Let's Do Lunch
Tammy and Jason had been married for two years and were thinking of starting a family. But they were afraid to have children because they felt their marriage was fizzling out. They never had much fun together and had lost most of the passion that they had had while they dated and for the first few months of their marriage. Tammy was even worried they might end up getting divorced. She didn't know what to do.
Tammy finally got up the nerve to talk to us about the problem. At first, Tammy didn't know what to say, because generally her marriage was going well. She loved Jason and he loved her. After much probing, we couldn't find a significant problem facing Tammy and Jason. It seemed like they might divorce just for the lack of interest. Finally we asked, “What do the two of you do for fun?”
Tammy was surprised by the question. She had never really thought about it before. “Well, we see a movie sometimes, and every now and then we go out to eat. We're trying to save money for a house and we've been cutting down on our entertainment expenses.”
Then we asked Tammy what it was like in the beginning of their relationship when she first dated Jason. Tammy's eyes sparkled. She talked about how attracted she had been to Jason and how she used to look forward to seeing him. They often went out for dinner and would take walks for their evening entertainment that really gave them the opportunity to have long talks about life and what was important to them.
As she was talking, Tammy smiled. Then we asked, “What is different about how you used to date and what you are doing now?”
Tammy went on to describe how they used to go out every Saturday night. They would often plan the next date a week ahead of time. Tammy would often dress casually, but she always used to spend a lot of time deciding what she wore. She would make sure to match her earrings and necklace to her outfit. She would wash and blow-dry her hair. Sometimes she would even have her nails manicured.
Marriage Q & A's
Q: What do most people want from their spouse when they go out together?
A: To have fun and feel close. Do your best to provide this for your mate.
Now she and Jason went out rarely. When they did go out, they never planned ahead of time what they would do. They usually wore jeans and T-shirts wherever they went. Sometimes they would even spend 30 minutes deciding what movie to see but would give up when they couldn't agree.
Tammy and Jason were depriving themselves of passion. At first, Tammy assumed that not wanting to spend a lot of money was the reason their dates were not very exciting. But when she thought about it, she and Jason had never spent much money before they were married either. What made their dates so exciting before was taking the time to get ready to go out with each other and looking forward to the dates all week. If you make yourself attractive, you'll feel more attractive and your spouse will be more attracted to you. By planning your evening out ahead of time and getting dressed nicely, you can turn a simple movie into a wonderful, romantic evening together.
Don't forget to make time for talking with each other on your dates. If you enjoy movies or sporting events, make sure that afterward you stop for coffee or walk home together so you can talk!
We suggested that Tammy and Jason set aside every Saturday night to go out together. We advised them to plan ahead so they wouldn't waste time on the actual evening deciding what to do. Both of them should change into new clothes before they go out, just like they always did before they were married. Their dates began to feel much more special, and they grew closer to each other than ever before. Tammy has stopped worrying about divorce and feels great about starting a family. Dating really strengthened their marriage and brought back the passion!
Does this scenario sound familiar to you? If so, why not try the advice we gave Tammy and Jason. Set a date night with your spouse and stick to it. Even if it's something simple, like a walk in the park or a stop for a cappuccino, make it special. And don't forget to freshen up before you go. Remember, passion is not going to just land on you—you have to make it happen!
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More on: Marriage and Divorce
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Marriage © 2001 by Hilary Rich and Helaina Laks Kravitz, M.D. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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