Time management and finding quality time for your spouse are recurring themes here on Engaged Marriage for a reason…they are incredibly important!
I first met Nina when she and her husband joined our initial test group and then became early success stories using the Thrive90 Fitness program over at Fit Marriage. I knew they had taken the importance of recreational intimacy to heart, but it wasn’t until I read this guest post from Nina that I fully understood why. Enjoy!
Almost three years ago, I had divorce papers filled out and was ready to walk out the door.
My husband was home once a week while he was pursuing his paramedic degree, and I was pregnant and taking care of our 3 small children by myself. Yes, that is a recipe for disaster.
After years of problems ranging from pornography addiction to adultery, we were through. There was no way to save our broken marriage.
In the midst of tears and prayers, God sent me words of wisdom through several different people, and I began making the effort to change myself. After 6 years of ineffective nagging, I realized that this was the only thing I hadn’t tried, so I decided to submit and serve. And that was the catalyst for where we are today.
Coming back from the brink of divorce isn’t easy, and it takes time to rebuild the trust that was broken. But it is possible. And what’s better, is that your marriage can become better than it ever was. Way better.
So how did we do it? Seek out a counselor? Nope. Did that once and my husband swore never again. We did something much simpler than that, something we should have been doing all along.
We started to spend more time together.
That may sound like a terribly simple solution to a huge problem, but it was exactly what we needed.
Here are a few ways we’ve been intentional about spending time together to recommit to our marriage:
Find a mutual hobby – After years of doing things separately or begrudgingly doing things together, we began to pick out activities that could be enjoyed together. Since we really did very little to begin with, we had a difficult time finding common ground.
So we took turns doing things the other enjoyed – with a good attitude – and were pleasantly surprised with how fun it was. Who knew that beer brewing could be so interesting?
Date often – We have four small children, so dating is a challenge unless we make it a priority. Taking turns planning our monthly outing has been a fun way to get in a number of different activities like hiking, snowshoeing, brewery touring or going to the symphony. It is a huge contrast to bickering in the car over what we do and then just ending up at the same old restaurant.
In addition to going out once a month, we also shoot for a mini-date once a week after the kids have gone to bed (we put them down early for “their” own good). Then we watch a movie we’ve both agreed on, play a game, snuggle and read or wash and rub each other’s feet. It’s simple and we love it.
Date intentionally – It’s easy to go out, sit in a dark movie theater, eat dinner with little talking and drive home in silence. I know because we used to do that.
That’s a no-no now and if we do see a movie, we go to our favorite pub that has a cheap movie theater where we can eat dinner at the same time while snuggled up on a cozy couch. It’s not uncommon for us to whisper smart remarks and delight in watching each other giggle at the movie. Ok, I’m the only one who giggles, but my husband tells me he loves to watch me do that. The point is that dating is now a way to have fun together and talk, and not just about the latest crazy things our kids did.
Does your marriage have to be on the brink of disaster to make an effort to enjoy each other more? No, definitely not. Any marriage will benefit from intentionally seeking out ways to have more fun together.
Don’t stress about planning the most awesome date the two of you have ever been on. Keep it simple. Have fun. And, most importantly, make the time to delight in your spouse.
Nina Nelson writes at Shalom Mama about building relationships, holistic health and mindful living. When she’s not chasing her four kids or hanging out with her husband, you can find her reading or drawing plans for the straw bale house they’ll have someday.
Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.