Look after your Marriage
Marriage is the beginning and foundation for our family life. Our marriage needs to be both protected and strengthened. No healthy relationship ever stays stagnate – healthy relationships grow.
Obviously the best way to strengthen and grow a relationship is to spend time together though this seems to be the biggest challenge to married couples. How do we find time to spend with each other? But it isn’t just about finding time to be alone – it is about sharing our lives together. This raises the second challenge and that is that we find ourselves only discussing the children or our schedules. These topics, though necessary will not strengthen our relationship.
When we were first together we spent time talking about our dreams, passions and the things that generally interested us. We shared ideas and it was a matter of iron sharpening iron. Peter and I had a long distance ‘courtship’ which meant we did more talking than we did doing fun things together though I think being out and about creating memories together is an important part of a growing relationship – and an aspect we have had to work on since it wasn’t there from the beginning.
Going on a regular date is one way that we can prioritise our marriage. This has looked different at different times of our 21 years of married life: when the kids were little we had stay at home dates more often than not, though we also had great friends who would babysit for us occasionally. As the kids reached the teen years we were able to leave them at home by themselves and enjoy an hour or so together. But to be honest, going out on a date every week, or even every month can become very expensive. At the moment we are working on Sunday lunch at home, with the children somewhere else in the house. With the kids being older, they are able to entertain themselves well and truly without interrupting. There are ways and means to carve out time together – we just have to be creative.
The things that we do every day though probably have a bigger impact on our relationship.
- Greeting each other with a kiss, and finishing the day with a hug
- Giving complements and words of encouragement to each other
- Daily practicing good manners and courtesies
- Smile and look into each other’s eyes
- Share a joke together – have a good belly laugh!
Our marriage also needs to be protected by a commitment to
- Honesty and openness
- Loving unconditionally, and
- Forgiving each other
Though it takes two to tango often it takes one to step out and do something. I disagree with the idea that marriage is 50-50. Instead I see it as 100-100. Regardless of what he or she is doing, we need to be giving 100%. Who knows you may just re-ignite that flame!
Extra Note: I write this article on marriage with a heavy heart because of marriages I know that are not in a good place; marriages that are based on control, marriages that deal with anger and selfishness, marriages that have no respect. These relationships need more than the things I mention here – I share these thoughts to encourage those with good marriages to keep on working at their marriage. For my readers who have a hard and maybe even abusive marriage I pray for you and I encourage you to find godly counsel – don’t do it on your own.
Yes, I know October is over, but I slipped a little behind so I’m still finishing up the series!