We have been blessed with a 6-year-old and two preschoolers, but struggle with finding time and creative ways to connect as a couple. Any suggestions?
Did you hear about the little girl who came home from elementary school and excitedly told her mom about the story of a Princess who fell asleep and was awakened by the kiss of a handsome Prince. At the end she asked her mom, “And do you know what happened them?” Her mom answered, “And they lived happily ever after?” “No” the little girl responded, “They got married.”
Just as there are seasons in the weather there are seasons in a marriage. When you have young children a marriage can be like a roller-coaster. They’re fun to ride but not fun to live on.
For far too many couples, even Christian couples, the fairy tale ends as the family grows. The problem isn’t marriage or having children. The problem is that we haven’t been taught how to navigate the often wonderful and sometimes scary rapids of growing an intimate marriage while raising a young family.
Intimacy doesn’t just happen. In Colossians 2:2 Paul talks about our hearts being “knit together in love” and that’s an ongoing process. It takes time. It starts with making a mutual commitment to having a Christ-centered (not schedule-centered) marriage and family and then learning how to plan around your couple times and not squeeze them into an existing schedule.
What can you do? Bump this up to the top of your prayer list. Find at least three couples who will agree to pray daily for you. Hold hands more. Set regular date nights. Play together. Exercise together. Be silly. Enjoy some sanctified hedonism. Talk about some of the stuff that used to crack you up when your were dating.
Get some fresh ideas. I’ve had many couples tell me how much they were helped by reading and discussing Quiet Times for Couples by Norm Wright, and 52 Ways to Connect as a Couple by Jay Payleitner.
If you aren’t cultivating relational growth, your will experience relational atrophy. In the words of Ephesians 2:20-21, God wants to do “above and beyond all that we ask or think” in your marriage relationship and a few simple choices will help you grow in that direction.