Personal Post: 3 Ways We've Learned to Nurture Our Marriage
For a little context before you read, here is some information about my marriage and family: my husband and I have been married for just over six years. We have two little boys, age 3 and age 1, and we moved to the Philadelphia area in July, 2016.
My family’s life is busy right now, there is no denying that. It is a good busy, full of juggling activities that we find joy in doing, like reading stories to our two little boys, going swimming, and pursuing careers that we love, with a side of the no-fun adult and parenting items that come with the territory. Like chasing a baby who feels the need to climb every piece of furniture in our home. (True story: two days ago my husband walked out of the kitchen after plating our baby’s dinner to find him sitting on top of our dining table helping himself to his older brother’s food.)
Amidst the business of life in the past, my husband and I have often found ourselves forgetting to take time to nurture our relationship with each other. There have been seasons in our life where we both found ourselves checking out after completing our adult responsibilities, being around each other, but not growing our relationship. While individual decompression time is highly valued in our household, we also realized that this routine of checking out alone every evening was not good for our marriage. So we sat down, did a little research, and brainstormed what we could do to make time together more of a priority. We have had a lot of big changes in our life over the last few years (babies, moving across the country, to name a few), and have found that by keeping constant our fruitful relationship time, we are able to more fully enjoy our life together.
I thought it would be nice to share some of the ways that we continue to nurture our relationship with each other, as well as a few of our favorite resources. I think it is all applicable to any stage of a relationship, be it dating, engaged, newlyweds, or seasoned spouses. I hope you find it useful!
1. Setting a schedule
Typing this out, it doesn’t sound romantic. If schedules don’t appeal to you at all in the romance department, skip to tip number 3. I used to be in this camp, too; but now, I am all about the joyful anticipation of my scheduled date nights with my husband!
When we first started instituting scheduled date nights, we tried to schedule out the entire month at once. This did not work well for us, as our schedules constantly changed and meetings and other events would pop up. Now, we schedule week-to-week, picking at least one night (but usually 2-3) per week where we plan to do something together. Sometimes this means a more elaborate date night with a babysitter, and sometimes it just means choosing something to watch together on Netflix or playing a game of Cribbage. (Does that make us sound old? We do love the game!) When we know that we are both free on Wednesday evening and plan for one of our date nights, we look forward to our time together throughout the day and protect that time for each other. So far, having a schedule has had great pay-off in helping us to put our relationship first and to grow in our marriage!
2. Growing together spiritually
Our faith is a huge part of our relationship, but we find that when we don’t work on it together and support each other in our practice of our faith, it ends with a lackluster result. It has been the times where we are participating together fully that we not only grow spiritually, but also grow in our relationship with each other. We do this by praying together, for all of our intentions, but especially in thanksgiving for each other and our children, and we ask for the blessing of continued strength to be good role models for our kids. We also will both partake in spiritual reading, either both reading the same book or article and discussing, or more often than not, each choosing a different reading to do and then teaching the other person about it. We truly believe that if we are to pass our faith on to our kids, then we must continue to support each other in growth in this area, as well as growing together as part of our marriage.
3. Remaining open to spontaneity
When our romance was new/when we had less life responsibilities, this was way easier for me. Now, I fight this hardcore because I always have “just one more thing” on my list to accomplish. I try to make sure that if my husband last minute suggests we go on a walk together or a last minute date night when I may have had something else planned, that I remain open to spontaneity in our relationship. This also lends to giving spontaneously, as well, either with tangible gifts or acts of service or compliments or time!
I hope you found our experiences/what we do helpful, or at least enjoyed a peek into my marriage. I’d love to hear your best relationship tips! What stage are you at in your own relationship, and how do you keep your relationship nurtured and growing?
Looking for more relationship resources? Check out my Pinterest board for some of my favorites!
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