Courtship should not end with marriage, some couples say.
They make it a point to go on regular dates with each other and say prioritising the spousal relationship provides the bedrock for a secure family environment, even though it can be challenging to carve out such couple time.
The value of date nights is backed by research, says Ms Judith Alagirisamy, a family life specialist at Focus on the Family Singapore.
She cites a study in recent years by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia in the United States.
The study found that married couples who spent time together every week were significantly more likely to report being “very happy” in their relationships, compared with others who did not have such regular time together.
Having such one-on-one time helps foster resilient relationships at a time when divorce rates are increasing, says Ms Alagirisamy.
In 2016, 7,614 marriages here ended in a divorce or an annulment, up by 1.2 per cent from 2015.
Ms Alagirisamy says: “The key to remaining close as a couple is to consistently make time for each other and show their spouse that he or she matters.
“On a daily basis, married couples can start simple habits such as a morning text message to encourage their spouse or have an intentional conversation as they unwind before bedtime.”
Some family-focused organisations have prepared relationship-strengthening resources for married couples.
From Saturday, Families for Life is launching its “I Still Do” month-long campaign with events such as marriage talks, a picnic at Fort Canning Green, live jazz performances and a movie screening of Beauty And The Beast (2017).
For more information, go to www.familiesforlife.sg
In conjunction with Valentine’s Day last week, Focus on the Family Singapore launched a free e-resource called 5 Great Dates.
It gives married couples practical tips, conversation starters and date night ideas to nurture greater intimacy with their spouse. It is available for married couples to sign up for free at www.family.org.sg/5GreatDates this month.