I was recently asked this question by someone going through a rough patch in his relationship. Actually, his full question was, “Why would anyone want to get married? Love wears off shortly after marriage and why would I give my heart to someone only to have it broken?” He was questioning committed relationships generally, rather than marriage itself. That the loving feeling fades away over time, and we’re just left with the responsibility of the relationship, like a chore.
My first instinct was to agree with him for the sake of helping him feel better – misery loves company, right? “Yeah! Marriage, who needs it! Am I right??”
But, being happily married myself, I thought a better answer would be to simply tell my truth. Hoping that maybe there’s something in my experience that could help him along his journey.
He was right in one sense. Divorce rates are high – the typical stat thrown around is 50%, and 15% of couples separate but don’t officially file for divorce, and another 7% of people are “chronically unhappy” in their relationships.
That’s nearly 3 out of 4 couples experiencing unhappiness after marriage. Those are not inspiring numbers…
We all know that falling in love is the best. That intoxicating feeling of attraction and flirtation, and falling in love with them – and having that love returned. But maintaining that initial spark, no matter how long you’ve been together is difficult for anyone. And most of us still haven’t figured out how to do it. We get bogged down in routine once we’ve established our relationship. Life goes on…Wake up, go to work, come home, make dinner, watch TV, go to bed…repeat.
I asked my friend if he could tell me the last time he went on a date with his partner.
Do you know what he told me? Nine months. The last time they went out on a date was nine months ago for a romantic dinner and drinks for Valentine’s Day.
Rather than dig into why it had been so long since they went on a date, I asked him what he remembered about that date. “It was incredible,” he told me. “I did all the planning leading up to it and found a new restaurant, which we both loved. We got to relax, laughed a lot, and I learned that my wife hates brussels sprouts!”
Now, is it Earth-shattering news to learn that your wife hates brussels sprouts? Not really. But it’s the constant reinforcement of your connection – that continuous learning about your partner – that keeps the spark alive in any relationship.
Marriage experts tell us the best way to remain happy with your partner is to continue dating them long after the initial honeymoon phase has ended. Get out of your everyday routine and spend quality time together. It sounds easy, but it’s legitimately tough to plan just one unique date, let alone weekly date night, when life is pulling you in a thousand different directions. It’s just easier to watch Netflix at home, or have drinks at the same bar a couple times a month as our de facto date nights. But that doesn’t really solve our problem.
I kept the conversation going and as it turned out, my friend’s wife had been planning all of their dates prior to this nine month drought. He admitted to me that he hadn’t been pulling his weight, and my guess is that his wife finally got tired of carrying it for the both of them. Planning dates is hard enough with two people working at it, so no one can blame her for speaking up. My friend told me he wants more dates with his wife, but he’s just so busy during the week, he doesn’t have time to think of planning anything. He told me that he did try a couple times over the last few months (I gave him credit for trying), but it ended in frustration after an hour of searching through ideas, wondering if she’d like any of them, and trying to coordinate calendars.
Like any pattern, it’s extremely difficult to break, but it can be done. I had so much fun learning about my wife when we first started dating. Every time we went out I learned something new and fell a little more in love with her. I honestly believe that continuing to date your partner is the key to long lasting love. Even dates as simple as walks in the park help to break the monotony. This is what helped lead my wife and I to create
After struggling to juggle date night along with the myriad of tasks and responsibilities we had each week, we decided to make a conscious effort to keep date night a part of our lives. Spark is the first app that plans the perfect date for you in minutes, and all date ideas are tailored for your unique relationship, because we know each couple is different.
I disagree with the final part of my friend’s initial comment. Love doesn’t wear off. We just let it get pushed to the back too often. It gets buried and we tend to forget it’s there. If we can help just one couple get back into dating each other again, we’ve done our job. My wife and I are making it easier for couples to do just that. Spark makes date planning easier, faster and more personalised than ever. We get it, everybody’s busy. But your relationship shouldn’t have to suffer.