Dating Before and After Marriage

July 2, 2010
Discover the importance and pleasure of dating, whether or not you are already married.

Tonight is our date night. Every Friday for more than twenty years, out of fifty, my husband and I have made it a habit to go out to dinner and then on a walk. Sometimes the walk comes first, but it is always our “date” night.

When we first started this, we made it a habit to walk around the city hall and downtown area of every town in Los Angeles County, home to 88 incorporated cities and many unincorporated areas (like the place where we live). We had to miss gated communities that won’t let in just anybody (even though I wrote and asked whether they would make an exception for upstanding citizens like ourselves).

In this fashion we have walked all the way from our house in Altadena, which is up against the San Gabriel Mountains north of Pasadena (the Tournament of Roses city), to the Queen Mary in Long Beach. We have also walked across Los Angeles County from Claremont in the east to Zuma Beach in the west. We would take this in sections, of course, driving to where we ended the last week and continuing on our route.

I think we have probably walked over more of the county of 9,848,011 residents (2009) than most people have. That doesn’t make us better than those who haven’t, of course, but it has given us a perspective that makes us appreciate the rich diversity of the area in which we live. This includes poor and rich neighborhoods alike, and I can tell you that the poor ones were not as scary for our date as Beverly Hills. There we were trying to walk on Sunset, where there are no sidewalks, and even though we stayed far to the edge of the road, the cars were going very fast. Guess they don’t like pedestrians.

These days, since our bodies aren’t as strong as they used to be, we don’t walk as far. We also don’t go so far from home. But the commitment to the routine encourages us to spend time together much like couples do when they are dating.

Incidentally, the picture is of me and my husband in the old part of the city of Quito, Ecuador. Now that is a city with character! You may have seen the video I made of our recent trip there.

If you are married, I heartily encourage you to set aside a night, or day, that you consider your “date” commitment. And it won’t kill you to turn off the Blackberry and cell phone, or you will only be half there with your partner, and get only half the benefit from your time together.

What if you aren’t married and you think a date night sounds interesting but your relationship has ended, you are divorced, and your spouse has died? Where does a date night fit in your plans? Well, first of all, you need to ask yourself some questions to help you “get ready” to date again.

Fortunately, my friend Michelle Vasquez, who specializes in helping people find love after just those kinds of things have happened, is planning a tele-class on July 6 that will cover these questions:

What is on your mind about dating?
Are you ready to start dating again?
Do you wonder about online dating?
Do you think you are ready? (after a breakup? after divorce? after widowhood?)
Do you wonder if the rules have changed since you last dated?

Whatever your burning question is, you can pick Michelle’s brain during this call. Click here to get the sign up information: http://askmichelleanything.com/

I am so glad I don’t need her advice on dating. At this stage of life I’m not sure that I would want to start over again. But marriage has been very good to me and I recommend it to those who are in love.

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