On the tail end of a week of stressful conflict, my husband and I recently had a memorable coffee date. We had already spent enough time working through the hard issues, so our date was just for fun. We sat in a pastry shop holding hot mugs, looking out at the cold winter day and sharing our plans, goals, and thoughts with each other. Our conversation spilled over into the rest of our week, and at different times we continued the dialogue: over dinner with the children, while doing dishes, or in the car. This awakened in me all over again the delight of discovering my husband.
We expend incredible energy juggling work or ministry with caring for our children or trying to maintain a semblance of order at home and keep food in the refrigerator, but we easily let our marriages slide down low on our list of priorities. After all, our spouses will always be there, right?
I count it a privilege to be a pastor’s wife in the Middle East, but visits, phone calls, guests and meetings make it easy to over-schedule myself. Before I know it, it seems like there’s not enough of me to go around. By the time the guests leave and the kids go to bed, I come to my husband with just the left overs
Five years ago, during a low point in our marriage, my husband and I watched the Alpha Marriage Course together on DVD. We found encouragement on many issues, like appreciating differences and conflict resolution. As a result of this course we started a weekly marriage time for fun dates, planning, and, ahem, conflict resolution.
These are the anchors of our marriage:
Weekly Date time:
No matter how busy things get, or how hard it is to get a word in edgewise around the dinner table with two talkative teenagers, we know we’ll have a special time together before the week is out. If there’s a problem we haven’t gotten to talk through, we know we’ll have a chance. Some weeks we focus on just having fun together.
Daily prayer together:
We take 10 minutes to pray together before breakfast every morning. We started this three years ago after attending a weekend for couples at Glen Eyrie, the Navigators retreat center in Colorado, and it has made a huge difference in helping us to cultivate spiritual intimacy. You might wonder why we waited until our 15th year of marriage to start this. It’s a good question!
Weekly dates and daily prayer breathe life into my relationship with my mate and closest life-long friend. They help my husband and I to be intentional about investing time and energy in each other.
My question for you: What suggestions do you have for maintaining and renewing our most important relationship?
Here are some helpful marriage-related links that are still fresh: