Some times, I regret that my kids won’t ever get a chance to see what Raelene and I went through in the early days. Granted, it wasn’t the great depression; it certainly wasn’t the Second World War. But early on, it was tough going.
We started married life while I was still in school. Anyone who has done post-graduate work while trying to find your way through the honeymoon phase knows what I mean. I was studying hard, spending long days at school and in the clinic. I studied Orthodontics at Loyola University in Chicago, and because of that, we were far away from family and friends. We found ourselves in the big city, poor and alone, trying to find our way together.
Though we didn’t have any money, we looked for fun things to do together. We discovered that you could get a lot of food without spending too much money in a Chinese restaurant. We went camping with borrowed equipment. (I’ll never forget the night we spent in a very wet tent). We went for long walks on the lake. We spent evenings with friends, singing and playing guitar. We went to free museums, or free community events (like church concerts or music programs, Christmas Tree lightings, Summer concerts in the park). We took advantage of national parks. We hiked.
Though today’s newlyweds have a whole new selection of events and activities to choose from, many of them struggle with the same financial issues. How can a couple invest in their relationship without breaking the bank? I wouldn’t pretend to be an expert on what young couples should do. But from my perspective, I would encourage all married couples to work on finding ways to spend time together. Dating shouldn’t end at the altar. It doesn’t have to cost much. You don’t even need to hire a sitter. You can date your wife after the kids go to bed! Try a date in the family room!
You just need to make it happen.
No matter where you are in your journey, your marriage needs that. All relationships do.
So. What things have you done to spend quality time with your spouse? Share your best “married date” with us. If you struggle to get it done, what keeps you from doing it?
Dr. Greg Sutherland, DDS, MS
(with Bette Nordberg)