Time seems to slip away as we are consumed by the tyranny of the urgent in our lives. We are driven to be the best mothers and fathers to our children, complete our work at our place of employment with integrity and passion, take care of extended family and have valuable close friendships. This list is not exhaustive and does not include self care which is essential to complete the above.
Are you willing to invest some intentional time into your marriage? Unless we are deliberate, time slips away and we can slip into neglect of one of our highest values, our relationship with our spouse.
Here are three ways that will change your relationship as you begin to intentionally practice them.
1. Schedule a weekly date with your spouse. I frequently counsel couples and one of the first questions I ask is “When was your last date?” Spending time together doing pleasurable things is essential to your relationship. Individuals grow and change as they are impacted by the life they live. We need to continue to spend time with our spouses to hear their hearts, laugh, play and have time away from everything but each other. Remember when you were first dating? You could just be with your partner and feel that you are closer to them. A great way to start is for one of you to ask the other on a date and make the plans. The next time switch. Dates do not need to be expensive extravagant affairs. Some of my best times with my husband were spent walking the aisles of Lowes dreaming about what we could do next in our home. We also take many walks together, being in nature is an uplifting experience. Time spent together is time well invested in your relationship.
2. This one is fun. Do not let your partner know that you are doing this. Find at least one small way to do something new for your partner. It could be a note scribbled on the bathroom mirror, setting out their coffee cup, or making a special dessert. You know you partner best and the things that may make them smile. Often I hear complaints to this one like “All I do is about them and for them and they are never grateful.” The point is not to receive thanks. The point is to grow in unconditional love and to show love in tangible ways. It is not the diamond rings or the fancy dates that make our hearts sing, it is the small daily things that add up and help establish an atmosphere of love in our marriage. As we show our love in tangible ways, our attitude becomes one of love and caring and having fun looking for a new way to bless our spouse.
3. Set aside at minimum a weekly time (not your date time) to check in with your partner. It is important in our relationships that we communicate the “ouches”, disappointments and challenges. If we take time to sort these through we do not go through time with unresolved anger. These unexpressed issues can become huge when they are allowed to pile up. I agree with the old saying “Do not go to bed angry with your partner”. Sometimes, it is hard to communicate on a daily basis but I believe that when we express these “ouches” with our partner regularly they do not fester and become larger. I have found that many times when I felt hurt by my spouse I misunderstood what he was expressing. Take time to ask each other “Are we ok?” and give your partner honest answers. You can always set a time to communicate further is the issue is a big one.
There are so many ways we can be intentional about our marriage. I would love to help you if you find your marriage is not flourishing. I teach conflict resolution, appropriate communication and can also work with an individual to change their marriage for the better if the spouse is unable to come to sessions.