I did some quick thinking today, as the subject of feminism and divorce came up with one of my sisters, and realized that five generations of our family include divorce. Oh my and yuck.
When I was told about the most recent breaking apart of a family, it was presented in a positive light, highlighting all the wonderful (!) things of the couple's divorce. It made me heartsick, but this is our culture's mindset: better to focus on the positives and ignore the drooling, fire breathing beast before us. I take divorce seriously. Broken homes and dysfunction are my heritage but it is not my destiny and a legacy I do not want to pass on to our children. I believe we should know our enemy as best as we can so he does not sneak up unawares. This is why I take the covenant of marriage seriously and why Sean and I honor our marriage.
When Sean and I married we didn't just make a promise to each other. For us, saying words in the front of a church was much more than that... it was making a promise before God and to God. I am not condemning or trying to judge those who have taken this route, indeed many of those I love deeply have found themselves here. I just really, really don't want to go that route in life.
All that said, I was asked how Sean and I make precious time for each other with a house full of boisterous children.
Most nights, except those when I need to run errands or Sean has a meeting, we spend time together after the kiddos have been tucked in. I'll usually try to have a special snack or dessert for us to share and we'll settle down together with a movie, knitting (me) or carving (him).
We have a very sweet babysitter and so every once in a while we get out together, just the two of us and little Addie. These are few and precious evenings.
Sean and I also enjoy working together. I love being able to help him on projects around the house, he and I both like to cook and bake, and in the warmer (oh how I miss thee) weather we will often take a walk around our property when the kids are in bed or get up early and sit on the big swing together with our tea or coffee.
We value the importance of intimacy in our marriage, not just physically, though that is a blessing, but in being open and honest and vulnerable with one another. This has been a big learning curve for me personally, as I've always been the type to keep a stiff upper lip and not let things affect me. Actually, as far as I've come down this road, Sean is still always asking me to talk with him and be open with him, so I have not yet arrived (and Sean's fabulous for keeping on my case, I know).
I think the best tip I have for having a healthy marriage is to respect and honor your spouse for who he is and the good you see in him and leave any changing to God. I learned a long time ago to not focus my prayers on "God change my spouse because he's ___________" sort of prayers. I do pray for God to bless Sean and lead and guide him but when we are having times of conflict, I'll ask God to change my heart and work in me. More often than not, the discontented heart is the heart that needs to be worked on. We are human. We hurt each other and can be thoughtless and careless. But we've learned to talk out uncomfortable things and to ask and give forgiveness.
How do you make time as a couple in your marriage, or what have you seen modeled by couples with strong marriages?