romance and dating in marriage

Try No Compromise Dating for a More Fun Marriage

Is the hardest part about dating your spouse being able to agree on what to do or where to go on your date? There is a way to make it easier and more enjoyable.

dating your spouse
Regular, enjoyable dating is one of the most important things you can do to maintain your marriage

Do you find yourself compromising on dates with your spouse, or worse yet, not even going dates because of your different interests? The most common compromise activity is eating because everyone has to eat. Even then, couples will compromise on restaurants so that their dating becomes very narrowed.

It is easy for spouses to fall into a dating rut because their compromise activity becomes their only dating activity. Couples who don’t date weekly or who don’t enjoy their dates often become more emotionally distant.

Once a couple is emotionally distant, things may go along seemingly without problems until something else happens. Emotional connection with a spouse is a buffer against all of the other problems in our lives. But when we don’t do that, stress from our job or kids has more impact, temptations become more tempting, and we can become internally focused–living in our heads instead of enjoying our spouse.

Let me help you to avoid compromise dating and the dating rut. This is just one of several things you can do to keep connection in your relationship, but it can’t be neglected.

Try to avoid compromising on what to do on your dates

Common relationship advice is often lousy advice. Unfortunately once you hear the same advice enough times, you will come to believe it. By the time you have learned that common advice is false, you may be in your second or third marriage.

One piece of lousy advice is that the way to resolve problems is to compromise. In actuality, compromise is one of the worst ways to resolve problems and often leads to more problems, much like arguing does.

Compromise is the process of coming to agreement by each person giving up something they want. The bigger the differences in what they want, the more they have to give up.

While we occasionally do need to compromise, when no other solution exists, large compromises, like getting a dog instead of having a child, create resentment. Resentment can also be created by many little compromises. You can hear resentment in your spouse if you hear things like, “Why do I always have to …?” or “You always get to be the one….”

Regardless of whether what your spouse is saying is true or not, their feeling of resentment is real and has real consequences. If you find yourself thinking this way or saying these things, then you are resentful. In either case steps have to be taken to end the resentment before resentment ends your marriage.

Arguing is another bad way to decide what to do on dates

The more different people are, the more susceptible they will be to argue. Arguing only happens when we try to discuss differences which are important to us. The emotional investment leads to us passionately pleading our case, which leads the other person to defend, attack, or shut down.

While differences do attract, only people who are similar can keep a relationship going.

People who are naturally similar to begin with are going to have a pretty easy time having a variety of dates that they both enjoy. Those who are not, will either argue, compromise, or give up on dating unless they find some other method for improving their dating.

Let’s take a look at how arguing can get started with an example of a husband and wife with different ideas about what to do on their date:

Husband:  “How about going out with Ben and Cindy this weekend?  We could get some drinks and have a few laughs.”

Wife:  “Ben and Cindy?  Those morons?  Their idea of a good time is telling dirty jokes and farting.  Let’s go out with my friends for a change. “

Husband:  “Like who?”

Wife:  “Like Rachel and Michael.  They’re really nice and we haven’t seen them for a long time.”

Husband:  “There’s a reason for that.  Michael doesn’t know anything about sports and I’m not interested in tax law.  So, we just end up listening to you and Rachel talk all night.  That’s too boring.”

Wife:  “You could talk about something other than sports.  There is more happening in the world than sports, you know.”

Husband:  “Like what?  What people are wearing?  Or who was the latest guest on Oprah?  No thanks.”

Let’s examine not just the content, but structure of what they are saying. They are each providing reasons why their own ideas are good and the other person’s ideas are bad. This is the essence of arguing. It becomes personal and they get defensive. 

The emotional impact of arguing is not, “your idea is bad,” but rather, “you are bad.” This is why arguing also feels like criticism and stops people from feeling love for each other. 

You can never argue your way to a closer relationship.

Demanding or giving in also don’t work well for deciding what to do on dates

I’m sure you know better than to insist on your own way.  But, do you know that it is also harmful to give in?  The reason that giving in is harmful is that it does not lead to a better way of making decisions. Giving in is a one way compromise.  The more you give in, the more resentful you will become.

The solution is not the opposite behavior

People who are tired of compromise often become aggressive and demanding. That does even more damage than compromising. People who are too critical and demanding often become too passive and submissive to try to improve their relationship. That doesn’t work either. And, the solution to having not spent enough time with your spouse is not to now spend more time with them than they want.

One of the major obstacles to change is thinking what the opposite behavior would do. Thinking such as, if I stop being submissive and start being aggressive, our marriage will end. Or, if I start give in on everything, then I will have to sacrifice more and more.

If you are blocked by your extreme thinking, don’t think about doing the opposite. Just think about doing more or less–not the opposite. So, instead of submitting all of the time, change to submitting some of the time. Instead of going from controlling to passive, go from controlling to giving choices.

Here is a two step process for taking the conflict and compromise out of dating your spouse

Your first step is to decide how you will make dating decisions.

Your second step is to stop focusing on what to do on your date.

To make an analogy with spending, first decide how you will spend money (creating a budget) before deciding on specific purchases with your money. That will take a lot of stress out of spending and make spending decisions easier.

Let’s consider the previous example and see how the husband can take deciding on a date from a one step argument to a two step cooperative process:

Husband:  “How about going out with Ben and Cindy this weekend?  We could get some drinks and have a few laughs.”

Wife:  “Ben and Cindy?  Those morons?  Their idea of a good time is telling dirty jokes and farting.  Let’s go out with my friends for a change. “

Husband:  “Maybe you are right and it really wouldn’t be good to go out with Ben and Cindy this weekend.”

Wife:  “Well, I have an idea.  How about going out with Rachel and Michael?”

Husband:  “That might be a much better idea than mine.  Let’s sit down and consider all the possibilities before we decide.”

Wife:  “Huh?”

Husband:  “Yes, come here (patting the couch beside him).  I will show you how we can decide in a good way without arguing.”

Wife:  “Ok, but I’m not going out with Ben and Cindy.”

Husband:  “Understood, loud and clear.  I won’t fight you on it.”

Wife:  “Ok.”

What has the husband done here?  Several things actually:

  • He made a suggestion, but he didn’t insist on it. 
  • He listened to his wife’s suggestion, but he didn’t agree or disagree with it. 
  • He told his wife that she might be right and that her idea might be much better. 
  • He moved the conversation from both of them being on opposite sides to both of them getting ready to work together. 
  • He got her to come physically close to him in a positive way. 

He has completed one step–identifying a common concern (what to do on their date) and is preparing to move onto another step (working together).

The second step, working together

Instead of talking about which couple would be better to go out with, they can talk about some ways to make dating more fun or easier for both of them.  They can set the issue of what to do aside for the moment while they talk about how to do.  There’s only one thing they need to agree on from the beginning–not to fight about it.  Most likely they will be able to agree to that, because neither of them really wants to fight.

Work on the HOW before you work on the WHAT

There are many ways to work on how to make dating decisions. 

  • One way is to go on the same types of dates you used to go on early in your relationship. People usually identify early dating as their best dating.
  • Or, you could brainstorm some new ideas like taking turns, tossing a coin, or mixing up your dates in some other way. 
  • You could get a list of dating ideas from the internet, eliminate ones neither of you would want to do and then choose one randomly.
  • You could decide to do some of what each of you want on the same date.
  • You could decide to take turns deciding what to do each week, regardless of what the other person wants to do

That last idea is a great way to increase variety in your dating. There is no compromise because each person will get what they want, even though they might need to wait a week. Small delays do not create resentment the way compromise does. The most important thing to bring on a date is a good attitude. It is much easier to do that if you know you will have your turn and you will want your spouse to have a good attitude.

Also, be willing to let your spouse choose first. It’s a small price to pay for the improvement to come.

If you think none of these ideas would work to improve your dating, it is likely that your dating problem is a symptom of a larger relationship problem that needs to be dealt with first.

The more you and your spouse love each other, the better anything will be

I would rather stay home and weed the garden by myself than go on a luxury cruise with a woman I did not like. Solomon said something similar in Proverbs 21:9. And, you know, women feel the same way. If your spouse is more concerned about what to do than in just being with you, it could be an indication that your spouse doesn’t enjoy being with you.

Make sure you DO NOT blame your spouse for that. How much someone enjoys being with us is a direct result of how we behave. If you don’t know how to help your spouse to enjoy being with you, you need to learn how to change the way you behave toward your spouse.

It will mean improving either:

  • How attractive you look and behave, or
  • How much you make your spouse feel validated and similar, or
  • How well you used boundarie to create respect.

Some people will need to do all three of things things until they get to the point where they and their spouse enjoy their relationship again. You are not going to have good dates in a bad relationship.

Questions and Answers

Q:  What if my spouse and I can’t agree on how to decide on dates?

A: Then just start with one method, and use another if that doesn’t work. Then, another if that doesn’t work. If none of them work or your spouse is not willing to try, you have a relationship issue, not a dating issue. Give up on the dating until you work to improve your relationship without your spouse.

Q:  Don’t you think there are things worth arguing about?

A:  There are things that we need to say “no” to.  When they present a danger to ourselves, our family, or our relationship, we have no other choice.  But, saying “no” isn’t arguing.  The Bible says to let your “no” mean “no,” and your “yes” mean “yes” (Matthew 5:37).  What will arguing add to that?

Personally, whenever my wife has something she wants to do or try, I find some way to say “yes.”  I know that it feels great to have a partner who says “yes” to your ideas, so I want to be that kind of man for her.  Will I have to do things sometimes that I’m not thrilled about?  Sure.  But, that’s okay.

Q:  What do I do if my spouse always refuses to date?

A: Make sure you are following the relationship progression. When we are single we don’t just walk up to a stranger and ask for a date. We follow a progression of helping the other person to feel relaxed with us, to feel similar to us, to enjoy talking with us, before going out on a date. All of that could happen in a span of just 10 minutes or it could take a few months, depending on the circumstances. The progression never changes, however. Moving too fast for the other person or trying to skip a step is what is most likely to result in rejection.

To have success in anything, you need to follow the right steps in the right order.

If you would like to work more on dating skills, connecting, or being attractive, or if you need help improving your relationship, I invite you to check out the coaching packages on my website.

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