Everyone’s busy. Too busy.
One of the most common denominators amongst struggling couples that sit on my couch is a lack of quality time together. Schedules, to-do lists, house projects, homework, and sports schedules frequently take priority to the marriage relationship.
Of course, quality time by itself will not change a marriage, but it is required in order for change to take place.
More Ideas For Your Time Together
George Booth and I collaborated on this post together. George is a good friend and currently serves on the Board of Marriage Revolution.
I’ve been to some great weddings!
We once attended a wedding in Ireland where we traveled with a plane load of fellow Scots and celebrated for almost a week.
I had the pleasure of attending the wedding of a colleague in Azerbaijan where we danced, ate, and celebrated into the wee small Azeri hours.
I’ve been to great weddings in the prettiest of Scottish Castles and great weddings in the grandest of Cathedrals – but quite frankly I’m getting tired of great weddings!
The more I think about it, I haven’t been to a bad wedding. Every wedding I’ve ever facilitated, attended, or observed has been great.
This weekend, great weddings will be happening all around the world where a beautiful bride and a handsome groom will enjoy with their fortunate guests, all the spoils and pleasure of months and often years of meticulous planning and paying! They’ll be great. People will laugh, parents will cry, and everyone will hashtag their memories to the happy couple’s Instagram tag – #greatwedding
So why with all these great weddings do we only know a handful of great marriages? Why do we pour so much time, energy, creativeness and money into great weddings but we are reluctant to invest in having a great marriage?
This post was written as a Date Night Guide for Church Project’s Valentines Day Date Night on February 13, 2015
Sex in the Garden of Eden…can you imagine?
Adam and Eve were in a lush garden with flowers and vegetation not yet marred by the presence of sin. They likely heard running water in the nearby river and animals were walking around freely. And maybe most significantly, Adam and Eve, “…felt no shame.”
“…and they become one flesh. The man and his wife were naked, and they felt no shame.”
Make no mistake, Adam and Eve had great sex. What was the key ingredient?
This year has the potential to be the best year yet in your marriage.
You probably have good intentions for this to happen, but unless you are already moving in this direction it probably won’t come to be. Andy Stanley says it this way:
“Direction not intention determines your destination.”
Tonight, we want to help you get moving in the right direction.
One of the ways to start this process is to lay out a plan. We plan our vacations, we plan in our businesses, but few people have a plan for their marriage. God wants you to be intentional in laying out a plan for your marriage to be better this year than ever before.
Tonight is about conflict.
Since every marriage deals with it, we need to address it. But don’t worry, it won’t be that bad. What better time to talk about conflict than outside of an argument and with a clear head!
Throughout your date night consider this alternative view of conflict:
“Instead of seeing conflict as an unfortunate event you have to go through, God wants you to see it as an opportunity you get to grow through.”
When you first got married what were you expecting from your relationship?
It’s likely one of the things on your list was companionship. Although many marry for this reason, the distractions of career, kids, and to-do lists often take the place of spending the time necessary to develop this key ingredient of a healthy marriage.
Companionship – An intimate friendship that occurs as two people are knit together in love.
Every time you and your spouse pursue companionship (dating each other, forgiving one another, praying together, praising each other) the “knit” of your companionship is strengthened.
However, each time you neglect each other, hold grudges, and pursue other relationships ahead of your marriage, the “knit” of companionship is weakened and is more vulnerable to being severed.
Communication is an essential part of any relationship, especially marriage!
Maybe you’ve heard the cliché’, “You have 2 ears and 1 mouth, use proportionately.” I couldn’t agree more. Tedd Tripp puts it like this:
“The finest art of communication is not learning how to express your thoughts. It is learning how to draw out the thoughts of another.”
Your mission tonight is to draw out the thoughts of your spouse. Ready? Let’s go…
I’d be willing to put money on the fact that your life is too busy…
When Star and I first got married I was making $10.49 an hour and she was running an in home daycare to supplement my income.
On top of that, I was working 2nd shift from 3:30 pm – 11:30 pm and parents were dropping kids off at the house to Star as early as 6:30 am!
The schedule was crazy, but we had to do it to put food on the table and pay the bills.
Income was decent, and we were both content with our jobs for this season of our life. But, we rarely saw each other and hardly ever spent any quality time together.
Below is a guest post from my friend and fellow marriage champion Glen Solberg. Glen lives in Little Rock, AR and serves on the staff of FamilyLife.
In every occupation I have been in, there has always been some element of “continuing education”. When I was working with computers, I took classes to keep up with technology. When I was a Physical Therapist, we were required to take continuing education classes to maintain our PT License.
When it comes to our cars and houses, the same is true. We must do “routine maintenance” on our cars to keep them running properly. And we must put money into our homes to keep them up and keep major repairs from happening.
So here’s a question for us married folk: “Why do so many couples think that once they are married they can just COAST in their relationship?”
Many couples we talk to seem to have the “Well if it ain’t broke, then we don’t have to fix it” attitude—naively thinking that not being INTENTIONAL is OK in marriage. But this attitude in marriage only leads to one thing—ISOLATION. And from isolation, often extramarital affairs begin with devastating results. We see the isolation TOO FREQUENTLY and the resulting devastation.
The “default” for marriage is doing nothing—COASTING. The best analogy I have heard is that being married is like paddling a canoe on a river. But not just any river—one with a waterfall nearby and a strong current pushing us toward the falls. We must be paddling upstream (being INTENTIONAL) all the time or the current will move us toward ISOLATION—where the “Falls of Marriage” are waiting to take us out.
QUESTION: Where are you as a married couple? Ask your spouse after you do your own self-assessment.
CHALLENGE: Set a night this week or next to meet with your spouse for a date. During your time together, tell your spouse of your desire to be INTENTIONAL in your marriage. Brainstorm one or two ways you can do this in the next month. Then follow-thru! Your marriage is worth it!
IDEAS TO SHARE: Have a regular date night every week or every other week where you spend time building your relationship. Join a small group at your church that focuses on marriage and do your homework each week. Read a book on marriage together and discuss each chapter, putting action steps into place as you go. Find a marriage retreat (such as the Weekend to Remember or The Art of Marriage) and make plans to go—then take steps afterward to do things differently than before.