Last week we were able to get away for a few days on a vacation. It wasn’t long, but it was refreshing individually and maritally. Throughout our marriage we have worked hard to inject time alone into the rhythm of our relationship.
Are you two feeling disconnected? Are life’s responsibilities crowding out the time to be together that you desire? Then it’s time to re-evaluate how you’re living life and place a high priority on how you build your marriage.
In the Bible, the Gospel of Mark describes a season of intensive ministry for the disciples. The needs and demands of people were huge “because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat….” (Mark 6:31a)
That’s not unlike how life can be for us today, is it? We have children to care for and shuttle around. Household duties and projects need maintaining. Work requirements are never really complete. Everywhere we look there are demands for our time and attention. If we aren’t intentional in our marriage relationship we can drift into survival mode trying to satisfy every demand. Doing so we can miss the self-care for our marriage!
In the midst of the requests from all the people one would expect that Jesus would have the disciples keep pressing on until all the needs were met. But surprisingly, Jesus has no problem leaving peoples’ demands for attention unattended for a higher priority. He says to his disciples:
“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31b)
In over 30 years of marriage we have discovered that a key to marital health and connection is to get away by ourselves to focus on our relationship. Our lives are no different than yours. We’ve raised children, lived busy lives, juggled multiple jobs, and experienced the demands of work and ministry. But through it all we worked intentionally to carve out time to connect.
Here are some ideas on how we’ve made it work:
At the end of the workday when we were raising our children, Brad would greet them briefly when he came home. Then, Brad would say, “I’m going to talk to your mom for 20 minutes. I’ll come find you when we’re done.” The children learned to play by themselves, watch a movie, or stay busy until we finished talking. We found that this initial connection time each day helped us recalibrate our relationship so we were more present for the children.
Additionally, we were fairly disciplined with our childrens’ bedtime when they were young. Once they were settled we could grab a few more minutes to catch up, watch a show or relax together.
We made a commitment early in our marriage to try and have a weekly date night. We traded childcare with friends (free!) and would go play tennis (free!). Even tacos and an ice cream cone afforded us time to focus on our relationship and stay connected. You can read more great ideas from an earlier blog post on date nights here.
We believe that getting away together for a night, weekend or longer is important to build your marriage. The time spent in the car can stimulate conversation that may not happen on your weekly date night. Shared new adventures become part of your shared memories. You experience unhurried and uninterrupted windows for conversation. You even have time to rest.
Take time this week to plan how you two will get away to connect daily, weekly, and annually as you build your marriage!