Although my travel posts are entertaining, inspiring, AND informative, they will not share my deepest and darkest secrets. If you want to get to know ME on a very personal and intimate level, you will want to keep reading.
In the introduction post to my Sunday Series, I shared a little about Club Vincent. In my first Sunday feature, I talked about my job being a Joyful Journalist for Jesus. In my second feature, I will be talking about dating AFTER marriage. Dating is typically something you do at the beginning of a relationship to get to know each other and see if you might like to spend the rest of your life together. Usually after a courtship period, you quit dating and decide to marry this person and hopefully start living the "happily ever after". Shortly after the honeymoon, you begin to fall into a routine of going to work, taking care of the day to day responsibilities of being an adult (Ugh) and moving your significant other down on the list of priorities. Where they once held the top spot, numero uno, # 1, they now start falling below the: job, school (in order to get a better job which will then require you to put more hours into said job), housework, yard work, paying bills, kids,......I think you get the picture here. The desire to date goes right out the window. It's not something you planned on, or even know is happening, it just does. If you plan on getting married, or already are married, I'm going to give you some advice. You NEED to date your spouse. Period. Dating your spouse AFTER you are married is far more important than the dating you do early in the relationship. I have to give some props to my husband right about now. He was the BEST after marriage dater. He created "Friday Surprise". Basically, Friday Surprise meant that every Friday, on his way home from work, he would stop and pick up a little something (under $20) and fresh flowers. This was his way of showing how much he loved me and appreciated me. We were both on Active Duty in the Military (Air Force Medics) and worked long hours. For several years, I worked the night shift in the hospital. 7 pm to 7 am, two to three days in a row, and every other weekend off. He worked more traditional Monday through Friday hours. This meant that we didn't see each other much on the nights I worked (basically a "Hi" and "Bye" as we passed in the driveway as I went to work and he arrived home). We also had 2 small children. He ended up being a single Dad at least every other weekend. The fact that he married me when I was a single parent with a 5 year old and a 2 year old and proceeded to legally adopt them as soon as possible makes him a HERO in my eyes. You can see why I call him SUPERHUBBY!
Flash forward (or fast forward, whatever) 22 years later and here we are. Happily married (MOST days) and incredibly blessed to be together and in love more than we were when we first fell in love. Don't get me wrong, our marriage is NOT perfect. There is NO SUCH THING people! We have what I believe to be the strongest and best marriage possible. You wanna know why? We prayed together from day 1. We committed ourselves to God and vowed to ALWAYS keep him at the center of our foundation and never use the "D" word as an option when times got bad. Because if you are married more than 5 minutes (Carmen Electra and Dennis Rodman) there will be bad days. Life is not a Disney movie (though sometimes I feel like mine is, it's pretty enchanted and magical) and marriage is hard. Just like parenting is hard and you don't divorce your kids (though they can divorce you). You KEEP them through those hard teenage years and you PRAY for them. You LOVE them unconditionally even when its hard and they are in rebellion mode. You need to fight just as hard for your spouse. When the going gets tough (and IT WILL), you need to re-focus on what made you fall in love in the first place. One of the best ways to do that is to simply continue dating them. I plan mandatory date nights and date weekends with my Hubby. If it were up to him, we would just stay home and watch TV, work on home projects like cleaning the garage (UGH) and just chill in our wonderful family room with our surround sound movies and private toilet. My husband absolutely adores me. I am blessed beyond words to have him as my soul mate. He is content to just have me sitting by his side so he can gaze adoringly at me and tell me how much he loves me. While this is nice, I need a little more than that in my world. Because I am passionate about travel, I plan weekend trips that he must go on with me. Because I am equally passionate about my husband, I want him to be with me (as much as possible) when I travel. He doesn't get a choice in this. I don't ask him if he wants to go (I've been married to him for 22 years, I already know he DOESN'T). I tell him "Honey, we are going to Dallas/Houston/Austin, etc for the weekend". End of story.
While I am not a Couples Counselor or even a Relationship Expert, I AM a living survivor and THRIVER of a working and wonderful marriage. We work hard every day to keep our marriage strong. Some days, this requires overtime without pay. The benefit of the extra hours put in far outweigh the consequence of just "doing the job". Next to being a parent, there is no job more important than that of being a Husband or Wife. You should strive to always give MORE than the minimum job requirement if you want maximum results. Having a Happy and Blessed Marriage is the greatest reward that money cannot buy. So start planning your date night and get ready for the bonus that you will receive from dating your spouse!
The drawings used in this feature are meant to bring humor to an otherwise serious subject. They are based loosely on my own marriage and communication with my spouse. They are not meant to be taken as SPECIFIC instruction in how to talk to your mate. These are just "funny" examples. Your marriage is YOUR story. Proceed with caution!