According to the Oxford Dictionary, courtship is “a period during which a couple develops a romantic relationship, especially with a view to marriage.” I immediately wish to point out that the final couple of words do not say “especially with a view to get married.” Rather, it actually states “especially with a view to marriage!” Courtship doesn’t end with a marriage contract. Courtship continues and enhances your covenant of marriage.
I think most of us understand that we need to engage in some kind of courtship in order to find and nourish love. It is scary how many folks seem to think that love is organically eternal. I like to think of love as something you invest in and nurture throughout your lifespan and into the eternities. With this in mind, I invite you to take three minutes to sit still and consider your current courtship rituals. Whether you are in a marriage, looking for love, or building a new love, you will want to have recognizable rituals of courtship or investment strategies for your love to grow and last.
During your quiet three-minute meditation on courtship, I hope you consider your current investment in your love life. If you
realize that you are not doing as well as you would like, please understand that you can always create different, better, or more rituals for your intimate relationship. Couples that celebrate their intimate relationships together are happier, more connected, and manage issues better. Valentine’s days, anniversaries, birthdays, date nights all can take on significant roles in your investments in each other.
Sometimes love rituals can be difficult to establish because ideas may be in short supply. My podcasts https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYcKP_fs_ OZl8Jar1GpBtag, provide two lists of ideas: Twelve Love Rituals Before Christmas and Fourteen Days to Valentine’s Day. These lists are specific tools that you can add to your arsenal of intimacy rituals. This article is one more tool that couples can use to find, build, and grow an intimate relationship that will last, no matter what.
The Importance of Date Night! Couples that continue to date after they are exclusive with each other do much better than couples that exist together.
The marriage covenant is a promise, not a guarantee of joy and intimacy. Dating is a way to consistently invest. I challenge couples to commit to a five hour date each week, no matter what. Think of something you do every week, no matter what. Some of you attend church weekly, and most of you go to work weekly. The time is determined, the cost is budgeted, and a plan is made to accomplish these weekly tasks.
Date night should be no different. When couples come to my office struggling and out of love, one thing they all have in common is that they quit dating soon after marriage. Every single couple I meet in couples therapy eagerly agrees to begin dating and courting. Week after week, I hear reasons the date failed. They ran out of time, didn’t have any ideas of what to do, didn’t have enough money, or had no one to watch the children. I have literally heard every excuse in the book for missing date night. Yet these same people make it to work and still have kids, money issues, and time constraints. They follow through with other commitments, so why do they miss date night? The reality is until it becomes mandatory, date night won’t happen or it will be a horrible experience: a “What do you wanna do? I don’t know. What do you wanna do?” experience.
To make date night mandatory, here are the four rules:
1. Put it on your calendar together and do not move date night no matter what! When you have five hours set aside in advance, it becomes an event rather than something you squeeze in.
2. Preplan your date night. Who is in charge, what are you going to do, who gets a babysitter, what is the budget for the date? Many couples take turns planning the date. Some couples hire a sitter who knows that every week at a certain time, they show up to babysit. Get it all worked out in advance.
3. Have a bucket list of date ideas to which you both contribute. Planning for an idea that is already in place can be much more fun and relaxing.
4. Create a solid sense of purpose for the date night. It is a time to explore hopes and dreams, share changes in your souls, or keep up on the needs lists each of you have. Really, date night is always going to be a way to stay connected and create shared meaning for life together.
I hope this list is helpful to those couples who are struggling to establish a date night ritual. By committing to this experience (not matter what!), your relationship will thrive and become the dream relationship you have craved since the beginning.