Walking it Out

DaTe NiGhT- fOr ThE pAReNt

10 months is too long!

Our marriage is a living breathing part of our life that we cannot forget to water. Just as we have needs to survive, so does our marriage. Not water, food, shelter or light but time, prayer, love, patience, kindness and so on.

TIME

My husband and I had some friends watch our daughter so we could go on a date last Saturday night. We are trading date nights so the childcare cost was zero. While we were sharing what was the first multi course meal we have shared in too long we realized that it had been 10 months since our last date. It’s almost embarrassing to say out loud. For over a year now we have been doing everything as a family and relatively nothing as a couple.

Family and marriage are two different things. They have two different meanings. They may be connected but they are not the same. You are not a bad parent if you crave some alone time with your spouse and you are also not a bad parent if you enjoy that alone time. I’m sure if you’re a parent you don’t need much convincing but in case you do let me give you a few reasons to water your marriage with some alone time.

– you can complete a conversation, or sentence

-intimate/adult conversation

– you can get through more than one course in a restaurant

-you can go for a walk, run or hike without the need to stop

-so you can laugh out loud together

-rekindle why you fell in love

-have some you time

I could go on and on and I’m sure you’re even thinking of some reasons of your own. I’m not complaining. When I picked up my daughter Saturday I loved her even more (if that’s possible) because I missed her while we were away. Missing someone is a healthy part of any relationship.

Last weekend we were obedient in putting our marriage first, something that we vowed to do. And while we were doing the one thing we could do with that time God was doing so much more. While we were investing time into each other I know God was building on the original foundation of our relationship, making us stronger together than we could ever be apart. And when we are gaining joy, strength and momentum as a couple, our daughter is gaining a greater likelihood of keeping both of her parents with her as she journeys through her young life. While we were focusing on our marriage He was strengthening our family.

A healthy happy marriage is the best gift you can ever give your children. I think there are very few circumstances in which if you asked a child if they wanted their parents to separate they would say yes. For me that makes the investment of time more than worth it and what better way to do that than on a date.

One of my girlfriends recently told me that she and her husband went on their first date since their baby was born and they couldn’t remember the last time they spent time alone together in the daylight. I got to thinking about that and it’s so true. I get up, it’s dark, and I see my husband for a few minutes before we are running in opposite directions. After work it’s dinner, dishes, a walk, baths and then another half hour or so before we are ready for bed and alone. Again, dark.

When it’s dark most of that time is spent sleeping. The small part of that time that is not spent in a slumber is likely reserved for getting ready for the day or ready for bed. Maybe exercising.

When it’s light, most of that time is shared between work, errands, chores and family activities.

Don’t reserve your alone time as a couple for a very small window of your day when you are not asleep or busy. Get creative! Meet for lunch or get the kids going early and go grab a coffee/light breakfast together occasionally before work. Get up before the kids and reserve some time to share a cup of coffee at home together. Find what works for you but find something. Make time for it! Pencil something in! You won’t regret it.

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Words from the Wise

“We have the best smelling house!”

Married from 1949 until 2003 (when Ken passed)

“Every day when Ken walked in the door from work he would say that we had the best smelling house. I think it is important to cook for your husband. Today it doesn’t seem to be a priority.” ~ Leokadya

54 years!! I rarely hear numbers like that these days. I’m not saying that cooking saves marriages and certainly your husband can prepare meals for you too. However, I am asking myself about the divorce rate. What has changed? Why is divorce a ‘go to’ now when it wasn’t an option for many before. Where do children fall in the decision making process?

Leokadyas grandson shared a memory of his grandfather: “After every meal he got right up and cleaned the kitchen for my grandma.” Acts of service in a marriage are impactful, and generational. 

Cooking and cleaning, daily occurrences and what some might consider monotonous tasks. Service.  She served him, and he served her. Not only did they serve one another but without intention they modeled to the coming generation how to carry out the act of service. A quality that builds strong character and it’s fruit goes beyond just marriage. During our conversation I never got the impression that cooking for her family ever felt like a chore or that she kept tally.

Service is not just checking a box on an unending list of things you could do but it’s about the heart from which you are serving. Are you serving to gain something in return or are you serving freely for the benefit of others?

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

54 happy years of marriage!! I would say they reaped generously.

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From the Word

Have a Servants Heart

Make an effort to serve the people that you live with. Do the things for them you know they love simply because you know they love them. Do the things for them you know they hate to do simply because you know they hate to do them.

I believe it is an act of service to my husband when I’m running late, to stop, turn around and walk back down the hallway to turn off the lights. It is important to make an effort to make sure the lights are not left on simply because I know it really bothers him. My husband does not like to do the laundry, clean the toilets or do the grocery shopping. While this may not be a list of my favorite things to do, I don’t mind doing them. So why not take on these tasks so that he doesn’t have to? I bet there are some things that bug your husband that aren’t that big of a deal to you. What are they? Are you willing to take them on as an act of service? This works both ways!

In a sermon preached by Holly Furtick at Elevation Church I learned that when we focus on what we can do instead of what the other person is not doing, God works on our behalf. We need to be Jesus and let God be God. Jesus served!

 I prefer not to use the weed eater, cook on the grill or unload the groceries from the car. My husband doesn’t seem to mind helping me with these tasks which fuels me to prep the food for the grill and to put the groceries away once they’re inside. By serving each other in this way we are able to tackle the little things as a team while also honoring and serving the other person.

 “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13

 

 “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

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Walking it Out

Keeping up at Home

We can all relate to the feeling of crawling into a bed with clean sheets, right? Let me paint another picture for you. You sit down after a long day on the couch in your living room.  The couch is absent of laundry and clutter, the furniture is dust free, there are no dishes accumulating on the coffee table or dog hair floating in the air. The kid’s toys are in their place. For a few moments you are in a quiet room free of the chaos that has been your day. You may even hear birds chirping. Doesn’t this sound heavenly?

Now, let’s talk reality. No kids yet, but we do have a puppy. Most days when I journey to my couch in the evening I have to walk across what we call Echo’s lair. The pathway requires me to walk over tennis balls, shredded ‘former’ animal toys, bone shrapnel and remnants of whatever laundry he has smuggled out of the laundry room (or off of the couch) and shredded on the floor.

Now, my husband has this supernatural power called compartmentalizing that I believe all women lack. He walks over Echo’s lair and sits on the couch, looks out the window and lets out a sigh. I’m thinking, “How on Earth can he relax in this mess?” and promptly get out the broom and begin sweeping.

My husband often tells me to forget the mess and to just come sit with him. While I love and appreciate this about him I have to tell you it is something that I struggle to do. When the house is in disarray I cannot relax. He is able to overlook things that drive me crazy. On the other hand, when the house is clean he always notices, he always comments on how peaceful our home feels and thanks me for keeping it so comfortable. My husband may genuinely mean that “it’s not a big deal” or tell me to “forget about the mess” but I know how much happier he is when our home feels like a haven. I do believe we are called to keep our homes in order and to prepare a place that our husband actually wants to be.

“She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Proverbs 31:27

Take time for the truly important moments with your husband and children but remember that everyone enjoys a clean home.

It’s a balance so choose priorities. Making sure the dishes are clean is important and should probably be taken care of each evening before sitting down; however, organizing the pantry can probably wait if it means losing valuable time with your husband. Choose what works best for you but spending time with your spouse should not be at the end of your endless to do list.

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