Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!
Last week we spent time together going over the order of relationships within a family: God, spouse, then children. The relationship that is the toughest for many to nurture, and easy to take for granted, is the relationship of husband and wife; one’s marriage. That is why I have come to believe that it is essential for every married couple to take time in their week do go on a date, in order to nurture and strengthen their God-given relationship.
Let’s top up our coffees and I’ll explain…
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Hebrews 13:4
Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do. Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. Ecclesiastes 9:7-9
I think most of us know that when it comes to relationships the order should be God first and children to follow, but somehow our relationship with our spouse gets misplaced. Happy, life-long marriages don’t just happen. No relationship just happens and continues without any effort on each participant’s part. I don’t know about you, but I want to enjoy my spouse and have a strong marriage, especially at this stage when my children are grown, family members are passing on, and he’s the only constant person around. Therefore, to keep a marriage strong, to keep your relationship with your spouse strong, it takes effort, intentional nurturing, and commitment.
I remember the busyness of young children, then school-agers and then teenagers. All stages were crazy busy. In all honesty, when the children were very young, I can’t remember regular date nights out of the house, and I probably didn’t focus as much on our marriage as I could have. Although, there are two things we did that stand out to me during those times. We attended worship together on Sundays, and relaxed on the couch, once the children were in bed, in the evenings…. and believe me, I was big on having a scheduled bedtime. So at least, most Sundays and most evenings, we had some time together.
Then, as our eldest got to the age where he could oversee the others for an hour or so, we added to our schedule an inexpensive Saturday morning breakfast as our weekly date. It wasn’t a big, elaborate, expensive time away, but it was a time we both looked forward to in our week, to focus just on each other and our marriage, and it didn’t break the bank. I’m not saying that these little dates eliminated issues in our life and marriage. By no means! We have had our issues, our times of miscommunication and non-communications. However, these dates kept our friendship strong and our paths united.
People change over the years and spending time with each other helps you to see and to know and to love those changes in your spouse and he/she in yours, and to continue to walk and grow and change together. Without making the effort to continue to nurture your marriage and learn of each other, it is so easy to grow apart; to think that the grass is greener and life more exciting somewhere, or with someone, else. Especially after the busyness of raising children is done, it is easy to feel like you’re left all alone with a stranger. However, don’t despair. It is never too late to get to know your spouse and begin the courting and dating all over again. And you may just find that the desires and changes you are seeking in your life, are the same desires and changes (s)he wants too. It just takes an open and honest conversation – or two or three – to share your feelings and dreams, to learn where each of you are at, and to begin to make those changes, together.
Today, take some time to reflect on where you are at in your marriage? When do/could you and your spouse schedule a two-hour slot in your week to spend together, just being together? Do you know your spouse’s most current dream or desire? What is yours? Does your spouse know this about you? Then pray that God guide your hearts to grow together in love and faithfulness towards Him, and love and faithfulness towards one another, and that he guide your conversations and activities with open-mindedness and compassion.
God instituted marriage; the joining of one man and one woman to become one, until death. In the midst of new, young love and the honey-moon stage, marriage is easy. However, since each spouse keeps their own uniqueness, our days and life’s trail may look different than our spouse’s. Therefore, it is important to take the time to ensure you are both walking down the same path of life together even though there are two unique sets of footprints, which at times are going in opposite directions. Dates provide those times when you can both get back on the path ahead and walk side by side, together as one, as your union was created to be.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, You desire to be my closest friend and my spouse to be my earthly life’s partner and closest friend. Please help me to give the attention to ____________ and our marriage that it deserves. Help me to be the spouse you so desire me to be and __________ to be the spouse you so desire him/her to be. Help us to share and listen to each other, and to grow and change together, one day at a time. Guide us this day. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!
Reflection: At some point this week, plan a little date. Then take some time to think about the blessings that your spouse brings to your life. At some point, perhaps on your date, share these qualities and ask what (s)he feels is his/her greatest desire at this stage in his/her life. Then share your greatest desire with him/her. If you are both open, reflect upon and share two positive adjectives to describe the qualities in the other person. Have fun!