Even after marriage, dating remains an important part of the relationship – maybe even more important. It’s a time to reconnect, remember why you like each other and talk about the children behind their backs. And although many of us try to make it a priority, it’s not always a bed of roses.
The Curious Incident of a Date in Sweatpants
One recent Saturday, a local church group held a babysitting fundraiser. We could drop off the kids all day for a donation. The minute I discovered the notice in the church bulletin during Mass, I faked a coughing fit so I could run to the back with my cell phone to sign up.
As the day of the fundraiser approached, visions of a quiet lunch date in a romantic café danced in my head. But living with a man is give and take. And sometimes you have to let the man win. One thing led to another and Saturday morning got rushed. We dropped off the kids and I found myself in my sweats at a James Bond movie, Quantum of Guy-Time or something.
Let me just say, Bond movies are not something I enjoy when they arrive via Netflix (let alone at the movie theater). I’ll find any excuse, even cleaning the toilets, to keep from watching the Bond. Those movies are not made with women in mind; we aren’t even a target-market afterthought. On top of that, they also expect you to have actually watched the previous Bond movie to follow the plot of the current one.
So, there I was on a sunny Saturday, in sweatpants, un-showered, sans makeup and with unkempt hair, watching James and his guns. My date, though, was trilled.
The Best of Times
I have had some romantic dates in my life, many or most even after tying the knot. Dating is darned well worth the time expended to set it up. I remember an enchanting dinner at the Jekyll Island Club – a magical evening spent exploring the old tavern where presidents had dined, followed by a romantic moonlit stroll. There have also been nights when we just got out and did nothing more than talk.
Occasionally, it was tough to get a conversation going, as if I were coming out of a thaw, or as if he were just waking up from a yearlong hibernation. But, I guess those are the times when it is even more important than ever to recharge and connect.
Keeping It Real
My friend Janice recently related a story about her eye-doctor appointment. She told the doc that she was having trouble seeing up-close.
“You mean like reading menus by candlelight in restaurants?” he asked.
She thought he must have an incredibly skewed perception of her reality. I believe she asked him what planet he lived on, after she was finished laughing. But she did note that she was making it a point to get out more.
Why Date the Married Man?
They say God is in the love between people. At church the other day, the sermon was about how we look for God in the spectacular, the huge event, the miracle. But every day we live in this constant steadfastness. The sun rises in the east, sets in the west. The seasons follow each other in rhythm every year. Though we take it for granted, God is in this and it is magnificent and spectacular.
The spouses in our lives can be similar. They go to work or take care of the children. Put away the dishes. Wash the faces. Read the bedtime stories. Fall asleep in front of the TV. We take our relationships for granted, though these, too, are spectacular and magnificent.
Dating gives us a brief pause to reflect on this. It’s a way to keep connecting, rediscovering the person who made you say “I do,” peeling back his layers, listening to him, learning what makes him love mindless-macho-action movies. Sometimes the date can be spectacular. Sometimes so-so. And sometimes just downright odd, like a Saturday morning in sweat pants with James Bond.
Driving the SUV home from the Bond movie at 80-plus mph, I could tell the man had had a good time. For effect, I sang the theme song for him (Dun da, da dun) as he rounded the curves at top speed. He laughed, and the two hours of guns-and-poses was suddenly all worthwhile.