- Ray St-Amour
When was the last time you were on a date?
You might be wondering why I am blogging to couples about when they last went on a date. Couples often think that this is reserved for the courting process, you know, when you put your best side forward and try to “get the girl” or “get the guy” , I am here to say that dating is very important to couples.
When was the last time that you spent some time with your partner on an outing where the goal was to enjoy each other’s company, to discover something new about them, to reminisce about your beginnings? Many will say they can’t remember when. Going on “a date” does not include doing the groceries together or going to your child’s hockey or soccer game. It does include an activity for both of you to do. It can be going skiing together, going out for a coffee at your favourite coffee house, going out for dinner or to the movies. The goal is to spend time together, not talking about “housekeeping issues” or the children. The goal is to rediscover each other.
Gottman calls this “enhancing your love maps, where you get to know one another’s world. Gottman describes love maps as the “term for that part of your brain where you store all the relevant information about your partner’s life” (The Seven Principles for making marriage work, 2015, p.54). He continues “The more you know about each other’s inner world, the more profound and rewarding your relationship will be” (p.62)
A “date” does not have to be expensive. You don’t even have to leave the house. When our children were young, but old enough to have some independence, on valentine’s day, I would pull out my “step box” (who remembers aerobic step boxing?), I would dust it, put a tablecloth on it and we would have an intimate candlelight dinner on the floor in our bedroom, eating potatoe skins, shrimp and wings, while the children ate their favourite food in the family room, take out pizza. The children were told that this was our romantic valentine’s dinner, not to disturb us unless it was an emergency and they nicely complied. I remember one of them asking if she could come and see all the candles lit before we had our dinner. We not only had a tradition of doing this romantic dinner on valentine’s day, we showed our children that being a couple was as important as being a parent.
I will leave you with this question: what are you planning to do together with your partner for your next “date”?