Everything I Need to Know About Marriage I Learned From Dating After Divorce

My first prom date, I didn’t really learn much from him. Except maybe I should have worn flats.

This is in no way intended to be marriage therapy or a commentary on what went wrong in my marriage. I’ve compiled my bubble gum, most fun experiences from dating that I’ve loved, and some I don’t. I pray the good aspects continue when I get married (someday to someone). I must also give credit where credit is due. The original idea came from a blog, “16 Ways I Blew My Marriage”. Thank you for your inspiration singledadlaughing.com

FEATURES I PRAY WILL CONTINUE LONG INTO MARRIAGE

Holding hands: I know this will sound super girlie, but one thing I’ve loved about dating again is holding hands. I enjoy the comfort and the closeness of his hand in mine.  Men, it’s a protection, knight in shining armor, you just might get lucky tonight kinda deal.  Just grab your ladies hand a give her a smile.

Kissing: Kissing, just for the sake of kissing is downright sexy! It’s a thrill of dating, it’s anticipation and intimate. I’ve been married before, so I’m not naive to the decline in “thrill and anticipation” over time. I have, however, had the experience of not being kissed by my husband for long periods of time and I missed it terribly and welcomed it excitedly.

Adventure: Dating is all about adventure.  Trying  a Moroccan a restaurant, hiking a mountain you were told was too dangerous for a beginner, swimming in a lake for the first time, running a half marathon to impress a man. New adventure isn’t just for dating. My friend has been married for over 20 years. She just went on a date with her husband for the first time since her children were born, 12 years ago. They has such a nice time, she was reminded that dating shouldn’t stop at marriage, and neither should the adventure!

WHAT I HAVE LEARNED I WILL DO DIFFERENTLY

Taking good care of myself: I have never felt more alive than after a good workout. When I eat right I have lots of extra energy. I believed that doing these things took too much time away from my family and I just didn’t feel like it. I also believed, what’s the point, he’s going to love me no matter what. Now I understand that taking care of myself isn’t as much about looking good for my husband (it’s an awesome side benefit), but, more than anything,  I’m giving my family the best of me.

Don’t lose sight of my own ambitions: Being on my own has forced me to explore pushed down dreams, goals and talents. I was dating a man who enjoyed fitness, just like me. I appreciated that we enjoyed a common activity. However, my ambition to compete in triathons soon became his ambition. I knew it wasn’t a genuine interest for him, he hated running. Getting lost in another person’s ambitions to try to please him or because I think it will bring us closer actually gives us very little of substance to talk about at the end of the day. He had nothing unique to bring to the relationship and we fizzled out quickly. The added bonus is finishing my own Ironman and having my man greet me at the finish line with a big bunch of flowers, a sweaty hug and kiss!!

Common Interests and Activities: I recently started up a conversation with a man on EHarmony who loves to play golf. Great for him! He’d really love his woman to play golf with him or at least ride along. I had to think for awhile on this and it came down to a lifestyle choice for me. Frankly, I don’t want to spend my Saturday’s playing golf, it frustrates me and there’s very little physical activity involved. I’d much rather spend the day on my road bike. There are things I prefer to do alone like running (too much talking, not enough breathing). But I love to hike, bike, swim, eat, and try new things together. I’m capable of doing them on my own, but I don’t want to!

Bashing the Hubby : Thank you Kathylipp.com in “A Letter To My Girlfriends” for the important reminder that I chose this man. For better or worse, he is the man I stood hand in hand with and said “I Do”. If all goes according to plan, he will be around for a long, long time. From the perspective of a single woman, I would love nothing more than to have a man who’s willing to marry me than I can think proudly of. If God brings me that man, I will much more careful with my words when I’m with my girlfriends.

Gratitude: Ladies, hear this, you have been gifted with a husband. I know he’s not perfect, I know his feet smell and I KNOW he gets on your last nerve sometimes. But, he is also in your home day after day wanting the best for you, providing for you, watching over you and loving you. It’s so easy to take him for granted. As a single woman, I often get lonely for the tender touch to the small of my back. Expressing gratitude daily for my husband will help me remember the gift of him and those little things may not seem so big any more.

Prayer:  I have discovered something sexier than pecs and abs, hearing prayer in a man’s voice, especially prayer that covers me in protection.  I had never been prayed over by a man before and when a date first opened his mouth and said the words “heavenly father” I thought I was going to melt. I will let my husband lead prayer in the morning before we leave for the day and at dinner and then again right before we fall to sleep. I believe God created man to be the leader for a reason, maybe so his wife can swoon over his sexy deep voice saying “Almighty Father, please protect my family as we go into the world.”

My married friends continually remind me dating and marriages aren’t the same thing. That’s a shame. I’ve come to believe dating is essential to marriage.  Now you know everything I know about marriage.

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