Marriage

Is Your Marriage on the Back Burner? (Or How Doctor Who Reminded Me Why I Love My Husband)

marriage1 "Are you crying?" my husband asked as the tears streamed down my face.

Sniff. "Yes." I mean who wouldn't cry when the Doctor and Rose have just been separated forever? (Yes, we're nerds, and yes, we were watching Doctor Who. We're a bit late to the Whovian party and just finished up season 2.)

"You do know they're fictional characters, right?"

With those words, I was reminded why I fell in love with this man. He makes me smile.

I don't spend a lot of time talking about my marriage in this space, mainly because my husband is a super private person. But today, I wanted to share just a bit.

My kids are gone for the week, spending time with the grandparents on a trip to Chicago. They're having a great time, and my husband and I have had time to do some things we haven't done in a long time -- go out to dinner, have a conversation of more then three seconds before someone interrupts, watch TV together.

It's been a long, busy year since last August. Between homeschooling, working and simply being parents to two active girls, our marriage kind of got shoved to the side. Conversations were had in short snippets. Many days we only saw each other in passing. Weeknight dinners went from family affairs to eating in shifts. And our marriage simmered on the back burner.

It was a season, and marriages can survive those seasons. However, our marriages can't survive years of simmering on the back burner. At some point, we have to put them back on the front burner and turn up the heat.

It's way too easy to push our spouses to the end of the priority line. Their needs aren't immediate. They can wait. But when we put our kids' needs and their activities in front of our marriages, our marriages end up in trouble.

We have to be as deliberate in building our marriages as we are in raising our kids. Because marriage takes work. Marriages crumble when we stop working on them, when we stop making them a priority.

That's why when my husband asked me last night if I knew the Doctor and Rose were fictional characters I smiled. And I remembered some of the reasons I fell in love with this man in the first place. My husband is a great dad. He's an awesome person. He's the total opposite of me -- quiet, thoughtful with a dry, slightly off-kilter sense of humor. But too often it's easier to focus on the things that annoy me rather than things that drew me to him in the first place.

That's why it's so important to take time for our marriages, to not let our kids consume us to the point that our spouse is just another person that lives in our house. Genesis 2:22-24 says:

Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

God designed husbands and wives to work as a unit. It says "they become one flesh." That doesn't just mean the obvious. It means they function together, they work together, they weather the hard times together.

We can't be one with our spouse unless we're spending time with them on a regular basis. We can't function as a unit unless we're taking the time to talk to our spouse. We can't create a relationship together unless we remember what it is we loved about them in the first place.

So, today, evaluate where your marriage falls on your priority list. If it has fallen to the bottom, work to bring it back up to the top. Because one of the most important things we can give our kids is an example of what marriage looks like. The opinions they form of marriage now are the ones that they'll use when creating their own marriage.

Spend some time with your spouse today. Reconnect. Remind yourself why you fell in love to start with. Even if you're nerds like us, and it takes a couple of episodes of Doctor Who to make that happen.

Intentional Marriage (review and giveaway)

Intentional marriageThis post contains affiliate links. I don't post a lot here about my marriage, mostly because my husband is a super private person. We've been married for almost 18 years, and like any marriage, we've had our ups and downs. There are days when we struggle to communicate, weeks when we don't see much of each other, and moments when we don't see eye to eye. But even in the midst of those days, weeks, and moments, I'm blessed. I have a husband who loves God, loves me, and loves our kids. He tries to be the best husband and dad he can be.

Sometimes, though, I take the blessing of my husband for granted. I get focused on the things he doesn't do or the things that bother me and forget about all the ways he loves me. I forget about all the things he does well. I forget to say thank you or to let him know he's appreciated. I simply forget to be intentional about loving my husband.

I write all the time about being intentional in parenting our kids, but it's not always easy to remember that we have to be intentional in our marriages, too. We often think that our marriages can sit on the back burner during the years that our kids need our attention. We think that we can neglect our marriages until the kids are grown and then work on them.

The truth is that our kids need us to focus on our marriages while they are still in the house. They need us to be as intentional about making time for marriage as we are about making time for them. They need to see an example of a healthy marriage so they will know what it looks like when it's time for them to get marriage. They need the stability of knowing that their parents love each other. They need us to be intentional in loving our spouses.

That's why I love Crystal Brothers' new book, Intentional Marriage: The Art of Loving Your Husband. She makes it easy to be intentional about your marriage. This quick 32-day devotional leads you through a month of loving your husband intentionally. Each day contains a scripture, a short devotional, and a challenge to love your husband in a specific way that day. From planning a date night to praying for your husband to pursuing peace in your relationship, these challenges are designed to give you a practical way to love your husband each day.

There's probably nothing in Crystal's book that you haven't heard somewhere before, but the great thing about this ebook is that it gives you an action step to take each day for a month that is solely focused on your husband. It's a great way to bring your marriage back to the front burner. It's a fantastic tool for learning to be intentional about your marriage.

The back of the book is packed chock full of resources from ways to bless your husband to cheap date ideas. Crystal has given you everything you need to spend 32 days loving your husband intentionally. I encourage you to check it out and spend a month focusing on your husband. Right now, the book is just $2.99. Your marriage just might be changed forever.

Crystal has graciously agreed to let me give away a copy of Intentional Marriage: The Art of Loving Your Husband on the blog today. Simply leave a comment either here or on the Facebook page, and you'll be entered to win.

I received a free review copy of this book, but the opinions here are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

Why Your Marriage Matters to Your kids

marriage

My husband and I have seen very little of each other this week. A quick peck as we pass each other and a short conversation on the way to bed have been about the extent of our interaction this week. It's not ideal, but that's the way it's been this week.

One week like that isn't the perfect situation, but it's manageable. Too many weeks like that, and everyone starts to get out of sorts. Communication gets lost, and we start to feel like roommates instead of spouses.

There are lots of things we do as parents, but there's nothing that we do for our kids that is more important than maintaining a healthy marriage. If you're married, you're marriage needs to be a priority.

When we have kids, the temptation is often to stick our marriages on the back burner. Babies are needy. They need care and attention. They're demanding. As our kids get older, they take less immediate attention, but they still need to be driven places. They need help with homework. They still want our attention.

And it's easy to think that we'll deal with our marriage later. That thought process is destructive -- not just to our marriages but to our kids.

Even though they don't know it, our kids need us to prioritize our marriages over our kids. Our marriages aren't just important to us; they are important to our children for a number of reasons:

1. Our kids are learning about marriage from us. If we want our kids to learn to have healthy relationships with the opposite sex, then we have to model it for them. If we want them to choose wisely and understand the commitment of marriage, then we have to model it for them. If we continually show our kids that we choose them over our spouses, then that's what our kids will learn to do when they grow up.

2. Our kids are learning about God from our marriage. Ephesians 5:21-33 offers up a biblical view of marriage by comparing marriage to Jesus' relationship to the church. When our kids observe our marriages, they're getting a view of what Christ is like. That's a tall order, and a really good reason to place a priority on our marriages.

3. A healthy marriage makes for healthy parents. If things aren't right in our marriages it affects every aspect of our lives. We're better parents when our marriages are healthy.

Our marriages don't deserve to take a backseat to our kids. It's been said that the greatest thing we can do for our kids is to love our spouses, and that's not far off the mark. Take a few minutes to examine your marriage today. Check to make sure nurturing it hasn't been pushed aside in favor of busyness, children or even work. If it has, figure out how to put your spouse back where he or she belongs on your priority list. Your kids will thank you.

Friday Introductions: Prioritizing Marriage (Time-Warp Wife)

My husband and I are approaching our 17-year anniversary. I don't write a lot about my husband in this space, mainly because he's an intensely private person, and this blog is mostly about parenting, not marriage, but today, I want to talk about marriage. Why? Because our marriages affect our kids. How we treat each other, how we solve conflict, how we parent together are all affected by the health of our marriages.

Every marriage goes through great times and tough times. We have moments when we can't imagine being married to anyone else and moments when we just want to throw up our hands and walk away. There are weeks, months and years when our marriages are fulfilling and amazing, then there are times when our marriages are draining and conflict-filled.

We've been going through one of those draining and conflict-filled periods in the past few weeks. Somewhere, our communication got off track, and we couldn't manage to get it back together. Conversations that should have been easy became hard. Hard conversations became arguments.

When we're in one of those periods in our marriage, it's easy to blame the other person. They're not listening, they're not interested, they're being stubborn, but the truth is, the only behavior that we can change in our marriages is our own. Most of the time, there's plenty of blame to go around, and many times, I've found, I'm actually the problem, not my husband.

Yesterday morning, after another evening of not communicating well, God made it a point to show me that this time, I'm the problem. Sure, my husband has things he could work on, but the root of our issues this time is me. Somewhere along the line, my husband got pushed to the bottom of my priority list -- if he was even on it at all. When I had to make a choice between being a good wife or being a good parent, ministry leader, friend or volunteer, I've been nearly always choosing the thing that is not my husband.

God says in Genesis 2:24, "That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh." He doesn't tell us to become one with anyone else -- not our kids, not our job, not our ministry. If we are to work together, if everyone is going to pull in the same direction, then we have to put a priority on our marriages.

Healthy marriages don't just happen. They take a lot of work. No matter what we do as parents, if we're married, the single most important thing we can do for our kids after focusing them on God is to love our spouse. Our kids are learning how to interact with others, what to look for in a mate, and what a marriage looks like by watching us. When we allow conflict to fester, when we don't acknowledge when we are wrong, when we treat our spouses like they don't matter, we're teaching our children what a relationship looks like.

It's tough to do it all. It's hard to work, parent, be a wife, and be a ministry leader, among other things. It's difficult to carve out time for everything, but our marriages have to be at the top of our priority lists, right after God. They have to be there because everything else we do is ineffective if they're not.

One of my favorite resources for perspective on marriage is the blog Time-Warp Wife. She does a great job of focusing on the role of women in a biblical marriage. Plus she offers up lots and lots of great tips on ways to show your husband you love him and how to keep your marriage vibrant. If you need encouragement in your marriage, be sure to check it out.

This week, I'll be reorganizing my priorities to find some extra moments to spend with my husband, so that he knows that he's at the top of the priority list instead of at the bottom. And I hope in doing so that I'm teaching my kids that marriage is more important than work, ministry and even them. Because that's the way God designed it.