It's 5:00 p.m., and from my kitchen window, I can see the sun is setting. As the warm afternoon rays send a dreamy glow to the rural scenery outside, I hear my husband's voice say one word from across the kitchen: "Ready?"
I turn to him, smile and say, "Yes."
We each grab a small snack and walk outside to our backyard porch swing.
It has become our favorite place to spend our daily check-ins—those 15 minutes we spend everyday that keeps our friendship close and our marriage strong.
When we bought this swing about 9 months ago, we bought it as a place for these check-ins (we wanted to have a special "landing spot" each day for these precious times as a couple).
And while the kids and I also love to snuggle up and read stories before nap time here, I like to think that the swing is happiest when it's holding my husband and I, moving rhythmically hand in hand as we unload about our day and connect our marriage on a deeper level.
While I would love to tell you that all our conversations are deep and thought-provoking, that would simply not be true. Most days they're simple glimpses into everyday family life: daily reports about how the kids are doing in school, upcoming events for the week, frustrations with work ... that sort of thing.
And other times we just collapse into the swing exhausted, its gentle swaying a soothing balm for two people who overcommit, make mistakes and need rest from a busy life.
Sometimes we do dream — about places we want to travel to, things we want to do with the kids — and we even spend prayer time here as we connect with our Father together.
But always we're holding hands and staring into the distance. That to me is the best part of all.
The Best 15-Minute Investment in Our Marriage
This simple check-in makes a profound difference in our marriage.