Just Go Out and Do It

Years ago, someone said if you wait until you think you’re ready to have kids you never will. And I’ll just say, if you say you’ll invest in your marriage when you aren’t so busy with your kids, you won’t. By then you’ll be two strangers in an empty house. Luckily for me, that’s what my parents did, but by the grace of God I got to watch them fall in love with each other all over again once we were out of the house. But what I didn’t get to do was to learn as a child what a healthy marriage really looked like. Unfortunately for me it caused me to make a lot of wrong decisions in my life and caused me to have the wrong idea of what a marriage and family was supposed to look like.

“We charge our cell phones daily but let our marriages die. If your smart phone receives more daily charging than your spouse, then you’re spending too much time talking to the wrong people.” marriage365.org.

This quote is a punch in the gut for so many. But when life is crazy there are some simple things we can do to make our marriage as intentional as we can, just like we make sure we are keeping our cell phones with us and charged.

Pray – before we get into practical things, I want to remind you to not underestimate the power of prayer in your marriage. Pray for your hearts and attitudes toward each other. Pray for your relationship with God and each other to deepen.

Family Calendar – We are all living this crazy thing called life. When you write out everyone’s schedule, it’s easy to find time to connect. Time to connect with your spouse and time to connect with your kids.

Lower Expectations – We all know I love to watch a good chick flick or Hallmark movie as do many of you, but that’s not really reality nor do we necessarily want it to be. Kelsey Furguson, said on her blog, “I’m the fairy-tales-are-true and lets-talk-about-our-feelings wife. But reality is a lot like, talking about our day while I nurse my daughter and son climbs all over my husband.” Sometimes in our house, connecting is trying to figure out a weekly dinner menu before I go to the store. Or chatting while I do the ironing for the week. A special occasion may be curled up on the couch watching a movie once the kids are in bed. (That is if I managed to stay awake while laying with the littles in their bed until they fell asleep, instead of the usual of Jeff coming and waking me up and coaxing me to go get in our bed.)

Time Management –  This is tricky…I get it, sometimes you pass at the door coming in as the other leaves for work, or shuffling practices etc. Maybe you decide to connect driving down the road. Or maybe you can take the time while you’re cooking dinner. Get the kids started on homework at the table, start dinner and while it’s cooking, break all the rules you have for your kids. Sit on the counter while dinner cooks and talk with your spouse while dinner gets ready. It has become one of our favorite times. Sometimes when our schedule gets busy and maybe that hasn’t happened for a while, Jeff will send me a pic of the counter and say, “You’re spot is waiting on you.” Then I know, we’ve gotten to busy and it’s time to connect with him. We can have that time right in the middle of our crazy!

Do What Makes Sense, Right Now – If you have little ones, it probably doesn’t make sense to leave them at home over the holidays and go to Cancun. If you have a blended family and you find your kids will be with their other family, by all means take the trip. If you’re “empty nesters” maybe you want to plan a trip for yourselves b/c you never took the time when your kids were home. Or maybe you want to keep the grandbabies so your kiddos can have a day together. Maybe you’re stuck in the, “I’m not sure who the person lying beside me in bed is anymore?” Then have a first date again and get to know your spouse.

Just Go Out and Do It – There’s a new show on HGTV called Home Town. I’ve never watched it, but I love Erin’s (the wife on the show) saying “Just Go Out and Do It.” Just go out and do it – plan the time away just the two of you. Our situation is a little unique in that sometimes around specific holidays we find ourselves alone. Our kiddos are with their other families and we have time just the two of us which make it easier sometimes. But at the same time, we want our kids to see us making our relationship a priority, so sometimes we plan stuff purposefully during a time when they are home so they can see that their parents make their relationship a priority. Otherwise when they are older, they’ll never understand that they need to do the same.

So plan a small trip if you can financially, or if you can’t, find a grandparent, friend or someone that can help with the kids staying overnight and have a romantic night at home just the two of you. It seems like a big deal, but I promise your kids will thank you later. Connecting with your spouse isn’t about the perfect setting or candlelight, it’s about making the time and effort to spend time together.