Today I want to throw out a little challenge for you all! Lately, I have been doing my best to keep from rushing through life. Growing up I always struggled with enjoying the present. At 8 years old I was planning my sweet 16 birthday party. At 18 I was dropping serious hints to Logan that I was ready to get married, right away! And now as a married woman I find myself desiring motherhood. I often need to be reminded about the importance of the here and now. So that is what lead me to this post today. I am challenging not only you, but myself too, to enjoy marriage to the fullest!
Whether you have been married 40 years or 1 year, I think these tips will help!
Take that vacation time! I recently heard a statistic about how most people don’t use the vacation time allotted to them from their work. I can’t recall the exact numbers, but I was very surprised! If you aren’t able to get the vacation time then take a weekend getaway! You can even spend the weekend exploring the tourist attractions near your home.
Along with adventure, you need time to relax too. Life can get so busy going here and there so be sure to carve out intentional time to relax together. I’m not talking about sitting on the couch on your phones either. I have found that some of our best conversations come when we just lay in bed after a long day and chat. No phones, no TV, and no distractions. We simply enjoy listening to each other and sharing our hearts. We have also relaxed by reading a book called, Becoming Who God Intended by David Eckman. We are reading it for a class, but it is a great way to relax and be productive by gaining knowledge about God.
Often times you will see articles about how important it is to have a monthly date with your spouse after the baby is born, but I am here to tell you it is just as important before! Setting intentional dates is crucial to enjoying your marriage. Switch off choosing dates too so you can do a little bit of what each person likes. Since it is just me and my husband, I will often brush things off that we do casually as a date…Instead I am challenging myself to have intentional dates. It might mean going to get ice cream after dinner, grabbing our picnic blanket for a picnic at the park, or even making a meal together. Whatever you choose to do, make it intentional.
Take the time to plan surprises for each other! Make his/her favorite meal, plan a surprise date, or dress up in something sexy. My husband has a job where he gets fancy snacks in the break room so every once in a while he will surprise me by bringing one home for me! It may sound silly, but something as small as that brings me so much joy! Another great idea would be to order a new game and ship it to your house with their name on it so they get a surprise package when they get home! You could order whatever you think they might like, but games are a great idea because then you get to play after they open it! Some of our favorite games are Bananagrams (of course), Boss Monster (this one is kind of embarrassing…), Farkle, and Othello.
Good Ole pillow talk is a great time to think back on some of your favorite memories. We often get caught up in the day to day that we forget to appreciate the little moments that made us smile. Just last night Logan and I were talking about all the good and the hard things that happened while living at our old house. From relaxing on the hammock to waking up with a tree on our house. We had so much fun recounting the moments we had there and how we grew through them. If you have trouble recalling then I suggest grabbing a journal to write down things that made you smile throughout the day before going to bed at night. I am often surprised by the things that brought me the most joy.
The moment Logan walks through the door I do my best to make him laugh. It has actually become quite a challenge because usually I can’t use the same line twice. After a long day at work Logan can sometimes come home just feeling worn out, but on the days where I am able to make him laugh his mood instantly changes. To give you an example of how easy this can be I will tell you my favorite one that made him laugh. It was a couple weeks ago and I hadn’t thought of anything yet, but the moment he walked through the door I could tell he was pretty tired from the day. So I looked across our tiny kitchen over to our doorway and said, “Hey there bud!” in the most goofy way possible. For whatever reason he thought it was hilarious and started cracking up. Instantly his mood was changed! Find every opportunity you can to make each other laugh because those are the memories you will reminisce on.
If you are married then you know the importance of giving grace…a lot. Our human nature tends to be stubborn and do everything you can to get your way, but I believe that is where the beauty of marriage comes in. If you truly want to enjoy your marriage then you have to give grace continually. When things get hard, remember to give grace as needed. And to make sure it is being reciprocated as well. I know there are extreme cases where you might be thinking there is no way I can give grace to them. I want to encourage you by saying there is no shame in getting counseling. But when it comes to those daily things you might find annoying and want to complain about…instead give grace.
As I mentioned above, rushing is one of the main things that will take away from you enjoying your marriage. When we are constantly desiring and wishing for things to be different or to move on into the next stage in your life, then you are missing out on what is right in front of you. If you have been following along on my other posts then you probably know how much I want to have kids. So much so that some days I find myself dreaming of what it would be like until it consumes my mind. In those moments I have to fight the urge to rush into the next stage and remember the joy that I get to have in my marriage right now. While it is just the two of us. Or if you have kids then I encourage you not to rush into the next stage of parenting with your spouse. Instead enjoy the parenting you get to do together during this stage in life because before you know it, you will already be there.
Often times we may conceal how we are really feeling because we think our spouse wont care or can’t relate. In order to fully enjoy your marriage, you need to let your spouse in. Tell them the things that aren’t going well for you and rejoice in your victories. Be honest and real with your spouse because odds are they want to know what is going on. If you have a problem, but you don’t want to tell your spouse because you think they are just going to try to fix it and not truly listen then tell them a head of time! Let them know if you need a listening ear or a problem solver. If you communicate your expectations then you can better care for each other.
When it comes to marriage, we often know the things that can drive our spouses nuts. For example, if I put the toilet paper on “upside down” then I know Logan gets frustrated because to him the other way is the “right” way. I could care less so I make a point to always put the toilet paper on the “right” way. In order to enjoy my marriage I will make comprises so I can keep us from being upset with each other. In the same way, Logan knows I am not a morning person so when I am first waking up, he is very calm and gentle with me. If I really want to sleep in then he will even wear his watch to bed and have his alarm set on there so I don’t hear it. I’ve been saying it all along, but the little things we do for each other go a long way.
I have only been married for about a year now, but I know the importance of each of these things within our marriage. It can be so easy to seek out negativity in each other and talk about all the hard things, but today I wanted to focus on all the things that bring joy to a marriage. Each of us may have a little bit of a different list, but I believe if you are both seeking the best in the other person then you will find the enjoyment that comes in marriage.
What are some things you do to enjoy your marriage? I would love to hear!