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

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

One of The Best Habits We Ever Put In Our Marriage

Most couples over time develop certain habits whether they like it or not. Some are helpful and enriching to their marriage, others annoying and some even destructive. Often most of their habits aren't even planned, they just happen.

Jackie and I have had our share in the above lists but there is one that I am thankful we were very intentional about from the very beginning of our marriage until today. No, we've not done it perfectly and there have been periods where it pretty much vanished for a time but its importance and pull have always brought us back to it.

I am confident that it has enhanced our communication, intimacy, planning for the future and ability to simply rest and enjoy some Sabbath in our busy weeks.

Our habit? We've made extended, focused time for each other. We have committed to a day, morning, evening or a combination where we put aside our regular schedule, plan something fun, go out to eat perhaps along the way and explore new places together. We usually have some sort of goal but the time is not typically programmed and we can always change things up last minute.

Sometimes the weather alters our course or we're just too tired. That's okay. We have enough margin during that time to not get flustered because our original plan didn't work out. We don't always go somewhere either. Sometimes we stay home, read, relax and watch movies or television that we didn't get to see earlier.

We try not to let other outside influences steal our time away either. We limit phone calls (I'm a pastor so sometimes there are emergencies), online efforts, housework and errands. We try to make sure we have time to talk, leaving room for heavier issues but not limiting ourselves to that. We laugh a lot and talk about non-work, non-people things rather than ministry.

And there is something about having a day that we know is out there waiting for us that makes challenging times a bit more tolerable.  We know that a reprieve is coming so we can take a little more pressure for a time if need be. And even if our getaway time gets robbed because of events we can't control it is so ingrained in us we gravitate to it immediately the next week.

I fear that many, if not most couples, in this 21st century, have relegated time for each other to we'll-do-that-when-we-get-time or once-the-kids-are-grown or some other fantasy-laden hope that will never happen. It's not that you can't afford to take time for each other. You can't afford NOT to have it. You'll have to make it happen even if it means letting go of something else.

Marriages don't deteriorate for no reason. They fail because we don't give them time, priority and intentionality. So don't wait!  Start somewhere. Maybe you can't give a whole day yet. Then find a couple of hours or a morning for starters.  But write it on your calendar.  Let you kids know you are working more at being together. You'll be modeling something for them to take into their marriage.

I'm pretty sure it will be a habit you're glad you started.  Try it.

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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