One day several years after my divorce, I was in the grocery store with my friend Jennifer, a single co-worker of mine who had never been married. As we waited in line for our groceries to be checked, a woman behind us who looked somewhat disheveled was talking to a friend she had bumped into. Her friend said, “Wow, you look all relaxed in your sweats and everything.” She replied, “Oh, Steve and I are married, now. He doesn’t care.”
As we walked out to our car, I told Jennifer, “That’s not great advice, Jen. It doesn’t matter if you’re married or not, the guy still cares how you look.” It’s hard for me to forget that little moment in time because I had already been through a failed marriage and I felt sad for the woman who had said that. I hoped in the future it was something she may have changed her mind about.
After you get into a relationship and the two of you become comfortable with each other, it’s a good idea to continue doing all the things you did to be attractive while you were dating. They shouldn’t be just a facade that falls away. I’m sure both men and women would agree the person they fall in love with during the dating period is the same person they want to be with in the exlusive couple period.
I’m not saying don’t get comfortable with each other or that women should wear makeup every hour of the day. I’m just saying don’t let those really nice things like opening doors and pulling out chairs for her, or saying thank you for dinner and giving him compliments fade away into the background.
Another great habit to keep up after you’ve become a committed couple is to keep on dating. Don’t stop dating each other. This is something married couples often forget about once they settle in to married life.
Once you begin doing everything together, dates tend to become fewer and farther in between, almost as if they were special occaisions. Sometimes, the dating fades away completely. Then, the Friday or Saturday nights are still spent together, but instead of something special that focuses solely on you two, you go shopping for a birthday gift for a relative or have a quick bite to eat and go get the car washed and detailed. Going to Target to pick out new bathroom decor is not a date.
If finances are tight, and you’re on a budget, please don’t be defensive about my suggestion. The idea is not to go out and simply spend money on each other. Many people cannot afford to do that and nice dinners, etc. are a special occaision. Dinner at home, a rented movie, a free concert in the park or a picnic at the beach are all excellent ideas that cost little or no money, but the key to dating at this point in your relationship is spending time focused on each other and having great conversations that cement and grow your love for one another.
Keep doing the things that make you attractive and keep dating each other after you’re committed to each other. These are great habits to get into before you ever get married… Keep dating each other and getting dressed up for each other to keep the romance alive. You’ll find yourself in one of those relationships that is solid and happy, and one that everyone envies 🙂