the importance of dating your spouse | love BURTco. living

life becomes increasingly tense. responsibilities grow. both in number and in scale. 
it becomes harder and harder to remember to rest in between. you're practicing your worry muscles more than your delighting muscles. 

we find the best way to remember is to date. and oh, do we love to date each other. 
to consciously forget what must be done and to consciously remember what's important. 

it's counterintuitive. we fool ourselves into thinking that if we lean harder and harder into our work load we'll be more effective. but instead we are met with an amount of stress that is proportionate to the amount of work we have accrued for ourselves. we either make ourselves remember or we are surprised yet again by how necessary taking breaks is. people rest differently. some people need isolation. some people need fulfilling conversations. some people need a night out. some people need a night in. some people need a combination of any of these. 
and part of the joy of marriage is learning the way each of you rests, and then doing those things together. 

ethan : 
i married you because i find you delightful. before we were married i decided that i wanted you around for most/all of the things that i do. for the rest of my life. since our wedding day it's become increasingly difficult to have at the ready the memory of our enjoyment. bills, business, relationships, require so much attention. i often give in to their demands. but when we go on a date our expectations change. our priorities change. there is a mutual understanding that for the next (insert time frame) we are all ours. no one else's. as the date goes on i can feel the weights beginning to drop. my breathing slows. my muscles relax. i have one thing to think about. and that is my beloved. you make me think about life. the glorious side of life. where touch is exciting, air is refreshing. and time is relaxing. being reminded of these qualities in life gets me excited again. it makes me want it to happen more. which makes me love you more. it makes me want you to be near me. since you remind me of the good things. and even though when our date comes to a close all those weights that we just put down we will be taking upon ourselves again, i am reinvigorated. i look forward to our next date. another break from the work that i am now excited to do. now that i have something to look forward to. 

bethany : 
when we were dating, everyone told me you were just being this good to me because we aren't married yet. you were putting your best foot forward and as soon as we were married you would stop with the surprise dates and the fun and the romance. but they were wrong. and every day for more than six years, you have become increasingly romantic and obsessed with dating me. i fall more in love with you every single time we pause together. you make me slow down. i almost always fool myself that if i just work more i could finish all the things on the to-do list and then i can relax. instead of listening to you when you say all of my life will be covered with lists of to-dos. and you're right. as soon as i mark something off, i also add three things. it won't end. it's work i'm proud of, but i still need rest to carry on. dating you makes me remember to slow my heart. relax my soul. reestablish what i am even working for. my favorite thing about you is how steady you are. resting my head on your chest and hearing your steady heart beat relaxes my breathing. calms my hummingbird heart beat. and brings me completely back to you. you remind me that my ridiculous delighting is necessary in this noisy world. you allow me to be free. you give me permission to be wild and weird and care-free. and you always include my favorite coffee drink. you keep surprising me with how well you know me. and it makes me want to know you more. you remind me that i don't have to be serious all of the time to take life seriously. 


reconnect with your love story. reconnect with each other. the reasons you fell in love. the why of your life.  reestablish. reestablish where you stand together. what foundation you stand on. what you stand for. what you stand against. if you fail to do this you may find yourself losing track of where the other is. and though you are married you can find yourself feeling alone. make sure you keep hold of each other in the dark. there are many lights and sounds that go on around us. if we look away for too long we may find that our beloved is lost. 

without remembrance, meaning is lost. it is important for each couple to discover what it is that helps them remember. remember why you became one. remember what you find important. and make a point to do whatever that is, and do it often. you will find that your heart is lighter. that your hands and feet are more ready to take on what's in front of you. you will be strengthened in the knowing that you have a partner in this fight. you don't have to do this alone. that is one of the greatest gains of marriage. 

we are always preparing for our dates. in the good and in the bad. 
the bad makes us long for that date, seeking retreat. 
the good excites us for the dates to come. because it is a glimpse of how good it can be if you keep your eyes on your beloved. so until that next date go take hold of your beloved. hold them tight. give them that big, sloppy wet kiss. and, this is important, pause. take longer than a second to look at the other. take a moment to remember this person you fell in love with. this person that you promised your life to. your good and your bad. their good and their bad. and with your eyes and with your words, let them know that you still mean it.

make it happen in the kitchen. make it happen while you're changing a dirty diaper. or five. 
make it happen when you've burnt the dinner. don't wait until things are good. make things good.