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Any marriage will inevitably face a battery of storms during the
course of its life cycle. Some couples may face bigger problems
than others, but the one constant in any relationship is a series
of tests and trials that will occur over the years and decades.
One way or another, you and your spouse will have to go through
your own unique set of conflicts. When it comes to marital
problems it’s always a question of “when” rather than “if”.
For many couples, the root of their difficulties doesn’t lie in
their actual problems, but in their lack of preparation. Some
think that being merely aware that married life isn’t perfect will
be enough to help them get past conflicts.
However, foresight is much more than just anticipating the problems
ahead – it also has a lot to do with taking precautions in order to
deal with them.
That is why a regular habit of preventive maintenance is important
in preserving any investment you make in life. With something as
precious and priceless as your marriage, you should be mindful of
the things you have to do today in order to strengthen your
foundations on a long-term basis.
Think of your relationship as a tree; reinforcing your roots will
make it difficult for any storm to yank it out of the ground.
Specifically, regular dates and rituals are some of the most
practical but vital measures you can take to preserve the health of
your marriage. Cars break down when they are neglected or miss
their scheduled check-ups.
That’s basically what life is all about: constant maintenance that
keeps everything in good working order. A little tweak here and a
minor adjustment there go a long way in keeping your relationship
from going off-course.
When you make the conscious effort to clear a chunk of your time
for your spouse, it signifies that it’s in your interest to keep
each other happy. Not only that, every date you keep or ritual
that you habitually observe are small but infinitely powerful
affirmations that you want to stay with your partner for better or
Whenever you make the effort to leave the kids with your parents
during Friday night movie date, you are also renewing the vows you
made at the altar.
As an aside, I would like to point out that while rituals and dates
should be part of your marriage, there is a distinction between
them. Rituals are habits or practices that should be little
reminders of your love for one another.
They can be something as simple as passing by the bookstore where
you first met, or choosing to sit in a certain section of the movie
theater where you had your first kiss.
Dates also serve the same general purpose, but these are social
functions done outside of the house. You can do those special
rituals as part of your date, or separately for certain occasions.
The important thing is that both things are done on a regular basis.
Another significant reason behind dates and rituals is that they
keep the emotional connection alive by constantly creating and
updating an exclusive pool of shared experiences.
After all, there should be some compartment of your marriage that’s
reserved for only the both of you. It is this private feeling for
one another which serves as your foundation and must be preserved
at all costs.
A lot of busy couples make the excuse of ignoring these things,
thinking that they can put if off for another time. When it’s a
marriage we’re talking about, what you take for granted today can
be whisked away tomorrow.
It’s very unhealthy to assume that things will stay the way you
want to without making enough effort to keep it as such. Keeping a
regular schedule for dates (and any rituals found within) should be
part of your regimen to keep your relationship fit.
Here’s another way of looking at it: not investing enough time in
your marriage puts that sense of intimacy at great risk. Often
called by many as the “spark”, the emotional closeness you have
with your spouse will keep you from falling apart when you run into
It doesn’t take a relationship expert to realize that you need to
drop everything once in a while and enjoy each other’s company to
keep yourselves from being miserable.
Marriage is work, but all work and no play makes for a very dull
marriage. Once that dullness sets in, it can cultivate an
atmosphere of coldness and detachment. I don’t have to tell you
that those are two very ideal factors for cheating.
In a nutshell, it is always in peoples’ nature to seek something
that they feel are lacking in their lives. In the case of an
estranged spouse, he/she may choose to capture that “falling in
love” feeling with another person that they are superficially
Simply put, any partner needs to have the feeling of being loved
and validated by their spouse. Without it, they could very well go
off chasing after someone else to satisfy that basic necessity
lacking in their marriage.
This is one of the biggest reasons why people cheat on their
spouse. If they can’t get enough happiness from their current
relationship, a “starved” partner might justify running off with
another person to satisfy their needs.
In short, going on dates and observing couple rituals keeps you
focused on each other, and not on people outside the marriage.
These things allow you to remember why you fell in love with each
other in the first place.
Essentially, you are preventing a gap to grow between you both,
lest that void be filled by someone else. It’s important to
remember that it’s way easier to prevent a problem from getting out
of had rather than fixing the damage resulting from negligence.
In today’s troubled economic times however, both spouses need to
work just to make ends meet. As such, couples have to sacrifice
their “we time” in order to pay the bills.
Yet you should bear in mind that the marriage you are trying to
sustain needs more than just financial support. The emotional and
romantic aspect of your relationship needs attention, too.
Therefore, all couples must make time to reconnect with one
another. Whether it’s on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis, you
should make the effort to squeeze in some couple time.
Of course, every marriage has a different set of circumstances, so
you’ll need to work out a customized date schedule to suit your
situation. Do try to sit down and discuss this with your spouse so
that both of you can agree upon which specific day(s) of the month
are just for the two of you.
As for the dates themselves, they should go by a few general
guidelines to make them effective. First of all, they need to be
meaningful to you both. Whatever activity or outing you have in
mind, they have to appeal to you emotionally.
I suggest that your dates should be a sort of reminder of your
early days as a couple. This allows you both to remember the
things that brought you together in the first place. For instance,
if you first met on the dance floor, then you can go back to those
times by setting a fortnightly or monthly ballroom date.
As we mentioned before, these have to be out of the house if you
can manage it. Making the effort to dress up and go out will
stimulate you into going through the motions of keeping your love
While you can have rituals like vegging out in front of the TV and
having a snack before turning in for the night, there also has to
be an evident commitment to make time for each other at an outside
venue. It can be a weekly trip to the planetarium, or a nice
coffee date where you first met.
Whatever it is, your dates are best done at a special place aside
Although there aren’t any hard and fast rules set in stone
regarding the length of your dates, they do have to be long enough
to allow you a nice conversation or the opportunity to renew your
To give you an idea, why don’t you try taking up a sport, or get
back into doing some of the hobbies or interests that you enjoyed
before you met? Physical activity is a great way to diffuse tension
brewing at home and relieve the strain on your marriage.
Try engaging in sports that will either allow you to compete
against each other or cooperate against other opponents.
Generally, a minimum of one to two hours seems to work for many
Another suggestion we have is for you to take part in some
community work or any activity with a social cause. If both of you
would be inclined to do so, this is a great way for you reconnect
in a way that also benefits people and organizations who need all
the help that they can get.
For example, volunteering to read books to the elderly or sick,
help out at your local food shelter, or a fundraising community
group, will help you bond and make you think of the things that you
might be taking for granted as a couple.
The bottom line is that your dates should have no creative limits;
as long as they can help you renew your connection in a
tension-free setting, then you are doing the right thing for your
Life-threatening emergencies notwithstanding, the important thing
is that you make a solid promise to one another to keep your
regular dates and rituals etched into your respective calendars.
Even in your weakest or most trying moments, those dating rituals
and dates may be the one thing that sustains you and saves your