Doing Family Right

Maximizing your most
important relationships.

Marriage: The Secrets of “Happy Camper” Dating

Here is an amazing secret of dating for life. It’s easy to take our mate for granted as we get busier with work, kids and life. We quit dating and little effort is spent on staying connected, romanced and intimate. We can go months without getting out and alone! We have less fun as friends like when we dated before we married. It’s about to change.

To beat boredom and rekindle romance, Donalyn and I started “Happy Camper Dating” after 30 years of marriage. I got the idea from Dr. Doug Weiss and have embellished it significantly. It’s not too late for you to rekindle some fun back into your friendship. Many couples are loving it. We pass on the “Happy Camper” guidelines to you.

Dating needs to be a priority:

Dating is an extremely important part of a successfully intimate marriage. You must date if you plan to have a life-long, loving and fun relationship.

Prevent distance and boredom by dating:

Without intention, lives naturally drift. As life gets so busy, without making an effort to stay connected and spending time to rejuvenate, you will naturally grow apart and become disinterested with each other.

Good intentions don’t make a difference:

Don’t kid yourself! If there’s no time booked in the schedule, you have no relationship. The greater the gaps in dating, the greater the distance between your hearts.

Staying close is a gift to your kids:

One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is the stability of your deep and caring friendship. Their self-worth is forged in the constancy of your committed and genuine love for each other.

Invest in each other—Time and Money:

Pay the price to date or you will pay a greater amount in personal dissatisfaction, distance and therapist bills. You must invest in your relationship to make it and keep it a priority.

Dating can’t be a gripe session:

When you are dating, restrain yourself from any sensitive issues. Save your dates for having fun together, not for working through problems. Schedule other times for conflict resolution.

Agree on what a date is and is not:

What is a date? It is spending 3-5 hours alone, regularly scheduled, for the purpose of having fun and building relationship. Occasionally, dating can include another couple (1 in 4 only) but for sure, no kids.

Play by these foundational dating rules:

  • NO problem discussions
  • NO kid discussions
  • NO household chores
  • NO cell phones calls
  • NO shopping
  • NO errands
  • NO work discussions
  • NO money discussions

Figure out your dating game plan:

The choice of dating is critical. Once you have made it a priority, the “how to do it” will always follow. Let me help with that!

  • Agree on how often you will date. Whether weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, you must to be consistent. Put the dates in your schedule.
  •  Alternate planning the date. You are 100% responsible 50% of the time! Rotate being the Date Designer.
  • When it’s your date to plan, do something YOU enjoy doing! You choose the event, the times, the night, the activities and the refreshments without being influenced by your mate. You MUST be pumped about doing it! On their turn, they will do something THEY like!
  • Be creative and make an effort in planning as a sign of love but focus on having fun together not on cost or complexity. Simplicity has its place too.
  • Remember, you are not trying to make your mate happy. No one can make another person happy. They must choose to be!

Live out the Happy Camper Principle:

Regardless of the activity, the role of the spouse is to “go along for the ride” in a positive manner. Learn to love just being with your spouse and make the best of everything; no attitudes, rolling of eyes, or negative comments. Whatever they choose to do, your role is being a HAPPY CAMPER!

NOTE: Cancelling a date is not one person’s right. Rescheduling or dropping a date night is with full agreement. Work to keep your date night sacred.

Start your “Happy Camper” Dating this week and remember, you’ll never regret putting your marriage and family first!

Also see our podcast on Happy Camper Dating HERE

© Dr. Dave Currie – June 2006

Feature image used with permission: © Raev/Image ID: #11124350