This week we're talking about how we keep our marriages a priority. Drew and I kind of laughed when we started talking this week. We were really good about doing things together and making us a priority before we had kids. Truth is, we're just in a very consuming phase of life right now with our boys. Life is good, but it's wearing, and by the time 8pm rolls around and we've completed our daily duties of chaos control, both of us are in near comatose states. Friends of ours who have older kids assure us that it won't last forever, and I am clinging with white knuckles to their assurances. I thought I'd bullet point a few things that Drew and I both agreed have helped us stay close, even when life gets a bit hectic.
1. Dates/Time AwayWe both agreed that this was our number one thing. We don't make the time to do this near enough as we should. Sometimes we have "home dates", but I have a problem with unwinding during those. For a long time I was never able to articulate to Drew why home dates just never felt the same as going out to dinner with him. And then it hit me. It'd be like me asking him to go on a date and us ending up at his office. There's no way he'd be able to focus completely on just us with work sitting all around him, which is exactly how I feel sometimes when we try to watch a movie or just sit and eat dinner in peace together. It's so hard for me to disconnect from all of the things on my "to-do" list around the house, that sometimes it's necessary for me to completely leave the house altogether in order to decompress and reconnect with Drew.
We also agreed that time away has always been really good for us in reconnecting. Before we got married, my mom gave us a great piece of advice, which was to make sure we got away on trips just the two of us before we had kids. If you don't have kids, I would highly recommend traveling before you have them. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my boys. But I will ALWAYS be a mom now. I'm so grateful for the trips we took as a couple before we had kids. We were able to relax and have fun together and just be us. Those are definitely some of our most cherished memories as a couple and I don't think either of us regret spending that money on that time alone with just us.
2. Family TimeIf you've read my blog for long, you know that the weekends at our home are sacred. We're almost always together as a family, and if it's even remotely nice outside, we're doing something outside together. I'm not sure this is completely a marriage point, but I think that it definitely bonds our family together and is so important to both Drew and I that we stay strong not only as a couple, but as a family. I think we're definitely proving true the saying "the family that plays together, stays together."
3. Church/ClassesDrew and I have always made it a priority to go to church together. There's just something special about worshiping the Lord together that I can't put to words. We LOVE LOVE LOVE our church family, and feel so blessed to be a part of an equipping church. Our church offers a lot of classes for marriage/parenting. They're free and also provide childcare (most of the time). We have loved taking the classes. Even if they are on parenting, it opens up a lot of communication lines for us that might have otherwise gone untapped. I will probably touch on more of this next week, so I will not go much deeper than that today :)
4. Praying TogetherAs much as I'd love to sit here and tell you that we are the model couple for praying together every night.... we're not. And it's probably my fault way more than it is Drew's that this doesn't happen more regularly in our relationship. I just go and go and go during the day, and when I'm ready to go to sleep, I GO TO SLEEP. Like, my head hits the pillow and I am OUT. The times that we have been more consistent in doing this, we definitely have felt closer and less volatile as a couple. My counselor gave us a great illustration about prayer in marriage and basically said that prayer is the arsenal on an army base. When the army base is stateside (in a calm and nonvolatile area), the weapons arsenal doesn't seem as necessary as when the army base is overseas in a war zone. Translation: When things are going great, prayer may not seem to be much of a need for your marriage. But when you are surrounded by trials and stresses of life, the enemy uses those things to break your relationships apart. Prayer is the weapon against those breaks and rifts.
Do you have some ways that you and your spouse stay connected? We'd love if you'd link up and share some of your ideas!