Yesterday marked the 14 year anniversary of my first date with Carol. The photographic evidence is above. You can see why it didn't take me long to fall madly in love with her. She's such a beauty. On that night 14 years ago, it was Olive Garden and a symphony. Last night, though, it was a cup of tea and a game of Battleship on the couch. After 12 years of marriage, things have changed just a bit. But, what remains the same is I still love dating my wife. In fact, we both feel that, at this stage of our lives, dating is probably more important to us than it was 14 years ago. Here's why:
A man by the name of Doug Fields wrote, "There is only one thing that the Bible tells me to be 'one' with ... my wife." If "oneness" is the goal, think about all the things that seek to get in the way of that:
- Long hours at work
- School Activities
- Church Activities
- Social Media
- Other Friendships
- The list could go on
Now, not everything on that list is bad. There are a lot of wonderful things on that list. But, the "yes's" can add up quickly and before I know it, I can find myself running after other things ... good things even, but all at the expense of oneness with my beautiful bride. You see, the moment I said "yes" to Carol, I was in essence saying "no" to every other person on the planet. I was committing myself to her ... to "oneness" with her ... saying from this day on I am abandoning everything I have ever known and making life more about "we" than "me."
Dating helps us to do that. Dating allows us to connect. It allows us to listen and to be heard. It allows us to get away from our normal routine and just be with each other. There's no pressure, no expectations, no demands. We simply get to be. Dating helps my wife to feel pursued by me, cherished by me, nurtured by me, and enjoyed by me.
I think the point of continuing to date my wife isn't necessarily what we do, but rather why we do it. The reality is, we simply cannot do some of the things we were able to do a few years ago. With 4 kids in the mix now, the budget has changed quite a bit. What used to be a weekend get-a-way at a bed and breakfast is now splitting a drink at Starbucks or playing Battleship on the couch. Regardless of what it is, anything that we do to pursue oneness is going to strengthen our marriage. As marriages thrive, families thrive, children thrive, communities thrive, churches thrive.
Outside of my relationship with Jesus, there is nothing that is more important than my relationship with my wife. And, without Jesus, I have absolutely no chance of withstanding the constant assaults that seek to hinder "oneness" in our relationship. It's a strange thing, but the more I look toward Jesus, the more I find myself desiring to date my wife. The more I look toward Him, the more free I am to look away from myself and toward oneness with Carol.