- Kenton E. Biffert
Dating Your Wife
Dating before we were married was awesome!
Dating after we were was a ton of fun!
Dating after eight children is … exhausting.
My wife and I have just had our 23rd anniversary. We have eight children and reserve Saturday nights to be OUR time together. This means the children go to bed early or head downstairs to read a book after dinner and we get the evening together. This sounds very good and romantic and all, but reality is, by the time Saturday evening comes around, we are both so exhausted, we simply make popcorn, flop down to watch a movie, fall asleep within the first half hour, shut it off and go to bed.
Maybe some of you out there can relate.
The success of our family depends on the success of our marriage. The success of our marriage depends, in a large part, on our communication, our intimacy, and our cooperation with grace of the Sacrament.
I want to focus on the intimacy aspect.
St. Paul teaches in Eph. 5, that the intimacy between a husband and wife is analogous to the relationship between Christ and His Church.
"For this reason a man will leave his father and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery – and I mean in reference to Christ and the church.
What aspect of marriage does St. Paul refer to that is a profound mystery? The marriage act where two become one flesh. Where do we become one flesh, one body with Christ – through reception of His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist. The intimacy wherein a man and woman become one flesh is a window to the intimacy that Christ has with His Church.
The Eucharist, for the Catholic, is food for the soul. It nurtures us, changes us, draws us closer to Him and fills us with grace.
The marital act, analogously, holds the same place within the marriage: it nurtures a marriage, it is food for the relationship, it strengthens our marriage and draws us into a deep intimacy with each other.
So … why don't we spend more time on this aspect of our marriage?
Because it is easier not to. Because, as I mentioned above, we are exhausted at the end of the week. A man can jump into sexual intimacy, even if he is exhausted, but a woman is made differently. She needs time, wooing, safety, feeling cherished and needs to be relaxed.
What is an answer? Regular, proper, thought out, planned dates.
What is a proper date? A proper date is something that you, as the man or the wife, plan. This takes time, money, research and energy.
My wife and I decided this was important. So, one of our goal this year was essentially to be intimate more often, date more, kiss more – but without intentionality, we fall into routine, raising children and trying to catch up on sleep.
Here are some of ideas we've tried (still want to try) that may help you think outside the 'watching a movie' box:
- In February, we had a romantic dinner outside in the cold. We lit a fire, dressed in full winter gear, set a large stump with dinner settings and ate under the stars, to the heat of the fire and snow falling on our heads.
- Photography shoot of each other
- We found an island with a private beach that we could canoe out to and spend the night there under the stars and bathing under the sun.
- Candle lit dinner on the deck with take-out food from a local restaurant
- Watching family videos and looking at family pictures together
- Hike with a wine and cheese picnic at the end point
- Go for a walk when it is pouring and kiss in the rain
and there are many more ideas!
Be creative. Do some research. Seek out ideas. Plan for a particular day and make it happen.
Dating your wife after 23 years of marriage and eight children is still hard to fit in, tiring to plan, but absolutely life-giving for the marriage.
Here's to another 23 my love!
Kenton E. Biffert