How dating will improve and save your marriage
The French humorist Gad Elmaleh has a show on Netflix in English, and I encourage you to watch it if you want to understand how it feels to be French and living in the USA.
Here’s the trailer:
I nodded during almost all of the show since I experienced a lot of similar situations. It was good to watch it with my American husband to help him understand how I feel in his country
But one thing that I disagreed with was the topic about date nights. In the USA, the idea of having date nights when you are married is common while it’s not the case in France.
First of all, we don’t have dates in France as in America. In fact, the concept of dating before being boyfriend and girlfriend does not exist. You are together, or you are not.
So I guess it’s difficult for French people to understand why you would date your partner after being married.
I have to admit that dating saved my marriage with my husband. A few years ago we hit a rough patch.
I didn’t feel connected to him anymore. We were always getting mad at each other and barely had any positive interactions.
So one day we sat down and talked about how we could improve our relationship.
One of the first thing that I pointed out was that I felt like we were acting more as roommates than husband and wife. Sure we spent a lot of time in the same room, but he was on his computer on the dining table while I was watching Netflix on the sofa.
At the time, we were fighting so much that almost all of our interactions were negative.
That day we realized that if we wanted to stop fighting, we needed to create more positive experiences that would overbalance the negative ones.
The plan was simple, to balance the negative interactions, we needed to spend real quality time together.
So we started to have date nights every Friday, and three years later we still do which I know is easy for us since we don’t have kids. But I think that it’s essential to have some quality time just the two of you to continue having fun and positive experiences together.
At first, we surprised each other every other week which was fun. But today we talk about it during the week and decide on Thursday at the latest what we will do for our weekly date night.
It can be anything like going to the beach watch the sunset with our cameras to going to see a movie at the theater.
Three years after we started our Friday date night tradition, we are closer than ever.
Of course, we still fight sometimes, but it’s rare, and we get over it pretty quickly. I believe that it’s healthy to be mad at each other from time to time.
However we now are joking around all the time, we are cuddling all the time, and I feel like we are more in love than before.
He’s still on his computer on the dining table while I watch TV or go to bed early with a book. But it doesn’t bother me anymore because we spend a lot of happy moments together throughout the days. And I know that Friday night we will be just the two of us with no screens in-between!
HOW TO CREATE A DATE NIGHT TRADITION
1. Add date night to your monthly budget
2. Set a day and time in the week or the month
3. Make a list of date ideas
4. Do it!
9 Ways to Improve
Your Love Life
Modern Love is not an advice column, but the stories frequently offer lessons in how to navigate relationships. After all, our most popular essay ever, “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This,” taught readers how they could increase their chances of falling in love by asking 36 questions of a stranger, and our second most popular, “What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage,” explained how to improve a spouse’s behavior by using exotic animal-training techniques.
This year’s most-read essays also offer strategies for improving romantic and platonic relationships, such as fighting well in marriage and minimizing the physical pain of a broken heart. Here are a few sage pieces of advice.
1.Skip small talk.
In getting to know someone, don’t waste too many words (or precious hours of your life) asking dull questions about commuting times or the weather. As Tim Boomer suggests, dive deep from the start with big questions, such as “What work are you most passionate about?” and “What’s the most in love you’ve ever felt?”
2.Don’t be afraid to fight in your marriage, or to fight for it.
Too much fighting can lead to divorce, but it turns out too little fighting can also split you up. Laura Pritchett and her husband thought love was all about peace and harmony, so they tried to avoid conflict entirely. “But that kind of love often doesn’t survive life,” she realized, “and in the end, our silence was less about respect or affection or love than it was about cowardice.”
3.Let people know the real you.
And make sure they really do know, before it’s too late. James Pehna was in his 60s before he came out as gay to his mother. He had always avoided the subject, assuming his parents had figured it out during his decades of visits with his boyfriend. They hadn’t. “We never knew,” his elderly mother told him one week before she died. “How did this happen?”
4.Know this: Sex is not love.
And love does not require sex. Ephi Stempler, who is gay, has been in a platonic relationship with a woman for 17 years. They even joked about marrying each other if neither found a husband by age 40. At 41, they moved in together, leaving Ephi to wonder if what they have is “maybe the closest approximation of real love either of us will ever experience.”
5.Get married, and stay married, out of want, not need.
Who needs men? Who needs marriage? After divorcing twice, Karen Rinaldi found herself questioning the whole concept of “need” in a relationship, resolving never to marry again. Then she married again — a union that has lasted for 20-plus years. “I don’t need him,” she said, “but I want him in my life. He doesn’t protect me from others, only from my worst instincts.”
6.If a man uses a sandwich for his online dating headshot, steer clear.
Even if the sandwich looks mouth-wateringly delicious. Even if that sandwich makes witty bread puns and asks you to be his “bay-gal.” Also, avoid a man who wears clip-in bike shoes to your first date, making him sound like a horse as he clippety-clops across the restaurant’s wood floor.
7.Try treating heartache as you would a headache.
When the neuroscience student Melissa Hill was dumped, she knew that chemicals in her brain were making her feel as if she were suffering through withdrawal from drug addiction. That is when she discovered research suggesting that acetaminophen can help ease the physical pain of heartbreak. (But regardless of how horrible you feel, be sure to follow dosage guidelines. The risks of acetaminophen overdose are real.)
8.Say what you want from the relationship.
If someone has put you in the Friend Zone and you want the relationship to be more, don’t assume the person will magically figure out your feelings. In an age where many people are content to let relationships remain undefined for months or even years, it’s up to you to define them. So be brave and say what you want. True, you may lose the friendship (or whatever it was) by doing so, but emotional clarity can be its own reward.
9.When sharing cabs with strange men, keep your shoes on.
An offer of an innocent-sounding foot massage could lead, as Julia Anne Miller discovered, to him asking for permission to suck your toes. Then again, if you believe, as Julia did, in nurturing people’s dreams, no matter how small or odd, saying yes is also an option.
Spark Up Your Marriage: 4 Ways to Date Your Wife All Over Again
Does your marriage feel flat? Studies show that after three years of marriage, many couples start complaining about their relationship being stale and boring. It’s no surprise then that most divorces occur within the first three years of marriage.
How can you beat the marital blahs and consequently beat divorce? The answer is simple: date your wife all over again.
Feeding the Flame
Remember how you felt when you were dating your wife? You couldn’t wait to spend time with her. You’d call her on the phone just to see how she was. You’d surprise her with a nice evening on the town or a small gift.
You can spark up your marriage by recapturing those same feelings you had when you first dated your wife. A marriage is like a fire. If you don’t tend to it and feed the flame, it will quickly die out. Enriching a marriage doesn’t require you to plan big getaways; small and simple activities will do the trick. Here are 4 simple ways you can revitalize your marriage by dating your wife again.
Expressions of Love
You probably told your wife “I love you” hundreds of times a day when you first dated. Yet after a few years of marriage, some men can go days without telling their wife they love them. A common excuse men give for not telling their wife they love her is, “I already show my wife I love her by working long hours to provide for the family and mowing the yard.” While it’s true that love can and should be shown through actions, women need to hear that you love them. It’s reassuring for them to hear it come from your mouth.
Also, when was the last time you told your wife she looked beautiful? This is especially important to do if your wife gets all fancied up. I’ve been in the doghouse a few times for failing to take the time to tell my wife how great she looks after she’s dolled up. Even though you might think your wife looks hot, she cannot read your mind. Open your mouth and tell her.
In addition to telling your wife you love her, try writing a note that expresses your love. My wife loves it when I leave her a short note or email saying how beautiful she is or how much I love her. It shows your wife that you were thinking about her during the day.
When you first dated your wife, you probably did your best to behave as a gentleman. You opened doors for her or gave her your coat when she was cold. You had to do these things if you wanted to win her over. But all this probably ended a few weeks after the wedding.
Chivalry is not confined just to courtship. Courtesy and consideration for your wife is just as important after the ceremony as it is before. Each day, perform little acts of kindness and courtesy with your wife. Open the car door for her, pack her lunch for work or school, and be on time with appointments with her.
When was the last time you bought an inexpensive gift as a surprise for your wife for no other reason than just to please her? Small gifts show your wife that you’ve been thinking about her during the day. Find something that you know your wife enjoys and get it for her. If she likes flowers, get her flowers every now and then. Don’t wait for an occasion like Valentine’s Day to buy flowers. She will be ten times more happy with them if you buy them just because you were thinking about her. If there’s a particular magazine she likes, pick up a copy next time you’re at the grocery store.
A gift doesn’t even have to be a tangible good. It can also be in the form of a service. Clean the house while she’s gone or give her a twenty-minute message.
A caveat with gifts: don’t give gifts only when you want sex. I read a sad story about a woman who broke down and cried every time her husband brought home flowers because it meant he just wanted sex. Your wife is not a prostitute, so don’t treat her like one by trying to buy her with stuff. Give gifts just to please her. If she’s happy, then you succeeded.
When you first dated your wife, you probably took her out somewhere every weekend. It may have been the Taco Bell, but you at least you made sure to spend an evening out with her. When was the last time you actually went on a date with your wife?
Establish a date night with your wife and treat this time with her as sacred. When you plan your week, block out an hour each week during which you’ll be taking your wife out. If a meeting comes up, reschedule the meeting. If you have kids, find a babysitter. If you can’t afford a babysitter, find another young couple with kids and offer to trade babysitting services. They take your kids while you and your wife go out and you take their’s when they go out.
Your date night doesn’t have to be fancy. A date night that my wife and I both enjoy is eating pancakes at IHOP followed by browsing magazines at Borders. Even a trip to the ice cream store can be a great date night. The idea is to just get out of the house and spend time together.
For ideas on cheap ways you can woo your wife, check out Zen Habits’ 50 Ways to Be Romantic on the Cheap.
Every now and then, surprise your wife by planning a fancy date. Women love it when men plan a night out. Pick a restaurant you know she’ll like and make reservations. Pick out the dress she should wear and lay it out for her on the bed. When she gets home from work or school, surprise her at the door with your suit on and a bouquet of flowers. Your wife will melt right there on the spot.