Don’t Let it Die

Old post I forgot to post.  We have some friends getting married this weekend.  I am always the queen of long emails or long cards.  So naturally I try to cram in as many encouraging words as I can in their wedding card.  As I was writing I realized it was something I wanted to write on my blog.  Here is some of what I wrote to these soon to be newlyweds:

“As an old married lady- I was thinking about what things have helped our marriage grow and be healthy.  As pastors/leaders who have been in ministry for over a decade and over the years we have encountered many couples who are on the verge of splitting up.  So with our experience of 14 married years(plus 4 years of dating) and the wisdom we have gained in pastoring people, I feel like God has taught us a lot.

I heard something recently that sounds kind of cliche yet brilliant at the same time.  “The grass is not greener on the other side but greener where you water it.”  Growing a healthy lawn and a healthy marriage are similar in that it takes intentionality.  This analogy works in drought prone places like CA but not so much for lush places like NC. 😉   But in CA, one has to be purposeful in watering their lawn. We couldn’t just wait for the occasional shower to keep it green.  If we did that the lawn would die in no time.

I have witnessed relationships that are dry and close to death.  The once close best friends have become not much more than roommates.  The friendship has not been watered.

Some of the ways we have intentionally watered our marriage:

*  REGULAR DATE NIGHTS (once or twice a month, ideally once a week).  We need time to connect in a quiet, away place.  We need time to talk about our days.  We need time to dream together, laugh together and have fun together.

*  SCHEDULED TRIPS AWAY– this is a new one for us that I wished we started from day one.  It is now our goal to get away for at least one night a quarter(every 3 months).  We are best friends so our dates are never long enough so that is why trips are great for more time together.  One day that may include marriage retreats.

*  GROW TOGETHER – We like to do this by reading books together.  Sometimes they are relationship books.  I often like to real the whole thing.  Once I am done I then tell him the chapters that would be best for him to read.  No marriage is perfect.  Every marriage can grow and be strengthened.  We like to read other books that help us grow as a follower of Jesus or as a leader.  We also like to read the Bible, journal separately(like do SOAP-search soap on my blog for how to) and then come together and share what we learned

*  PRAY TOGETHER  Most often this just looks like sitting at the kitchen table in the wee hours before kids are awake and we ask the other how we can pray each other that day or week and then spend a few minutes praying.  Nothing fancy.

*  LAUGH TOGETHER–  This is a new one that I am trying to be intentional about.  So we watch comedians like jim gaffigan on netflix or funny youtube things(like Convos with my 2 year old).

We are by no means marriage experts, just old farts who have been married awhile.  It has not been perfect but it has been good, something to celebrate.