The start of a new relationship, often coined the honeymoon phase, is typically a blissful period, characterised by intimacy and excitement as the new couple begins to get to know each other.
But when the realities of chores and bills set in, it is easy for them to get swept into the humdrum of daily life, falling into a routine and forgetting why they chose to be with each other in the first place.
“It’s a fallacy to think that the same intensity of feeling has to remain,” Boaz Nazar, Director at Kalko Law LLC quips.
Date to keep the spark
Having been married 25 years to Claire Nazar, who is also a Director for Kalko Law LLC, Boaz is all too familiar with the struggles of the “business side of the relationship”.
In running both a household and company with his wife, he has found that keeping the spark alive “comes back to how well you're managing your fun time together with your conflict resolution, because all these have an impact on your relationship.”
To the couple, part of the solution is to keep dating in marriage.
“Dating is something we need to keep alive simply because we have to remember that we are romantically involved, and not just going through the business of things,” Claire explains.
Recognise that dating will look different
Understandably, finding time for dates may be more difficult, especially when a married couple has the responsibilities of raising children. However, in her experience as master trainer of the Preparation and Relationship Education Programme, Claire feels that children actually add to the depth and quality of a marriage, rather than take from it.
Instead, the need is for a mindset shift of what dating in marriage is: It is not always expensive dinners or luxurious holidays alone—oftentimes, taking a walk together or grabbing a cup of coffee together between errands is sufficient.
What is most important is the quality of time, Claire says, adding that this can mean “taking a step back and saying: ’okay, we can have fun for an hour and not think about anything. For one whole hour, I’m just going to enjoy you.’”
Carve out time for yourself
It isn’t easy, Boaz emphasises, recalling an incident after their first child was born, when he and Claire decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
After agreeing that they would not talk about work, children or what was going on at home, they found themselves sitting in silence.
“We were just so used to talking about all these things that we lost sight of the other conversations that we used to have before we got married before the child came along,” Boaz says.
This is why it is important for couples to continue to pursue their own interests and hobbies, Claire says, noting that there are plenty of resources like Families for Life that offer suggestions for things couples can do. In her marriage with Boaz, for example, the couple enjoys learning to cook new dishes together, and talking about the new books that each of them are reading, she says.
Time can make the heart grow fonder
25 years in and counting, this intentional focus on dating in marriage has allowed their relationship to continually grow stronger instead of waning with time.
No doubt conflicts still happen, but looking back, Boaz muses: “We've become very comfortable because we've gotten to know each other a lot better… It has matured our friendship to an extent where we enjoy being together a lot more.”
The content of this article was adapted from an interview from CNA938 Family Ties. For more parenting tips, visit familiesforlife.sg or check out #AskFFL on the Families for Life Facebook page.