Life has been flying by at a frenzied pace lately. Not sure if it’s the same for everyone but I’m fairly certain we’re all in a very similar boat here. We have pressures from work and home life. The yard needs mowed and flowerbeds need constant attention. The kids’ schedules are filling the calendar and the weekends are already showing signs that this will be a busy season for you! Your older kids need some attention but your younger ones need a whole new level of attention. All of this and we haven’t even considered your personal time or the time needed to invest in your marriage!
Just reading all of that and putting my own personal details into that equation is nearly exhausting! It’s tempting when life gets filled with activities like these for us to short cut somewhere. We rush through the game with our daughter, only pretending to give her our attention. We half heartedly listen to our son as he shares some exciting news about something that’s really of no interest to us. We talk to our spouse while scrolling facebook or replying to emails. We speed through the lawn or just kill the flowers. We neglect our health because we’re too busy. Shortcuts are all around us! But shortcuts often lose teh most basic elements of what’s important. So let’s get back to some basics.
As a pastor, I spend time with couples before they get married. I have a rule of thumb. I really dislike weddings. I love starting marriages but severely dislike weddings. The wedding is a one day thing that costs a lot of money and if not properly prepared for won’t last long! In the premarriage prep time, we talk about some basics for a healthy marriage. So what are a few of these marriage basics that are simple yet not always easy?
- Communication. This is a huge one! Communication is so important. We have a saying in our house. It’s not just what you say but how you say it. And it’s super important. Our words are very important so choose them wisely! But equally critical are the ways we say them and the looks on our face when we talk. Communication is the whole package of talking, standing, body language, facial expression. All of it! Without good communication the whole ship will sink! Take time to communicate. Have regular check ins. Talk about your day. Share highs and lows. Demonstrate genuine care for each other through shared stories.
- Listening. The other half of communicating is what we do with the information we receive. Listening is more than just the auditory function of sounds coming into our ears. It’s the reflection, summary and return of information back to the other person. It’s called active listening. When we actively listen to our spouse, we take the guessing out of the equation. It’s asking clarifying questions. Repeating what you’ve heard.
- Shared Time. This is a pretty challenging one especially when you look at the list of things growing on your calendar. Everything and everyone is vying for your attention and it’s easy to just shelf time with spouse for another day because they’re always there! This is one of my biggest short comings (and boy is this a growing list). Setting aside time for and with yoru spouse is vital. This week we’ve been able to experience some kid-free time and it’s been wonderful. We took time to go to dinner and just walk the mall. We shopped and talked and just found some time for uninterrupted time together. Having this time with my wife these past few days makes me realize that this is a basic that I need to keep alive!
There are so many more things we can do that are basic to a relationship that I didn’t cover this week. We’ll likely come back to them at some point in the future. But for now, pick one or two of the things that you don’t do anymore with your spouse and restart it today! There’s no time like right now to get back to the basics!