Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Making It 30 Years and Beyond - Time Together

Yesterday was our thirty-third anniversary. Periodically, I'll joke with Jackie and say something like, "And they've been thirty of the happiest years of my life." And she'll typically respond with, "And which three years weren't happy?"

Of course, there really weren't three miserable years although I know that's not true for everyone. But there have been hard times, bad days and moments when marriage wasn't so much fun. We're far from perfect and I certainly got the better part of the deal on June 26, 1976. I married way above my pay grade!

But as I look back on more than three decades of marriage and the fact that we've been married longer than we were single, I can't help but reflect on some of the things that have helped us stay married this long. And yes, we're all different, so how you live out these principles and practical helps will likely differ from us. However, as you read the next several posts see if any of them might be helpful in keeping your marriage going "until death do us part."

First, we have made time for us a priority. Even before we had children we had dates, regular lunches together, and activities that we both enjoyed. Over the years we've had to take time to discover some new things we would both enjoy or one of us had to learn a little more about the other's areas of interest. Nonetheless, the effort was worth it.

The good thing is that both husband and wife do not have to enjoy a particular activity to the same degree to spend time at it with each other. For example, I love the mountains and have since I was a kid. But as my kids got older I committed to climb some 14ers (14,000 foot peaks) with them and as a result have done several with both Amy and Tim individually and one with them together just a few years ago.

Jackie, however, wasn't too interested in summitting bigger mountains but she's learned to love to hike. Interestingly, she actually did climb a 14er a few years ago and I'm very proud of her for that. But most of the time, even here in the hill country of Texas, she and I just enjoy hiking, some of it challenging, some of it not. We do that together on a regular basis. So while, yes, at times we enjoy the mountains in different ways according to our interests and abilities, we can also enjoy part of the experience together.

We've had a regular day of the week during all of my ministry years that was just ours because ministry involves weekend time so much. And we had this while our kids were in the house as well. When they were little and we didn't have a lot of money (we still don't have a lot!) we would trade Saturday mornings with another couple so every other Saturday we could have time to ourselves while they watched our kids and vice versa.

Finding time together is possible and the sooner you start that practice the better. Yes, there will be seasons when having couple time will be harder than others. But don't let those times allow your time together habit to simply vanish. Fight for it, model it to your children, cherish it. Time together allows you to talk, to share your struggles, to appreciate each other and to grow emotionally, spiritually and mentally.

And when your children are grown and out of the house as ours are now, you will hit the ground running and enjoy being together even more.

More tips next time.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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