My big advice this time is once you’re married, don’t stop dating.
I know, you’re saying to yourself, “Wait a minute… don’t you get married so you can stop dating?”
Well, of course, I don’t mean continue dating other people, but definitely, continue to date your spouse.
The director of a particular archdiocesan Family Life Office told me once that the two communities in the Church that had little to no support were the separated and divorced community and the newly-married community.
That was about eight years ago, and it’s apparent that people within the Church have been working hard to remedy that. All dioceses are working to strengthen marriages through the U.S. Bishops’ “For Your Marriage” initiative, and this is important to take note of as you date and hopefully meet your future spouse, because the folks behind ForYourMarriage say that having a weekly date with your spouse is essential to having a lasting marriage. (Read their tips on cheap, free, outdoorsy or at-home dates here.)
One of the great things about dating after you’re married is that sexual intimacy is no longer off limits and dates can become extremely fun and romantic events. This is why dating is so important after the marriage, because with the day-to-day stresses of life, child bearing, etc. it’s easy to lose yourselves in the details and allow the romantic side to fade away.
It’s such a common problem and you may have experienced that already in your first marriage. A typical excuse for spouses who leave their husband or wife for someone else is “we grew apart.” This is no excuse, of course, for abandoning your spouse, but it happens so often. If you and your spouse are committed to a weekly date, the likelihood of that ever happening is really very slim.
The power of love letters
Writing a love letter to your spouse may sound like a corny thing to do, but I guarantee you, if you get into the habit of writing love letters to your spouse, your love will never grow cold.
I have a very large collection of love letters from my husband that I keep in an antique wooden engraved box in my office. No one is allowed to view the contents: it’s just between he and I, and often, when he is traveling I will go to that box and read for hours. Writing love letters seems to be a lost art but one that, if picked up and used, can make all the difference in a relationship.
St. Valentinus is a great saint to pray to for dating, engaged, and married couples for he is the patron saint of love and happy marriages among other things. He was a saint who was tortured and beheaded for quietly marrying Christian couples during a time of persecution. On the eve of his death, he sent a note of farewell to the emperor’s daughter whom he had just cured from blindness. The note was signed “From your Valentine.”
The overall point of this essential element to making your second marriage work is this: keep the fires burning. Life makes us tired, stressed, and crazy. If you are going to sincerely commit yourself to one person in marriage, make sure that you both work to keep your commitment fresh and renewed.
Decide that once a week, you will devote time to yourselves as a couple, whether it be dinner and a movie, an hour of adoration, a picnic under the stars, or coffee at Barnes & Noble…whatever it is, commit to it, commit to each other and keeping the romance alive.
Don’t miss Lisa’s first essential element to a successful second marriage.