Thursday, April 24, 2014

Marriage with Passion or Routine – It’s Your Choice (Part 2)

Last week we talked about some lessons Jerry and I learned the hard way to put into practice in our marriage. 

I think this week has been the busiest week I can remember in quite some time, and I know how challenging it is to put those suggestions into practice.  However, I realize the consequences of not taking the time necessary to invest in our marriage. 

Jerry and I did have a great weekend together, but since the work week began, it’s been all about marking things off the list for me.  Like I mentioned before, there are just so many things that HAVE to be done. 

However, tonight we will be back out on our patio, listening to music and having dinner together and just enjoying each other’s company. 

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”  The wife really is the one who sets the atmosphere of the home.  It’s my choice to focus on what I still need to do or to set my agenda aside and enjoy my husband and family. 

I remember in the days when my kids were small and I was home with them all day, I wanted Jerry to see just how difficult my day had been, and I really looked the part.  The clothes I wore were comfortable but very ugly, and my hair and make up showed I didn’t care. 

The kids were cranky and hungry, and I was not in a good mood.  I couldn’t wait for Jerry to walk in the door so I could tell him all about my hard day.  Quite often there was discipline I had dished out with the kids that he needed to reinforce. 

Unfortunately, it took a separation to see the error of my ways.  I'm not saying these things caused the separation, but they certainly didn't create marriage bliss.  

To improve my marriage, here are the things I learned:

1.              Change clothes, comb my hair and freshen my makeup before Jerry came home.

2.              Give Jerry 15 minutes to unwind and relax before dropping bombs on him about my day.   Maybe having other conversation first is even better.  

3.              Have the kids pick up all the toys so Jerry wouldn’t trip when he came in.

4.              Keep uplifting music playing to set the atmosphere.

By doing these things, Jerry was more relaxed himself and ready to help with the kids.  He was also ready to listen to me talk.

You may work full time and come in after your husband.  If that’s the case, you may have to come up with your own set of rules.  However, I challenge you to find things that work in your home, whatever your circumstances, so you can connect as a couple. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Marriage with Passion or Routine - It's Your Choice

A passionate marriage will not just happen.  It requires hard work, but it is extremely fulfilling.

When we get married we are so “in love” that we don’t think we will ever drift apart.  However, as we’ve all probably discovered, marriage can become routine.  There are just so many daily things that HAVE to be done.

Your list will be different than mine, but it doesn’t matter what phase of life you are in, it becomes filled with activity.  After working, family life, our homes, and church there is little time left for romance.

Just as our homes will not maintain themselves, neither will our marriages.  We must be deliberate to keep the flame burning. 

Jerry and I learned the hard way it is necessary to do daily little things to keep our relationship fresh and vibrant.

We never used the “D” word in our house, but about 23 years ago we found ourselves facing divorce.    We were separated for 1 ½ years, and by all outward appearances, there was no hope.  However, God had other plans. 

We drifted apart so subtly we didn’t even realize what was happening until it was too late.    We were just busy – too busy to even notice the distance.   You may know the drill.   

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:11 (The Message) regarding the Israelites:  “These are all warning markers…written down so that we don’t repeat their mistakes.” 

I have heard it said, you can learn either from mistakes or mentors.  Please be willing to learn from our mistakes so you can have an exciting marriage. 

Once God restored our lives, there was no way around it, our priorities had to be reordered.   Here are some things we learned:

1.              Get a babysitter at least weekly for a date night.  

2.              Study each other to know each other’s likes and dislikes.

3.              Use verbal appreciation.

4.              For me, I had to lighten up.  Life had become too serious.   Have you ever heard of a couple having fun together getting a divorce? 

5.              We had to make the things that were important to each other a priority.  For instance, if Jerry asked me to do something for him, I had to make the time to do it.   (Especially since he doesn’t ask much of me.) 

6.              Listen to each other talk – really listen.   That means time has to be carved out to make it happen.   It’s tempting to come home at night and veg in front of the television.  You can either watch someone else’s life or live your own. 

7.              We found a hobby we enjoyed doing together.    It creates friendship and enhances communication. 

8.              Make time for sex.  With a busy family, it may not just happen.    Planning just creates expectation and excitement. 

9.       Go away overnight or longer if possible with your spouse annually.   Talk about your favorite memories throughout the year and plan some fun things to look forward to.

10.        Spend time daily with God.    Although this is #10, it should be your #1 priority.  When we are conformed to the image of Christ, we will be better spouses for each other.  

This is not an exhaustive list.  There are many things I could add.  You may want to suggest some of your own in the comment section.