Monday, March 12, 2012
The Marriage Secret...
Don't tell anyone this...
But I'm about to tell you the secret of a good marriage......
I don't believe that we possess any secret to a good marriage.
When Stuart and I did our premarital counselling, the pastor said that there would be ups and downs...topics that were hard to deal with and kids and time issues...and...and...
It was enough to make a person second-guess the idea of getting married.
But if you can face all that (and more), then you're on your way to a good marriage, right?
God is what makes a good marriage, our pastor went on to say. If He is the center of it all then the rest will "fall into place."
One of the studies we participated in while at our old church was on the Gary Smalley book, Love Is a Decision. (Awesome book if you've never read it!)
Love and marriage take work. There's never a moment when you can just slack off and say, "Forget it. He (or she) can love me now. I'm so finished." It's tempting at times...but very damaging.
Smalley said that love is a decision that we must make moment by moment. Sometimes we'll make the right choice...sometimes we won't.
But it's a choice.
Love is more than just saying "I love you."
It's choosing to make time for each other...as hard as that is sometimes. It's not being satisfied with the status quo.
But it's also the giving of time.
Sometimes we need those moments to be alone, especially after a grueling day of work or with the kids. It's allowing that person some space to regroup and "rejuice" away from the hubbub of family life.
And it's building specialness into the ordinary, seeing the beauty where it might not be visible in a flashy neon way and finding the fun in the simple stuff.
Stuart and I decided before we ever had kids that we would try to make time for each other after they went to bed. That meant that they needed to go to bed at a slightly earlier hour than most of their peers -- ie. what our parents would have considered the normal bedtime hour. It didn't always happen (especially if sleep claimed us soon after they went to bed), and it took some practice as we incorporated each one of them into our families' routine.
Sometimes it even meant that we had to change around our own routine... do "our time" while they were still awake, chat over a cup of coffee and a special "adult dessert" while they played together upstairs.
It was never that we didn't want to spend the time with them. We've made family dinnertimes a priority since Day 1. But we knew we needed that time together...alone.
Over the nearly 16 years that we've been married, we've had many times when MDT (Mommy-Daddy Time) got thrown out the window. We were too busy, too tired, too whatever.
But we always come back to the idea that we have to find, no, make the time to be together.
In recent years, it started again with the show, 24. That became our Monday night time together after the kids went to bed. But as the seasons wrapped up, we realized that we would no longer have that time together. So Stuart suggested a "movie night" for us. We would take turns each week to choose a movie that we wanted to share with the other. Fun times, especially when Redbox sent us free movie rentals!
Then came another blessing.
Emily turned 13 and took a babysitting course. We realized that a great way for her to practice was to "babysit" her brothers for us for an hour or so each week. We made that our "game night" at Starbucks. So now she's 14, and she earns a bit of money, and we have some more fun MDT. Sometimes she even does it twice a week.
Love is what we all crave. It's how God created us.
And I, for one, am really glad!!