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    First there was dating, and then there was marriage, and then the wonderful kids—and now dating again? Many married couples dismiss dating each other as plain silliness. However, relationship experts emphasize why it is important to go out on dates with your hubby even well into the marriage.

    It’s a date!
    Discovery Weekend counselor and mom Anabelle Quiazon, says, “[Married] couples should keep the fire burning. Romance is important in a loving relationship, especially for women! Dating should be an ongoing process, since we continue to change and grow as the years go by. There are still so many things we can discover about each other as a couple.”

    Earl Beja-Paolo, mom and life coach at Lead Out Coaching & Consultancy, agrees wih Quiazon. “Dating, or spending time together fully with each other, is the best time to create your relationship—what you want and don’t want, and what works best for both of you. You can identify what is important to you as a family— your family values, finances, how to raise your children, how to deal with in-laws, and how to handle any circumstances that come your way—and plan how to grow your marriage and your family in all aspects.”

    Dating guilt
    Easier said than done, many couples with children will protest. Surprisingly, it’s not because they can’t find the time; it’s because they feel guilty when they do go on dates! Trish Dizon-Rosal, an IT program manager raising two boys, confesses, “Work means time and attention away from the kids, so leaving them again to [go out on a date] causes guilt. When this happens, I just remind myself that [my husband and I] need a break, too, and enjoying time together strengthens not only our marriage but also our family.”

    Beja-Paolo says, “To begin with, the guilt should not be there! You are not designed to live with guilt or in fear. Let it go! How? Just say it openly and vocally: ‘I let go of the guilt whenever we go on a date and leave our kids behind!’ Practice and observe what happens. Consider: Happy wife = happy husband. Happy husband = happy wife. Happy marriage = happy children. Happy children = happy family!”
        
    Quiazon assures that your child won’t be upset you’re leaving him—even if he’s crying as you head out the door. “Don’t underestimate your child’s capacity to understand things. He might resort to crying and throwing tantrums, but after you have left, he will eventually stop,” she says.
         
    Rachelle C. Wenger, an interior decorator, writer, and mom of two says, “My kids support our time alone. They know we need that, and seeing their parents happy and in love makes them feel secure. Hopefully, it would also inspire them to be good husbands later on.”

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