What does it mean to go on a date?
“Dating” means you’re going on dates. You are actively getting out there and meeting people and spending time with them. “Dating someone” means you’re seeing somebody specific, with purpose and on a regular basis. … You’re spending time with a person (or persons) in hopes of finding a committed relationship.” – Source Zoosk
So yeah, when you seemed perplexed as to why a married couple would carry on the ritual of dating based your belief that only the latter part of this definition was applicable, I must respond.
Actively getting out with your spouse is a concerted effort in keeping the relationship fresh and alive. It is an effort to appreciate the company of your partner in a mutually enjoyable activity/outing.
One could argue “Why bother? You are already committed to one another for life and you live together. You are with each other all the time.”
I can counter argue, “Do you ever take someone for granted because you are around them all the time? Do they become furniture to you or just a fixture/constant that you forget what fun you have with them when doing things together?”
A lot of marriages fail due to the couple not taking time out to refresh or revisit the reasons why they committed in the first place. The relationship gets lost in the daily challenges of life, family, and job commitments. One partner may feel invisible to the other or unappreciated and then a distance forms between them.
To close that gap, we have to consciously choose to identify that a gap is forming and want to reconnect. What better way to reconnect than to resume dating? Focus on each other in the moment over some romantic lighting, good food, maybe a great show or a walk in the park after a coffee date?
Yes, initially dating is the act of meeting new people and exploring whether or not they are someone with whom you would like to enter into a committed relationship. That is where the latter part of the above cited definition holds true. However, one should not become complacent once that commitment is established.
From my own experience, becoming complacent does cause a distancing, resentment, uncertainty, and ultimately an ambivalence within the relationship. If someone could have tapped me on the shoulder to tell me how important it is to really enjoy the company of my partner and celebrate it every day, when life got in the way; I believe we would have had a jollier time.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing more satisfying than a quiet evening in the presence of your partner just quietly being with them where no words, affirmations or physicality are really required to feel total and utter contentment. Those moments are important as well.
I just want to express the importance of the fact that relationships require attention – just as a garden would require tending to be fruitful.