I'm Dating Someone Even Though I'm Married," available through that click-through link. I think it alarmed some individuals because he is a pastor but the message behind the article is fantastic and one that I have personally believed since my first "real" boyfriend years ago.
The concept is not difficult. In short, Jarrid is talking about dating your spouse and to not get caught up in the daily routines, causing your marriage to fail. I think that it makes a tremendous about of sense. So often, whether it's romantically or even with friends, we become complacent. Our relationships become routine and often not very spontaneous - I mean, what more can you learn about somebody you've known intimately for years?
I'd like to expand his ideas and say that I don't think this simply applies to married individuals. It applies to romantic partners as well. For example, my boyfriend and I have been together just over two years now and we are in a serious, committed (long-distance) relationship. It is still as important for us to pursue one another and be spontaneous; so often, young individuals lose interest in their partners and the ideals of marriage that are important and worth pursuing are lost. "I don't know if I want to spend the rest of my life with them, there's so much out there!" While my fellow young adults are not incorrect, I dare to ask the question "What if you don't know because you're not looking for that in your partner?"
I mentioned that my boyfriend and I are long-distance. We're more fortunate than some in that we're only separated by a state and, when I return to Albany, only three hours. It doesn't make it easier though. If we become complacent in our relationship, we're less likely to go out of our way to Skype one another, to visit one another, to go out on dates when we do get to see each other. We can fall into "Oh, well, you're here for a week so let's just lay around and watch TV." That's fine and well, but it doesn't keep a spark alive! We appreciate every opportunity we have together because we know it is limited. This is an ongoing discussion between us; when we have Skype dates, let's get dressed up for one another as if we were actually going out to dinner. When we're together, let's find free weekend entertainment off campus so we don't find time to get annoyed about finances. Instead of looking for spontaneous get-togethers with friends - which are still important! - let's be spontaneous together. Let's keep a scrapbook of all of the great times we're having. Let's ask each other on dates through fortune cookies. Let's be as young and in love as we feel.
Instead of getting bored with your partner and not looking forward to marriage, start pursuing them now. If you always go to dinner and a movie with your boyfriend or girlfriend, try going mini golfing and breakfast in bed (or on couch, if you're sleeping separately to remain abstinent). Try out a new location that they've mentioned before but you just never got around to trying. Make them a mixed CD of songs that remind you of specific locations, and use an old school program like Windows Media Player to edit the information so they can read why it reminds you of them. Do Wonder Trades with them on their new Pokemon X or Y game to show them that you're invested in the small activities they enjoy. Make a collage of their favourite Bible verse for them. Listen to a message through your local online church together and discuss how it made you feel and how it can apply to your life. Take a kickboxing class together and go to a frozen yogurt place and create the others' dish, as a game to see what they like and don't like. Pretend you just met and ask each other questions about the other, rediscovering small facts you may have forgotten. Do all of the sweet things that made the beginning of your relationship so exciting and expand on them.
It's so important to start this idea of dating your partner now before you're married so that it continues then. If you're being filled with love by your partner and God, you'll have no reason to doubt your relationship. If you are doubting, maybe that person isn't right for you. But you should still try and make the effort (note: if it is an abusive relationship, the only effort you need to make is to get help leaving). Dating your partner is not overrated, it's not meant to stop as soon as you agree to be with them or, even more seriously, say "I do" to them in front of your families and friends. Start now so that it becomes an adventure your whole life.