating behaviors. You may both feel like your best selves again and can reignite your passion. Let me know how dating your spouse again revives your marriage in the comments below.