In the last few years I’ve spoken at more marriage events/retreats than I have in the past 10 years and it’s easy to see that many people struggle and get discouraged when they try to explain their own lack of effort in dating and romancing their spouse. The truth is, good marriages aren’t accidental. They don’t “just happen.” They require hard work.
I’ve heard all types of reasons for why couples don’t continue dating after the wedding. Here are ten common ones:
1. What are we going to do with the children?
2. I don’t have enough time.
3. Dating costs too much money.
4. There’s plenty to do at home.
5. I’m too tired.
6. I’m too busy.
7. There’s nothing to do where we live.
8. We can’t ever get good babysitters.
9. It’s too cold, hot, or muggy outside.
10. I’ve got too much to do around the house.
These reasons are all true. Here’s another truth: we’ve all become experts at creating excuses to avoid taking actions that require effort. I could think of ten reasons for not getting out of bed this morning, and another twenty for not wanting to work. Excuses can abound, but eventually the pressures of reality force me into action. The urgency of life tells me I’d better get out of bed and get working or I’ll end up with nowhere to work! I’m forced to do what I should, regardless of my excuses. That’s reality.
But in marriage, the consequences of my excuses aren’t nearly as tangible or immediate. If I don’t take Cathy out on a date-night, so what? Life will go on. I’ll still be employed. I‘m not forced to make any special effort toward our relationship because there appears to be no urgency.
Marriages that live with no sense of urgency in their passion and commitment to continuing to date one another or improve their relationship will eventually dry-up. Need proof? Look at the divorce rate.
Why not make the effort to jump-start your marriage? Do what it takes to bring a little romance and dating back into your marriage. Make the most of what each season offers. Summer is a great time to take advantage of the extra light at the end of the day, the weather, the freedom, and the cheap or free community activities that are offered.
Face the excuses head-on and resolve to make something happen. Don’t wait for your spouse to initiate the process, but be proactive and get started now!