Photo credit jeffreyhulse.com
As Brian and I celebrated 20 years of marriage last month (YAY US!!), we were asked by another couple what one thing helps us keep our marriage strong. 10 years ago we might have struggled to come up with an specific answer, but over the last 5-6 years we figured out what really seems to make a difference for our marriage.
Continuously dating your spouse. When we got married Brian used to joke, I got you, now I can stop wooing. And we’d laugh. But we’ve discovered that in marriage, the wooing must never stop. We must remain in the mindset of dating or wooing to keep our marriage strong.
If you’re like a few people I know who shall remain nameless, you’re going – Lisa, what in the world is “wooing?” So, here’s the definition according to dictionary.com.
Woo – (verb)
to seek the favor, affection, or love of, especially with a view to marriage.
Don’t you love it? We’ve used that word for 25 years, but I’d never looked up the official definition until now and somehow, it’s perfect!
I know it sounds a bit corny, but we’ve found that wooing or dating your spouse has several perks that strengthen our marriage.
Dating helps our relationship be a top priority. Let’s be honest, finding time to date your spouse can take a bit of creativity and planning. We’ve discovered our date can be a walk around the block, hanging out in the backyard without the kids or a quiet dinner together after a long family-filled weekend. But, finding that time, making our dates a priority for us, has helped us truly focus on our marriage. We need to put each other first which means, sometimes above our family or work commitments.
Dating keeps lines of communication open. We’ve found that just being together, the two of us, allows us to talk. Sure, sometimes we talk about the kids, work, the household and our schedules, but that helps us work through details and issues that we’d not found time to talk about yet. And sometimes, we find ourselves daydreaming and sharing our hopes, dreams, fears, and plans for the future. It is amazing what can come out of those conversations when we relax and be together.
Dating enhances your outlook. I’ve found that when my husband and I are dating, we’re in sync. I feel lighter, more able to handle problems, and more positive. Maybe, it’s because I’m reminded we’re a team and I’m not alone in the difficult moments. When we have a date night on Sundays, I start my Monday feeling ready to tackle the week.
Dating helps you model Marriage for the kids. Throughout their lives, kids are taught that marriage is an important sacrament and foundation for the family. By watching their parents date, they witness us placing a priority on our relationship and strengthening the family foundation. Only good came come from our kids watching us make time for each other.
Dating reminds you of why or how you fell in love. When you make the time to woo each other you find yourself doing the little things for the other person you might have done years and years ago. Or you start noticing that your spouse is still doing those little things you found endearing before you were married. Dating my spouse finds me smiling when he texts me in the middle of the day “just to check on how my day is going” or discovering that we still love to hold hands.
Recently I shared more thoughts on Dating my Spouse on a Facebook Live event for CatholicMom.com. You can watch it here.
Are you still wooing? How has it benefited your marriage?