Bills need to get paid. Crying babies need to be fed. Relatives come for visits. The boss man asks for more overtime to be worked.
Before you know it, you have gone a few days without having a long, meaningful conversation with your spouse.
By the time both spouses are ready for bed, they are exhausted and need to just close their eyes. They haven’t made much time for each other.
Can you relate?
MARRIAGE IS A WHOLE ‘NOTHER BEAST
I remember when I dated my wife, I would text her or email her on my breaks at work, and then meet her for dinner afterwards. We would spend many evenings together, talking and doing different activities together. Just the two of us.
Then I would talk to her on the phone while she drove home. Most of my time was spent with her.
But once we got married, and especially having our children started arriving, our time was often spent elsewhere.
After awhile, the overtime piled up and I became preoccupied at work. Meanwhile, my wife was kept busy with the little people in our home needing attention.
It was as if I was married to my job and she was married to our children.
The intimacy was lacking. Not gone. Just covered up.
I know we are not the only ones, maybe you can concur?
MARRIAGE ADVICE WE NEEDED
We sat down with our priest a couple years ago asking for his advice on finding a compromise. How do we balance our time?
After all, we need to pay our bills. We need to provide for our children. How do we make sure to spend enough time with each other, so we don’t grow apart? What does that look like?
Our pastor gave us a new way to look at our marriage.
He suggested we focus on each other and meet the needs of our spouse. Let that be the primary focus each day.
Yes, the kids are important, and they surely will be tended to and cared for. But more than needing individual attention all the time, the children need stability. They need to see that dad and mom’s relationship is stable and that they love each other.
Our priest recommended looking for things to do each day that will please our spouse. It may not be how we prefer to do things, but our spouse wants them that way, so we go along, without being asked.
For example, if the husband likes the car being parked in the garage, then the wife can park it there when she gets home each time. If the wife drinks tea after dinner each evening, then the husband can anticipate this and prepare it for her each day. The examples are endless.
FATHER KNOWS BEST
Speaking for myself, this attention on my wife was exactly what I needed, as I slowly learned.
Instead of becoming preoccupied with myself, turning all my attention to me, as I tend to do, I was forced to anticipate my bride’s needs. For me, that was and remains hard to do, sometimes.
I often get anxious thinking ahead of all the tasks I (think I) need to complete that I lose sight of enjoying the present moment. Learning what true love is has really helped.
As a married man, I am called to lay down my wants, my desires, my needs, and my cares for the service of my wife, first and foremost, and for my children. If I don’t get to do a relaxing activity as I had planned or get to eat at the restaurant I desired, that’s okay. I am here to serve them and lead them to Heaven. I don’t need to get my way all the time.
Not to put words in her mouth, but I think my wife would agree that our pastor’s advice was a Godsend. She was reminded that her vocation was, first, to be my wife, and then to be the mother of our dear children.
The children, she learned, would get taken care of, but her focus needed to be on my needs as well. Learning this balance has helped her to feel more fulfilled in her vocation as wife to me and mother to our children.
My wife is a great cook, but she changed up her menu to cook foods I enjoy, not just ones she enjoys. She joined my fantasy football league—not because she loves football or can name you more than five players in the NFL—but because she knows it’s something I enjoy and we can do together. As an added bonus, it’s fun to see my wife beat out my male family members to make the playoffs in our league!
This is not to say we have this all mastered and we have the perfect wedded bliss. Rather, we are flawed human beings trying to work together to get our family to Heaven by God’s grace.
I know I have work to do on our marriage. I wish I made more efforts to go on dates more often (anyone want to babysit for us?). But we’re a lot better off, following our priest’s advice, by remembering to whom we are married. It’s not to our job or to our children.
Can any of you relate?
Any particular challenges your marriage faces, particularly in the area of making time for each other?
How have you learned to overcome them?
Please share by leaving a comment!