We used to rock date nights. You know, before we jumped on the marriage train. That’s usually how it goes, right? You meet someone, you get curious about them, you start learning, talking, observing, and getting to know them. Eventually, you both decided your friendship is more than a friendship and you agree to treat it as such.
Enter: Date nights.
We had some pretty amazing ones. It wasn’t uncommon for us to end up on a new hiking trail or to find a new inlet view while chasing the sunset. We could spend hours playing cards games, writing music, or just enjoying each others company. It didn’t always have to be a big production. The moments we invested in each other; it was those that kept the “fire burning.”
And then we got married. We started growing our family. And it wasn’t long before things. things changed. Can you relate?
This post was originally a contribution to the Reclaim Your Marriage Online Event. See the original article here! —>>
How I Learned to Prioritize Marriage
“We just needed more time,” I thought. “Things will smooth over soon.” You’ve probably thought the same thing. Bravo to you for framing your concern in a positive light.
Something I’ve learned over the last few years of marriage is that how we frame our thoughts and concerns plays a HUGE PART in how we approach the conversations that follow. I’ve also learned through many a struggle (in and outside of marriage) that the change we want to see in our marriage starts with us. We are the initiators. Time alone doesn’t always change things. If you want to see a change in your marriage, no matter how big or how small, you have to be willing to contribute your actions as a part of the solution. But before we could create a solution, we had to get to the root of the problem.
Our problem: we put marriage on the backburner.
It happened so quickly that we didn’t even notice until the done. We had underestimated how delicate of a balance it was going to be adding parenthood into the picture. Don’t get me wrong we wouldn’t trade it for anything. Our boys are the most amazing kids on the block (or more accurately, the playground…). We were used to giving our undivided attention to each other. How quickly things shifted when Motherhood began. We had these precious baby boy in our lives and was all too eager to give him ALL of my attention. I put marriage on the backburner and I had to learn how to reestablish it as a priority.
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5 Ways to Keep Marriage Front and Center
I know your time is precious. Chances are you’ve got a lot on your plate. These five boundaries can help you nurture your friendship, establish your relationship as a priority, and model a healthy and positive marriage for your children.
1 | Set aside time for each other.
I’ve always been an advocate for consistent date nights. HOWEVER three boys later I’ve come to learn that traditional date nights won’t always happen like they used to. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun together. You just have to be intentional about it. Take a seat at the table, pull out your calendars, and together block out time in your upcoming week that is specifically just for the two of you to connect. I mentioned before I have three boys, so often the time we set aside for each other towards the evening while they’re sleeping.
2 | Serve your spouse BEFORE you serve yourself.
I used to believe the myth that before I could give of myself to my husband, I had to have a full “tank.” Which meant I spent a lot of time waiting for him to make the first move. Which also meant I spent a lot of time putting effort into serving me than I did sewing into us. And that, my friend, was not a good move.
Now I’m not talking about waiting on your man hand and foot as though you’re his handmaid. I’m talking about taking the few minutes it takes to intentionally demonstrate your love and appreciation to your husband through your actions. I’m talking about speaking His Love Language.
If you aren’t familiar with this concept I highly recommend Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Language. A lot of people still struggle to understand why Love Languages matter. Let me assure you, they do. Before you pour yourself into your kiddos or retreat to your own space, make sure to take a few minutes and pour into your husband.
3 | Learn to say no.
Our first few years of marriage and parenthood were jammed packed with commitments and activities that served a lot of other people. We enjoyed most of them, and to be honest a lot of them even benefitted us (individually), but they didn’t benefit our marriage. Instead of doing life together we found ourselves spending more and more time away from each other. We learned that sometimes we have to say not to perfectly good opportunities in order to say yes to the people and opportunities that should take priority.
4| Serve your kids together.
As often as you can make it a point to spend time with your children together. Not only is it healthy for your children to witness you modeling healthy family relationships, but it’s also essential for the two of you. You and your husband, you’re building a family together. Enjoying your kids, laughing and playing with them, disciplining them; doing those things together require the two to create a sort of unity and intimacy that will only pull you closer together.
5 | Pray for each other.
According to the American Psychology Association between forty and fifty percent of American marriages are ending in divorce. Does that shock you? It shouldn’t. It’s no surprise that there’s been such a heavy attack on marriages. Marriage is a God-ordained sanction. The enemy would love nothing more than for your thriving, Christ-centered marriage to fail. Here’s the kicker, though. According to the Gospel Coalition people who seriously practice a traditional religious faith have a divorce rate that is LOWER than the general population. Which shows me that marriages have a higher chance of thriving when Christ is the foundation of them. So invite Him to be that foundation!
Pray for your husband. Pray for your marriage!
If I could sum this post up in just one word it would be intentionality. Nobody has a good marriage by accident. It’s one that has to be cultivated. Treat marriage like it matters and chances are it will last.
What are some boundaries that you set that help you prioritize marriage? Earlier we talked about Love Languages. If you haven’t explored your husbands Love Language I encourage you to snag this free guide The Secret to Nurturing A Lasting using the 5 Love Languages. You’ll also receive a special invitation to join our Life & Faith Community on Facebook! Getting started is as easy as filling out this form (below). You’ll free guide will be waiting for you in your inbox.