A few Sundays ago saw us at a good friends dining room table over cups of tea (lemonade or hot chocolate) and grapes. We were enjoying fellowship with, and getting wisdom from, a really wonderful couple. As the evening progressed we poured out our frustration of feeling drained, dry, and rung. Their biggest suggestion? Dates. Weekly, kid free, no need to talk about important things, just fellowship already dates.
They reasoned with us that we had not had proper time to further get to know each other over the last four and a half years of marriage. As I have mentioned here, we had a crazy first four years. We were in perpetual survival mode, and that really did not leave much time for courting each other. Hearing them say that was such a relief, because it made sense. We both deeply desire an phenomenal marriage, but when one thing after another (some good, some bad) comes up it is hard to just slow down and snuggle on the couch for a chat as often as you need to.
So, there we were coming out of several years of survival mode, without knowing each other as deeply as we should have. Our relationship was parched.
The living relationship
I see how it happened, but I wish we had truly realized how important courtship is- throughout the entire marriage. There is always room to grow in a marriage, becoming more intimate, getting to know each other deeper and fuller. Further becoming one, and learning more and more what love truly is.
A relationship is a growing thing; it needs time, care, and attention. It needs it regularly. That is where courtship comes in. To view courtship as something that gets you to marriage, then ends is like watering a seed until that wee bit of green just breaks the surface then forsaking it. Getting a seed to planthood is not the goal; it is the beginning. Then you have a plant ready to grow and flourish- with care and attention, that is.
Wait, dates or courtship? Both.
The counsel was dates, so why am I talking about courtship?
Good question. Thanks for asking. Courtship in basically getting to know, and developing a (deeper) relationship with your significant other. It looks very different when it first starts than in marriage, as you do not even know what the result will be (ending it, or marriage), but the basic idea of relationship cultivating is there.
Dates are specific time set aside to work on a courtship. They are very important. I am not saying you have to go out to eat at least once a week. That is how dates are often viewed, but any time you set aside to specifically court your spouse IS a date. The concept that dates need to be full of specific, often costly, activities is just not true.
So, basic idea… courtship is paramount. Dates are a means.
Keeping The Courtship Line-up
Monday (today)- The Living Relationship
Tuesday – Practical Tips for Getting Out
Wednesday- 25 Unplugged At Home Date Ideas
Thursday- Growing As A Couple AND Family
Friday- HOW To Grow as a Couple ‘Cause Dating Won’t Do It