One Sunday, my pastor shared his intention to deepen his marriage and pour into the heart of his wife. I thought, "Our marriage could use some cultivating as well." It had been a while since my husband and I went out together. Then I received a text from my husband, "Let’s go on a date this week." Our lives are run in super speed with jobs, responsibilities, and the kids. Our usual conversations consist of, "Can you fix the leaking sink?" "Will you watch the kids next week while I go to the dentist?" and "The breaks in my car have been squealing." With work schedules and life responsibilities ruling our lives, date night had been pushed to the side for months.
So after my husband's text, we decided to commit to a date night and that same week we enjoyed dinner at the marina and a walk along the beach.
Time slows down by the sea. The crashing waves perform a relaxing melody that soothes the soul. The feel of the sand under our feet, the water lapping at our ankles, and the endless sea before us were a reminder that life is much bigger than our hectic schedules. Walking together, we added our own footprints to the well-trod beach. We talked. We reconnected as friends. And we drew hearts in the sand.
Before we know it, our children will be grown and out on their own. With the house suddenly quiet and more time on our hands, who will we be? Children and our busy way of life can cause us to push our marriage to the side, hoping to tend to it later.
But what if later, all that's left are two strangers?
Do you remember your marriage before having children? When our children are young, we spend all our energy on taking care of their needs, 24/7. Parenting responsibilities can drain us physically, mentally, and emotionally, and there just doesn't seem to be anything left to put into our marriage. Yet, marriage is the foundation to a family. Children thrive and grow when their parents have a strong and healthy marriage. Spending quality time together is one of the best ways to keep a marriage healthy, for your children's sake and for the sake of your marriage.
Ideas for cultivating a strong marriage:
- Commit to a regular date night and stick to it.
- Surprise your spouse by planning an unexpected date night. Plan to go somewhere you've never been before. Experience a new place you haven't seen.
- Be creative and create a list of fun date night activities that don't cost much money, such as going on a picnic, hiking, canoeing, or participating in a sport.
- Begin a new hobby together or take turns participating in each other's hobbies.
- Go to the park and read a book together. Take turns reading out loud.
- Talk with one another about your hopes, dreams, and goals for the future.
- Attend a weekend marriage conference.
Christina Fox (@toshowthemjesus) is a homeschooling mom, licensed mental health counselor, writer, and coffee drinker, not necessarily in that order. She lives in sunny South Florida with her husband of sixteen years and their two boys. You can find her sharing her faith journey at To Show Them Jesus and on Facebook.