Do you remember the excitement of your very first date with your spouse? Do you still feel that special thrill? Or have things settled into a predictable, and maybe even dull, routine?
Sure, you still love each other, but does it feel like something is missing? Even though Spouse’s Day has come and gone (Jan. 26 for those of you in the dog house), you can start today and bring back to your marriage the spark it had when you were still writing thank you cards for your wedding gifts.
Relationships tend to start off with a bang. You go out on a first date, and you’ve got stars in your eyes as you realize the other person just might be “the one.” Then, over time the bang becomes a dull thud as the initial thrill becomes commonplace.
Recreate Your First Date
Take your spouse on a trip through time back to that first date. It’s a great way to rekindle the old excitement as the memories come flooding back. You’ll both be reminded of what it was like when you first fell in love, and the romance will be rekindled.
If possible, set up a near duplicate of that day or evening. For example, take your spouse out to the same restaurant, club, beach, miniature golf course, or movie theater that you visited the first time you got together.
You may have to make some adjustments. For example, if you saw a movie, it obviously won’t be playing in the theater. You can still go to the same place and see a different movie while sharing popcorn or Raisinets, just as you did back then.
Choose the same type of movie that you saw on your date. There’s always something playing in popular genres like silly comedy, romantic comedy, science fiction epic, tear jerker, or horror film.
As an alternate, you can rent the first movie you saw together and watch it at home. It’s not quite the same as going to a movie theater, but with some microwave popcorn, soda, dimmed lights, and a big screen TV, you can make a reasonable facsimile.
The same goes for any other first date activity that can’t be recreated exactly because the original place no longer exists. Do the best you can, but add some adventure by slipping in a new twist.
If the restaurant you dined at is gone, choose one that serves similar cuisine. If a new eatery opened up in the same place as the old one, give it a try. If you’re feeling adventurous, surprise your spouse by recreating that first meal at home.
During this second round of your first date, remind each other about the things that brought you together. Pursuit is part of the fun of the early part of a relationship. Once you get married, the challenge is over and things become more mundane. It’s fun to remember the time before a long-term relationship was a sure thing and what spurred the two of you to get together in the first place.
Talk about the circumstances that surrounded that special day. What made one of you ask the other out on a date? Why did that person accept the invitation?
Next, have a little chat about your thoughts after that first date. Obviously you made a good impression on each other or there never would have been a second date, so flatter your spouse by sharing what attracted you and how that led to a long term commitment. The compliments will make your spouse feel good and bring back pleasant memories for you.
There are a few things you shouldn’t talk about during your first date reenactment. Don’t discuss the everyday realities of married life, like kids, bills, and work. You probably talk about those things often enough, so set them aside for one day.
Instead, focus on the sort of conversation you had when you first met. It may sound a bit silly, but ask the sort of questions you use when you’re trying to get to know someone. Then tell the other person about yourself as though you’re sharing this information for the first time.
Go Back in Time
Of course, your questions and answers should be focused on what was going on in your life when you first started dating. Do you remember what your spouse’s favorite hobby or most passionate interest was back then? What kind of music did you each listen to, and what TV shows did you watch? What were the most important things to each of you, and how have those things changed?
As you both get into character playing your younger selves, you might be surprised at how much has changed. Maturity is good, but it doesn’t have to come at the expense of losing the romantic spark.
Let your spring be blessed. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. —Proverbs 5:18
This passage in Proverbs mentions wives, but but it applies to husbands as well. Recreate your first date and you can rejoice in the spouse of your youth no matter how many years have passed. The spark might sputter but it never dies. It just waits for something to rekindle it.