By Pam Farrel
Men respond well to rituals and rhythms. They prefer habits linked together to create a life worth living: every Tuesday morning is Bible study, every Friday lunch is an accountability luncheon, every Saturday morning is golf, every Thursday is date night, etc. And their wives love the outcome of these rituals and rhythms! In the hectic pace of a ministry marriage, your love can be protected when you create romantic rituals and rhythms as a patchwork quilt to warm your love.
Ways to make it happen
Romantic rhythms might include a date night each week, an intimate rendezvous while the kids are in school, a Sunday afternoon “nap”, or a weekly coffee or tennis date with your mate. Each month make sure you have a day away to look forward to, something that slows your pace and reminds you why you first fell in love. If you are looking for ideas on what to do, take a look back: go to the place you first met, first kissed, and first said “I love you.”
Plan a yearly anniversary getaway just the two of you. One couple describes their anniversary kidnapping: “Whisk your spouse away to some surprise (you can take turns each year planning). You might also try keeping an anniversary journal where you write the year’s highlights or your feelings every year."
I Love You More Today than Yesterday
Also, create some daily reminders of your love, or romantic rituals. In our new book, 10 Best Decisions a Couple Can Make (Harvest House), we list a few rituals that have worked for couples.
- One couple, married on the 22nd of August, celebrates each month on the 22nd by doing something special.
- Make your password on your computer a pet nickname for your mate, or create a screensaver of favorite pictures of your spouse.
- Place a daily love note in his or her coffee cup before you leave for work.
- Read aloud to each other in bed or while one of you does the dishes.
- Kiss when you say “Hello” and “Goodbye” or any time you exchange the keys to the car.
- Go to sleep holding hands. Even if you actually go to sleep at different times, meet at the bedside to pray or kiss.
- Plan an evening or morning walk and talk.
- Have dinner each night by candlelight, or a cup of coffee after dinner, or play a game of chess or cards each night by the fireplace.
- Enjoy breakfast by candlelight. It’s especially ‘romantic’ during the winter, when everything is dark, talking by candlelight.
Rituals that work
David and Vera Mace, the founders of The Marriage Education Movement also have a daily ritual. David makes breakfast and tea and has brought it to Vera every morning of their marriage.
United Marriage Encounter trains couples to “dialogue” daily by writing on a topic for ten minutes and then talking about it for ten minutes. We have seen this simple daily ritual be instrumental in saving rocky marriages and strengthening solid ones by providing intimate emotional connection.
Bill and I have a tradition about which people always comment. We waited for that first kiss until the day he proposed to me. From that first kiss forward, we always kiss after we say grace at every meal no matter where we are or who we are with. We’ve never missed a kiss in over 28 years!
Rhythms and rituals are like a great investment. If you do something romantic every day, all those layers of love are banked away for a rainy day. If things get tough, (and they will in ministry), you have accumulated wealth in the love bank—and it has accumulated interest!