Read an Excerpt
A Personal Note from Claudia and Dave
Flying over the glaciers and ice fields of the Alaskan Kenai Peninsula in a small six-seater twin-engine Cessna pushed our limits of exciting dates. Certainly this was one date neither of us ever considered! Some call it 'flight-seeing'; Claudia renamed it 'fright-seeing.'
While dating is a habit we've had for years, we never know where we will end up on a date. Our 'flight-seeing' date started when our friend Eileen asked us, 'How would you like to experience a great date in Alaska?' Being an adventurous couple, we responded, 'Wow! How do we sign up?'
The next thing we knew, we were on a plane headed to Anchorage, Alaska. Of course there was a catch---while in Alaska, we agreed to lead several marriage and family seminars. That's where we met another dating couple, Clint and Sally, who told us their story:
'After a lackluster first ten years of marriage we both agreed we needed to jazz up our marriage, but we weren't sure how to go about it,' Clint told us.
'I looked for resources and discovered a book of ten dates,' Sally said. 'Clint wasn't so sure dating would help us---he was the original 'dragee,' but after some friendly persuasion, he agreed to try.'
Clint continued the story. 'I was hesitant. Previously, we tried working through other 'marriage manuals' with little success. I'm a teacher, and the last thing I wanted was more assignments and work. But I have to admit, these dates were different---they were fun, and we picked up marital skills that pushed our relationship a couple of notches higher.'
'Having regular dates,' Sally said with a big smile, 'has kept our relationship vital and alive for more than a decade! We gladly recommend dating to every couple! As a matter of fact, we gave at least ten copies of that original dating book to friends.'
COME FLY WITH ME!
Are you looking for a little pizzazz? Do you want your marriage to fly high? You don't have to go all the way to Alaska to add excitement, but you do need to find some time. When was the last time you talked to your spouse for thirty uninterrupted minutes? Would you like to have more fun with your spouse? Is dating something you only did before you were married?
We believe that having a healthy, growing marriage relationship requires friendship, fun, and romance. And there's no better way to encourage all of these things than having dates! Great dates are more than going to see a movie and tuning out the world for a while. Great dates involve communicating with one another, reviving the spark that initially ignited your fire, and developing mutual interests and goals that are not focused on your careers or your children. Great dates can revitalize your relationship. We've got the proof!
TEN DATES FOR MATES
For over three decades we have worked hard on our own marriage. Through our own successes and failures and through research and study, we discovered principles that helped us build a strong marriage partnership. Amazingly, we found that one key indicator of an enriched marriage is having a strong 'couple' friendship. And what better way to build a great couple friendship than to date your mate?
So, to help couples begin dating and make their relationship a priority, we put together our Marriage Alive seminar and wrote Ten Dates for Mates (this was the book Clint and Sally found), and later we wrote The Marriage Track. For over twenty years we have shared these principles through our books and seminars, and have helped many couples build strong, solid marriage partnerships through dating their mate, couples like Ruth and David and Alicia and Jeff.
'We had been married for nine years,' Ruth told us, 'when we found your book and started dating. Through our initial ten dates, we learned how to make life smoother and resolve conflicts more easily. Dating jump-started our marriage. Years later, we're still dating, and our dates continue to give us the opportunity to step out of our hectic life and work on improving our marriage. Plus, dating is fun! We've even done some crazy things on our dates like walking in the rain and getting totally soaked, or dancing in the aisle of a supermarket to the music over the speaker system, performing for all the curious and fascinated senior citizens!'
'Dating revolutionized our marriage,' Jeff said. 'Years ago when I was in medical school, our marriage was foundering. Twenty-hour workdays didn't help. Alicia and I were becoming strangers and were well aware of the divorce statistics in the medical community. We knew we needed to do something to reignite our relationship. About that time we found your book Ten Dates for Mates. The book revitalized our marriage when it was at a low point. Having ten consecutive dates started a habit. Years later we are still dating! We even started our own dating club with our friends and have given away many of your books. Our personal copies have long since been tattered. How can we get more?'
We were happy to tell Jeff that though the original Ten Dates for Mates is history---except for battered copies---we were putting together ten new, improved dates to revitalize marriage relationships.
From our work in marriage enrichment and our interaction with couples over the years, we have crafted ten great dates based on ten skills that will infuse your marriage with new vitality. Each date will focus on a skill needed to have an alive, growing marriage.
The first three dates focus on how to develop your own marriage coping system. Being committed to grow and change together over the years mandates having a workable communication system and having the skills to process anger and resolve conflict in a positive way. Other dates will help you encourage each other, develop a solid partnership based on your individual strengths, and build a creative love life. You'll be challenged to work together and share responsibilities, to enrich your marriage while parenting your children, and to develop spiritual intimacy. Then you'll learn how to have an intentional marriage. As you experience your ten great dates, you can revitalize your relationship---and have fun in the process!