In honor of our 23rd wedding anniversary, I'm republishing a post I wrote six years ago. I still get goosebumps when I reread it. I hope my experience inspires you to rekindle your relationship, whether newlywed or in a long-term committed relationship. If you do, I'd love to hear your story. Please feel free to comment below.
Four years ago, my husband and I starting dating...each other. Let me explain. When we met, I lived in Detroit, and he lived in Phoenix. To me, dating a man long-distance was like dating a married man: unavailable, unobtainable, heartache and loss. He solved that problem by moving from sunny, dry Phoenix to grey, depressed Detroit on a day so cold the inside windows were frosted over.
We met in July, corresponded through August, talked on the phone twice a day in September. We fell in love over the telephone. Often the transmission of sound was only our breathing. I couldn't bear to be the first to disconnect. He visited in October. We were like two giggling playmates who hadn't seen each other in a long while, but were able to pick up right where they'd left off. Best of friends on sight.
Happy. We knew we'd marry. He left everything behind to start a new life together and moved to my hometown. The following June we took our vows.
Fast forward to 2003. We realized that we had never really dated each other. Our dates were marathon phone sessions that I equated to at least three physical dates. By the time we got together, it felt like we'd been on dozens of dates, I reasoned. But we never really experienced the dating dance: the anticipation, anxiety, and discovery that creates a common experience from which to draw upon later.
So, we decided to date...each other.
Our first date was dinner out. We pretended that we lived in separate apartments, so my husband left by the back door, and thirty minutes later rang the front doorbell. He brought a gift of wine. I invited him in; we sat on the couch; and my nerves shot through the roof. I was married to this man, but I was dating again!
I felt that pleasure-pain sensation that was almost unbearable. Memories of adolescence flooded my nervous system. We finish our wine quickly and leave for the restaurant. Good. Back on safer ground. We laugh. We talk. We ask each other questions we already knew the answers too. Interestingly, in doing this we discovered things about each other we hadn't known.
Date over, now came the hard part. Do I ask him in? I mean, it's only our first date and every single girl tries to follow this rule: No one-night stands. (Before I met my husband, I had a Third Date Rule: Any man who made it past the third date was a keeper.)
On our second "date," I invited him to dinner. He left the house and was planning to arrive at 6:30 pm. I was running late, so I called him on his mobile to ask him to come by at 7:00. He thought that was hysterical, like we were really dating. In my mind, we were dating and it was taking its toll on me.
I was anxious about dinner, even though I'm an excellent cook. I was nervous about whether he would kiss me. I'm thinking, "This dating sucks!" I don't remember what I cooked. We enjoyed wine and chocolate. Then he kissed me. It really was like the first time.
Imagine that you'd never met your spouse and discover the activities you'd explore today. It's scary; it's fun; it's unnerving, but it's worth it for what you learn about yourself and your significant other. I have to confess: I broke my Third Date Rule. This man was a keeper. So I agreed to a sleepover;-)