Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Courting

Fresh off a night of getting dressed up, wearing perfume, hiring a sitter, and going out for hours with my husband, I wonder what happened to courting. We've been married a long time - eighteen years this January - and together as a couple for twenty four years. We love each other and although we never claimed to be perfect, we strive to work at our marriage including making the marriage a priority. With three children, full time work for my husband and his working on a Master's, writing, Cub Scout Den Leadership and Class Mom for me, plus all we do to run a household, there isn't a lot of time to be "us". We believe "us" is worth making time.
Recently at my 20th High School Reunion we ran into a lot of people who were divorced. Outside of that arena, in my everyday life, I am running into the same epidemic. I am not categorically against divorce, in cases of abuse (any kind) I can see the necessity, but for most couples who claim to have 'grown apart' I can't help but wonder if those couples had tried courting one another they might still be married.
Courting, in my definition, is to woo. We want to gain the favors or affection of someone so we woo them. Courting may sound old fashioned, but that's what most of us hold on to in memories of new love or infatuation. We want to be told how beautiful, sensuous, exotic, erotic, extraordinary, sexy, funny, buff, handsome, intelligent we are. We want to know our affections are matched by the one we feel affection. In new love/infatuation this behavior is usually present. Whether it be from fifty years ago with a phone call and a handwritten note, or now with a text and an email, courting has and still occurs. But I counter courting shouldn't just be for those at the onset of love. The desire to be desired and valued does not end when one takes vows, makes a commitment, or starts a family. I'd say the desire intensifies to want to feel that way, yet many abandon courting with a sigh of relief stating, "Thank God I found you so I don't have to do that stuff anymore." I agree that it is marvelously wonderful to know that my husband will be my forever date for New Year's Eve, that he can see me sick, without make up, and in my ratty sweats and still find me beautiful, but we both know it is important to put effort into keeping ourselves fit, interesting, and interested as well as attractive. Because I've found, quite frankly, if it doesn't happen within the marriage it will happen outside of the marriage.
I look forward to date nights. In this economy they are far too rare because finding the money to pay for a sitter for three children and then going out is usually cost prohibitive, but we used to carve time out to date once a month (sans children). In the last year we had a new baby making the total three children in our home. Now that the little one is past the one year mark it makes it easier for us to find the time to go out, but we simply need to save our pennies. Do we give up on courting one another? Absolutely not! First, we stay connected, a huge part of courting, through the internet. Unlike some I've spoken to in the past who refuse to entertain "friending" their spouses on Facebook, my husband and I use it to communicate and flirt! I wouldn't social network without my husband - he's the one I want to network socially! Secondly, if dating is too expensive to do outside the home frequently, then put the children to bed at a decent hour and have a date at home. The important part of dating in my opinion is dolling yourself up, giving your full undivided attention to your date, and becoming intimate. Intimate is a loaded word and all definitions would apply for date night. Sometimes being intimate is simply being able to talk about fears and not worrying about being judged but finding unconditional love and support. Sometimes it means the healing power of touch (read that blog in my archives) or enjoying the art of the kiss (another one to read from my catalogue). And sometimes it means getting lucky!
Jobs are stressful, children are needy, houses need repairing, bills are ever present, and courting takes work. But I find the most reward and joy putting effort into my love life while responding to the crisis at hand on any given day. Of course I find raising my children richly rewarding, take pride in my home, and adore my career path, but without someone to share it with and a romantic life to speak, it wouldn't be as great. So, I am a proponent of wooing/courting for all people - singles and married alike. And maybe if we could remember to put our relationships with our 'significant other' first and continuously court one another, perhaps we'd be happier.
I've got to end here, I'm off to court my husband...

6 comments:

  1. My husband and I "courted" we didn't "date", that being said, I might have a certain husband read this! :)

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  2. Thanks for the reminder. How quickly we can forget how important the little things are.

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  3. What a great blog, I was married twice. My first passed away and my second divorce me. It was the best of times and I miss being married. Your on the right path to a long a happy marriage.

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  4. I LOVE this post and I'm going to take your advice to heart - watch out Mike! ;)

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