Photo by pure julia on Unsplash
Photo by pure julia on Unsplash

Staying Connected as a Couple

Question

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?

Answer

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.

Gary J. Oliver, ThM, PhD
Executive Director at Center for Healthy Relationships | + posts

Dr. Oliver is the Executive Director of The Center for Healthy Relationships, and professor of Psychology and Practical Theology at John Brown University.  He has authored over 20 books and more than 350 professional and popular articles.  Dr. Oliver has over 40 years’ experience as a Clinical Psychologist, Marriage  & Family Therapist and Spiritual Director.  He leads seminars & workshops both nationally and internationally on a variety of counseling-related issues, healthy relationships as well as Emotional & Relational Intelligence (ERI).

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