Linda and I went out of town this weekend to finish up a project I’ve been working on for my sister the past couple of months. We worked most of the day painting and sanding drywall, and then we went out to dinner at a local pub both Saturday and Sunday night. Outside of the hard work that we performed, it turned out to be a nice weekend away together. We don’t often get to get away together alone too much due to all the extracurricular activities our children are involved in, along with just being plain busy with work and everyday life.
We spent some quality time together working, talking and having a little bit of uncontrolled sex for a change. It’s obvious that we need to do more of this on a regular basis. It was also obvious that NOT doing things like this contributed to our marital problems and my emotional infidelity.
Do you remember when there were no children in your life? Hanging out with your spouse was your first priority. You had fun going on dates. You had time to talk and share with each other your day’s events. And sex was something you looked forward to. And then along came kids. Suddenly, life became centered on your children. Time for each other as a couple was rare.
Author Lori Radun suggests that if you think that once the kids leave the nest that you will automatically go right back to where you were early in your marriage? Think again. If you and your spouse plan to be a happy couple after the children have left, you need to grow and connect with each other today. While there are no guarantees that you and your spouse will be one of those cute, old couples you see in the movies there are things you can do to increase your odds:
- A healthy marriage has unity. Always think of your spouse as a teammate. Create a marriage with a shared vision and shared goals.
- As spouses, you should be best friends. Your marriage is a place for intimacy, and being intimate means sharing completely and honestly who you are – your feelings, likes and dislikes, your dreams, and what is important to you. Intimacy happens when both people can share anything and feel safe in doing so. You and your spouse will always be growing, so take the time to understand each other in every way – socially, emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. Intimacy is only achieved by spending time together regularly.
- Safety in marriage comes from knowing you can trust your partner completely. Being trustworthy means you love and respect your spouse. You keep your commitments and strive to treat each other with compassion and understanding. Your spouse needs to know without a doubt that you are not going anywhere, even when the going gets tough.
- Every marriage has conflict and every couple has differences. If you are going to grow and connect with your spouse, you have to learn to work through your disagreements. Make every effort to understand each other. Understanding comes about when you can listen with your heart. It’s so much easier to brainstorm win-win solutions when there is a clear understanding of what is important to each partner.
- Speaking of differences, the healthy couple accepts and embraces each other’s strengths and weaknesses. If you think about it, there is a positive and a negative to every quality. When one spouse has a perceived weakness, often times the other spouse balances it with a strength. Encourage the development of your spouse’s strengths and be patient with the weaknesses.
- When you spend time getting to know each other and sharing yourself, you will naturally feel affectionate. Sexual intimacy is an important element in marriage. In order for women to desire sex, there needs to be healthy emotional intimacy. And men typically achieve emotional closeness through physical intimacy. It is important for each partner to work to satisfy the other’s needs. Make the time to ignite the passion.
It is important for a couple to grow together, but it is also important for each person in the marriage to grow individually. It takes a lot of hard work and maintenance to make your marriage thrive, but it is well worth it. Linda and I are now making a conscious effort to spend quality time together and it is paying off!