When we get engaged we feel like we’ve reached the finish line. We are safe. We’ve slid into home. So we stop dating and slip on our sweats. We trust what we’ve built and stop wearing heels and rushing for the mouthwash first thing in the morning. We put less effort into the spark. But this can cause drag and lead two people down a road where “something has changed.” Usually the word we use, and it’s usually only with our friends when we’re talking about the change, is chemistry. So to prevent all the “I’m sorries” from our friends, we must focus on keeping the spark going and that means dating again. Each other. Not other people. Here are five awesome dates for those of you who are engaged and want less drag. But I want to focus more on the mindset than the actual date. I think it’s less about the activity and more about our approach.
- The Virgin Date
Relationships can become routine. The excitement of getting to know each other can slowly fade as the years go by. The truth is you’re always getting to know each other. You just have to pay attention. And we forget to. So one way to do that is to start dating again. Pretend it’s like your very first date. This doesn’t mean to act like you don’t know each other. It means to approach it like you have to win each other over. Put effort into it. Pay attention. Get curious. Discover. Again. Whatever that looks like to you. Bring your A game. Plan it. Dress to impress. Who is this person you’re engaged to?
2. The Non-Wedding Date
When we’re engaged, the wedding becomes our sun. Everything revolves around that one event. Everything you do or say is somehow tied back to your wedding. This needs to stop. On this date, you can not talk about anything wedding related the entire time. As a matter of fact, nothing future related. The focus of this date is to stay completely in the present. This means topics of discussion but also allowing the mindfulness to spill over into all parts of the date, conversation, eating, and if things go well, in the bedroom. If you guys struggle with being present, that’s very telling. Use this date as a test to see if you can hang your relationship on the here and now. Because you will need to when you get married.
3. The Man Date / Girl’s Night Out
Now let’s swing the other way. Sometimes the best to way to create a spark is to miss each other. Once we get engaged, we can easily fall into the trap of spending every second together, forgetting to invest in our friendships. It will be very important to have your own set of friends when you get married. Why not start working on that now. Call the friend you’ve been sending to voicemail and set up a coffee or a meal with them. Or get your entire posse together and hangout like you used to. Remember, you are creating a healthy pattern for your marriage. So investing in your friends is investing in your marriage. If there’s any jealousy or weirdness, that’s not a good sign and should be addressed now before you guys tie the knot.
4. The Save Money Date
We all know we drop more money on our weddings than our educations. The goal of this date is to exercise your creative muscles and do something fun and meaningful but cost effective. Dates don’t have to be expensive. Prove it on this date. It will force you guys to use more of your right brain and create new patterns. Simplify. This is a great way to see if the relationship has legs. Because it should never be about the activity. Of course the activity and amazing food can always make dates better but the nectar is in the relationship. Produce it. And soak in it.
5. The Not All About You Date
When we get engaged, we make it all about us. Nothing in the world matters except your wedding. It’s good to pull yourself out of that mindset and do something for others. This date is all about giving to others. And that process will make you guys feel closer. Volunteer at a food shelter. Help clean up a beach. Donate time with animals. The process of giving back is empowering and can make two people feel closer on a different level, since you’re both doing something meaningful and greater than yourselves.
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