It is getting late and I should be focused on answering emails and getting to bed but I got distracted and wanted to write while this was still fresh in my mind.
I have a great husband. For those of you who have read my blog very long, you know some background to how our relationship started, some of the things I love about him, and 30 things that stood out to me about him when he turned 30 years old last year. You could say I am just lucky to have found a great guy or that we are fortunate to have a good relationship, but I would disagree. I would say we choose to have a great marriage in the same way that we choose to love each other. It is an active decision that is not led by feelings but instead is seeded deeply in a commitment based on trust but founded on the belief that marriage needs to be entered into with a long term plan in place. God has given each of us free choice, I am challenged daily to use that freedom to make active choices that will enrich my marriage and our family.
I believe that the best thing we can do for our children to create a feeling of security and stability in our home is to place a high priority on your relationship with your spouse. This doesn't happen without intentional action and I will be quick to say that my diligence in the area of intentional love and affection wavers back and forth over time. However, I can give a few practical examples of things that we have committed to that I feel reinforce our intentional actions:
-We agreed from the start of our marriage to never joke about divorce. Divorce is not a joke and we felt it not appropriate to let it enter our conversation even in a "playful" manner.
-We agree to support each other fully in front of our kids. "What your dad said is my answer too" is something you will hear in our home a lot. We consistently remind our children that as parents we are a team, we work together and we support each other. If we disagree about how we are parenting, we discuss it away from our children.
-Something that we have not verbally said to each other but has proven to be a unspoken agreement is that we do not belittle one another in front of others. I feel that when couples undermine their spouse to others (especially in front of the spouse) it is so destructive, belittling and humiliating for the spouse. Ideally, your spouse would be your biggest supporter and even if you don't feel this from them, it can start with us making this kind of commitment to them.
-On the flip side, whenever possible, build up your spouse and complement them in front of others (both in front of them and "behind their back"). A practical way that I do this in our home is when I pray with my children at night. In my prayers I make a point to thank God for Trent and for the wonderful father, husband and supporter that he is for our family.
-We have a date night. Ideally it is at least once every two weeks but this changes depending on the time of year (around the holidays we don't do it as often). Sometimes we swap baby sitting with friends and sometimes we have a babysitter. If you don't have a good option for childcare perhaps you can have a date night at home by keeping a set evening open for your spouse and spending time together after the kids are in bed.
I recently read two blog posts that I also felt were filled with great words of wisdom.
How to Live Dangerously In Marriage offers 4 important points to help you create an intimate marriage. The I Love My Husband Book offers a great idea by showing what one wife did to affirm her husband at home.
If you are looking for a great practical book on the inner workings of men, I suggest reading "For Women Only" by Shaunti Feldhahn. You can get a copy used on Amazon for under $4 (not including shipping). I read this book last year and recommend it highly.
Tonight on a local radio station (KMBI) the female speaker was talking about marriage relationships and how she realized that in her life she had made a point to improve many areas (her parenting, health, etc) but had never decidedly focused on being better partner for her husband. I thought this concept was very timely. Often we contemplate resolutions around this time of year and I would like to suggest that we as women, mothers and wives prayerfully consider how we might think on this topic and in what areas we could seek to improve upon in the coming months.
Wishing for many years of bragging rights ahead for all of us!