Dating through your marriage.

March 7, 2014

Dating through marriage | IHOD

I was carefully warned by many to enjoy the fun years of dating because it ends after marriage. “All the extras slowly come to a halt once you tie the knot” so they’d say…
And I began to wonder if this would happen to us. You can’t be in the honeymoon phase forever, right?

Your love for each other does change after marriage, but if your lucky, it grows deeper each day because each consistent day is a building block in a very sturdy brick foundation. If you choose, it can be the kind of love that grows over moves across the country, losing loved ones, having babies, and still remaining devoted to each other. So through the longest days and the sleepless nights, financial strain, heart ache, and growing pains, one was looking out for the other. One would be a place of rest for the other. He would be a place of understanding and support, and I would be a listening ear at the end of a long day. Whatever your personality or love language may be, I think we can all agree that when you look for someone else’s needs before your own, love reciprocates and grows.

I like to thank some wise older friends who said that keeping your marriage as the priority (with God as the center), even before your own children, will ultimately be the key to a happy marriage and happy children too.Well here are just a few ways we have tried to keep it fresh! (Mostly Gabe and me being a moody stink eye sometimes trying to be as good as he.)

1) Bring home the faves. Whether its Talenti Gelato or literally (in Gabe’s case) real bacon, we both love to pick up each other’s favorite foods while we are at the store. A few small packs of peanut m & ms have saved a rough 5 o’ clock more times than I can say. When you know the other person took a minute to think about you and took the extra mile to make your day a little better, your love is a little renewed.

2) Saturday morning coffee. We have started to make a habit of having Saturday mornings as our time to just enjoy each other’s company and conversation. He will make the coffee (he has these really good combos down) and whether the kids are up or not, we sit in our living room and just listen to each other. I look forward to it so much.

3) Clean for the other person. This may sound odd, but while flowers and handwritten notes are still incredibly romantic, nothing gets to my heart faster than a man who cleans. Deep cleaning the kitchen is up there on the list of sure fire ways to woo a woman. Now this is probably not a priority for the men folk but Gabe always is thankful when I take care of his work shirts or clean his sink. Even though I know he could manage on his own, it’s good for me to practice service and it’s good practice for him to accept it;) Love is sometimes harder to receive than to give.

4) Plan surprises. We both claim to not like surprises, but we both seem to find ourselves planning them for each other. I really do love when Gabe tells me he has an evening planned and I don’t have to think about a thing…not even booking a babysitter. Being taken care of is something we girls love. I got the chance to redeem myself after a year of non-creative surprises by getting his best buds and brother here for a surprise birthday weekend. Sometimes life can get so crazy we forget to do something out of the ordinary for the other. Even the small surprises can renew that love and appreciation when you really need a lift.

5) Trying out the other’s interests. This started when we were dating, but it is a good way to keep things fun in your marriage. I know for a fact Gabe hates running, but he asked if he could start running with me a few years ago and he has on and off again since. He does it because he knows I love to run, and it makes me happy to do it with him. He even ran a 10K with me…honorable. Gabe has a loyalty to Brewers baseball that runs deep. Bob Uker is a regular guest in our household during baseball season. Although baseball really isn’t my sport, I make it a point to ask how they are doing every night and at least pretend to understand what he is talking about as he explains the current situation. I actually almost titled the post…“Letting Bob Uker be the third wheel in your marriage…” Jk.

Are we experts in marriage? Heck no. Just sharing what we are learning along this great adventure. Would love to hear the ways you keep the love going;)


*Photo thanks to our friend and super talented IHOD photographer Chelsey Heidorn

Leave a Comment

  • I really really loved reading this post, Anna! Ah, I’m not married, but I want to have a really great marriage (who doesn’t?) so I love these posts and keep them tucked away in the back of my mind for when those days do come 🙂 In the meantime, these are such great pointers to even the dating years – and I’m SO with you about the “cleaning” part! Nothing makes me happier than when my bf cleans! Forget the flowers – I love when a guy makes the effort to clean (and maintain a clean) house! 🙂

  • #1 is so huge for us too – food is such a love language in our home, and a small treat from my man is such a sweet little momento!

  • I love this! I don’t have kids yet, but I think that advice is spot on–a happy marriage will lead to happy kids.

  • This post was so beautiful. I’m with you on the cleaning front- when I have a post it full of chores to finish and come home to find the kitchen clean and laundry washed and (eek!) folded…my heart goes pitter patter and I smile like a three year old at a Yo Gabba Gabba concert. My hubs and I take communion together Wednesday evening and pray for each other and our marriage. It has become such a special time to reflect on ways we thrived or could have done better in the past week, and also to really welcome in the third strand in this chord of marriage.

  • this is so nice. brad and i need to date each other more. he has become a huge steelers fan since marrying me which is nice. he couldn’t care less about any particular football team before me. and i’m trying to run with him because he loves it so much. we’re doing my first 5k for st. patty’s day!

  • I love posts like this! It is refreshing to hear how people work on their marriages and put their relationship at the top of the priority list.

  • this is lovely. my fiance and i have been together for five years and are getting married next year and these are awesome tips. we already practice a lot of these things but can work on some of them for sure! i for one have loved the way our love has changed from dating, to dating as a long-term couple, to dating as an engaged couple. can’t wait to experience more
    ladies in navy

  • I really like those five little (yet significant) gestures! The hubby & I are twelve & a half years into it. I think if you were to ask him about what keeps us together, he would be very quick to respond with his two mantras; “Stay focused on God. Put your marriage first.” We have two sons, & it is incredibly humbling to see them watch their father be a thoughtful husband.
    My husband, Randy, & I have VERY different personalities & VERY little in common. BUT we are intentional about spending time together, as a family & just the two of us. He pays so much attention to the “little things”! It’s rarely easy to live life as family & still manage to make those gestures to keep your marriage on the forefront. But I find very few things in life are more worth it or more rewarding 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

  • I loved this post and it gets me thinking how even little things can help define a marriage and help or hinder one as well. I want to work on these and grow stronger as a couple. After all, we love them and we did marry them right? 🙂

  • This is such a good post Ana! It is so easy to get lost in the daily routine and when working from home!

  • As a newlywed your wisdom is greatly appreciated. In a society struggling with the constructs of marriage, these suggestions are a beautiful reminder of the simplicity and sacredness little acts of love may bring. Life is about priorities and marriage is a commitment–not happenstance and does not grow without TLC. Thank you for sharing your words 🙂

  • Love this- we’re always trying to find special moments to share. My favorite is drinking coffee in bed on the weekends when our little one is taking his morning nap. It also helps to have parents and siblings nearby who will gladly babysit anytime!

  • I loved this post — thanks for sharing. My husband and I have been married 4.5 years and both of us have grown so much… and I think that’s part of what keeps marriage fresh too. It’s been amazing for me to see how he has grown and changed especially through fatherhood.

    Speaking of changes, I’m reading a book right now that has really helped me change, too: “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands,” by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. I’m only about halfway through but I can’t recommend it enough. I’ll share a link here to a summary of the book in case anyone is interested:

  • Thanks for this reminder to keep falling in love with your spouse. I always feel a little closer to my husband when we take a walk around the neighborhood hand-in-hand. It’s during those walks when we are away from the distractions of home that we share our hopes and fears.

  • this is such a sweet and smart post! my husband and I are coming up on our 2 year anniversary and I am promising him (and myself) we’ll always try to find time for dates (even in the future with kids). love all these sweet and easy ways to connect! xo jillian – cornflake dreams

  • Love. Of course. This post is everything. Big hugs doll…TGIF! xo @ Waiting on Martha

  • Number 3 is my favorite. Because it’s always me who does the cleaning and the other side is way too messy (and I’m a borderline neat freak), I would appreciate a man that cleans SO MUCH! 🙂

  • This was great! I’ve been married 7years to my best friend, we always try to make time for dates. It is so very important. I love the idea of planning surprises. Will add to my “To Do ” list. And of course making God the center of your marriage is key!!
    Great post… as always.

  • I love every bit of this. I’ve had a similar post brewing in my head for awhile now & I think this just helped me out on knowing what I want to say 🙂

  • loved this list!!

  • This is sweet. Very nice list!

  • I love what you wrote. It is so true. It’s the little things that count and putting your marriage first will reap huge benefits with God at it’s center. We have been married 41 years, 3 grown daughters, and one new Grandson. My husband and I have been very intentional about remembering to date throughout the marriage and practice little acts of kindness every day. You are blessed!

  • Love this post! We have kept a sacred date night every Friday for the last 10 years. We write a short love note to each other, saying thanks for things siring that week, and share it over a glass of wine. Then we cook a simple meal together and watch shows or listen to music or do whatever together. No phones or email or texting. Just us, being silly, celebrating us. Every Friday. Works wonders for our love affair!

  • Thanks for post! It cheered me up!:) We need to work on getting back some more sparkle!:)

  • I loved this article! I am not married yet But I think those points are valid also when you are living together.
    I am lucky enough to have this kind of person next to me who is caring, loving and supportive. I could not imagine it any other way. We love different things But yet we are always curious.

  • Lovely little reminder post!

  • cleaning is the best one ever. I do it for him and he does it for me. It works out

  • Kathleen

    We put the brakes on when things get to be a bit too much. This means phones off and dinner together at home followed by hanging out on the couch together just talking and being silly together. I love it!
    Thanks for the tips and article :).

  • […] Dating Through Your Marriage from In Honor of Design […]

  • Uecker! Hehehe don’t let Gabe see that you spelled his name wrong 😛

    Loved the post…God-willing I’ll be married someday and can put this into practice. But thank you for sharing.

    P.S. Totally dig the alternate title for the post!

  • Loved your fresh perspective on this topic Anna! I enjoy reading about others’ routine and juggling every day situations more than actual “tips” because tips are so general. But you explained everything perfectly 🙂

  • great read .. happy that it works for some/most … I only the other hand continue to struggle … sigh …

  • Good Tips – I like your saturday morning ritual too cute

  • Rebecca Clarke

    This is a lovely little list of very thoughtful things that may get forgotten, Thanks so much

  • This is a beautifully challenging and thought-provoking post. I love the reminder to put your spouse’s need before your own. You are totally right in that we never know what life will throw at us, but if we choose to LOVE first, all good things will flow from that

  • This hit home. For the longest time, I had put the kids first. I was sabotaging our relationship. It really was a sad situation, but long story short, I have switched that up and have started doing more. More for myself, more for us–and has strengthened that thread by which we were hanging. Thank you for the reminder <3

  • Love this list! The Saturday morning coffee is such a great idea! My husband and I have opposite schedules almost every day, so I think we will start finding time every week to do this!

  • Absolutely loved the article, and couldn’t agree more! I am so happy that I have a similar dating routine to yours! 🙂
    Every little thing helps!

  • Definitely cleaning! Hahahaha, it is funny but until I read that I didn’t realize that it is true, coming home to a clean kitchen sink feels like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. One thing I’d add is LAUGH TOGETHER! After being together for 15 years, married for 6 with three young children, the saving grace during our darkest times is finding a way to laugh…

  • Love this! I think it I so true that your love grows over time, but not necessarily in the way you think it will. By going through the good and bad and tough times, you are building a history together that makes your love so much stronger. I cherish all those times I have spent with my husband having babies, watching loved ones die, going through the ups and downs of every day….and I would not have wanted to spend those times with anyone else!

    One thing we have focused on is always working on our marriage–by talking, taking time out together, planning special things for each other. It takes work…and it gets harder the more children you have. But it is so worth it!

  • Oh gosh, I had no idea your husband was a Brewers baseball fan! I’m a borderline addict (no really) and Bob is one of my idols. I loved this whole post and even though my current boyfriend and I have only been dating for six months or so, I think we should totally integrate these – how can we have already stopped dating when…we’re dating!

  • Love what you wrote! It makes me so sad when others tell you to really appreciate the dating years, and that if you get married it will all end…like dating is the best you will get. When really all you want to hear is how much your love grows for the other throughout life, and that there really is still time to date once you are married! Thank you for this! xo

  • I certainly hope the dating and fun never stop! It doesn’t happen too often, but surprise treats and snacks that we know the other person likes are a favorite with us, and I do love planning surprises for my husband!

  • I love this so much. It is so important to never stop growing and caring for that love.

  • Patrice Wamili Kigelulye

    Dear Mary, while some commentators might consider dating in marriage as an appropriate approach in life, I personally have a different view. Dating is painful! Why? It does not make some responsible for his or her decision. There times when we need to be human, and being human is inseparable with love. True love entails relationship, and relationships is a social aspect in life. Dating means isolation, living in an island, individualism, and individualism isolates people who should live together for the purpose of developing each other. Please think of my comments, and be objective.

  • Thank you so much for this warm, sincere, and inspiring post, and for such simple, but useful tips! I am not married myself yet, but I am in a relationship and often think of how to keep it fresh. I have recently discovered that I have mostly encountered marriages, which I can’t think of as happy, but this is only because of the environment I grew up in. Now I am trying to focus on successful examples, which prove that two people can love and respect each other for a long, long time, as long as they care about one another and invest effort in developing their relationship. It seems that your marriage is such an example, so once again, thank you for reinforcing my confidence in harmonious relationships! 🙂

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