When did we stop dating?

I noticed a post in a forum I belong to called "Unaffectionate Spouse" and it piqued my interest.  Now, this forum is filled with mostly men so I'm always a little interested in how a post like this might go.  I was mildly surprised at the response I found - the poster's complained his wife just wasn't very affectionate - this went beyond the typical male complaint of not having sex enough.  One response in particular caught my eye and made me think about our relationships today.  How we become mundane and we can forget why we fell in love to begin with.

Don't Let Go.

So let's think back a bit - you and your significant other met somewhere, went on several dates, decided you couldn't live without each other and decided to pursue something more serious.  Whether that was an exclusive relationship (I sound so high school!) or eventually marriage, whatever, you made a decision that it was the two of you.  At some point however, the romance probably stopped.  If it didn't, well you've read far enough and can go back to being a hopeless romantic and we'll all be jealous.  If you're still nodding your head, bear with me.  Many marriages reach a point where the romance is on life support.  "Dates" are planned - usually around trips to Home Depot and Target.  If you have kids, dates might include diapers & toys.  Sex has become minimal to nonexistent.  And maybe one or both of you realized you're not going to be a supermodel so a few extra pounds won't kill ya.  Guess what?  All that stuff is killing your relationship.  

It doesn't matter whose fault it is (reality - it's both of you), but you need address it.  Guys are just preconditioned to want sex more.  That's a fact.  But it's not the end all be all.  They want a spouse that loves them and shows them that.  And you're going...but I do! I cook and clean and take care of the kids and maybe I even pick up a 6-pack of his favorite beer while I'm wandering around trying to decide what crazy recipe we're trying tonight (which by the way - if one of you is looking to lose a few pounds - check out Skinnytaste for amazing healthy recipes).  Yeah, that kinda isn't enough though.  But I promise you it can be simple to get that spark back.  Remember how awesome it was when you were dating?  It was spontaneous and relaxed.  He might have even bought you flowers and they might have died in 2 days.  You need to get that back.  

Do what you did in the beginning of a relationship
and there won’t be an end.
— Anthony Robbins

Start with this - do something solely for the other person - not all the time, but once in awhile.  Go on crazy dates that you decided on 15 minutes before you left the house.  Don't expect or feel obligated to have sex after these dates.  Buy something a little sexy and different  Remind your spouse why they fell in love with you.  Get them something special or unexpected (like some awesome boudoir photos!).  It doesn't have to be time consuming and it doesn't have to be expensive.  When I took exams in college, I would park in this lot by the fraternity that my then boyfriend belonged to.  Though I didn't have a parking permit for that lot, I could often get away without getting a ticket.  I came back from an exam one night to see a suspicious yellow item on my windshield (our tickets were yellow).  I was SO pissed that I had gotten a parking ticket there, until I got to my car and realized that my boyfriend had stapled 2 yellow note cards together and wrote "HAW-HAW betcha thought you got a ticket, Love ya".  That was in 2002.  I still have that 'ticket' in my office.

Don't ever stop dating your spouse.  Remind them why they fell in love with you.  And if you decide that some sexy pictures might help....make sure to contact me.

What other simple things can you do to bring that spark back?  Let me know in the comments below.