Picture it with me. It’s the beginning of a new month, and we are all looking around wondering how last month is already over. Just today, you have taken one child to the doctor, replied to 23 emails, dropped off a meal to a friend who just had surgery and cleaned out the car from last week’s snack explosion…did I mention that this was all before lunch? I am sure that this sounds familiar to you in some way or another. Maybe the details would change slightly, but if we are honest, we are all spinning in our own worlds of getting things done. The truth is that life is busy, and if we aren’t intentional with our schedules, they will take over our lives.
Statistics tell us that our marriages take a serious toll when we neglect one another. Essentially, we turn into roommates that pass each other on the way out the door each day. Your marriage cannot survive long term if you are just high-fiving one another in passing each day. There must be true connection. True investment. When you make dating your spouse a priority, it is amazing how other areas of your life fall into place. It does not mean that everything will magically get easier or you won’t have any obstacles to overcome, but being intentional is so important to the health of your marriage.
Each individual marriage has their own situations that come into play when it comes to dating your spouse. I do not believe that any couple would deny the importance of dating their spouse, but it does not take away the difficulty of it in certain seasons. If you have been married for any length of time at all, you have had an excuse or two of why dating “just isn’t practical or even possible right now.” Below are some common excuses that couples give for not having a regular dating schedule. Do any of these sound familiar to you?
- Lack of finances.
This probably hits every marriage at some point or another. Money gets tight and this is one of the first things to go. You don’t always have to spend money. Think of creative ways to date. Watch a movie at home after bedtime. Make a special dinner at home. Light a candle. Play a board game. Get creative. Find a few friend couples who would be willing to swap date nights and babysitting. Take a look at your budget and see if something can be cut . . . do you have a budget???
- Lack of time.
If we aren’t careful, our schedules will own us. We have to get good at saying no to some things so we can say yes to the most important things. Challenge: What is one thing that you need to say no to that is not necessary in your schedule? Although this is a hard exercise, it is really eye opening. We waste a lot of time and often don’t even realize it. If we are really honest, we will see that we do have time, even if it is limited.
- Kids’ schedules.
Ever feel like you are just an uber driver for your kids to get from place to place? That you have turned into a robot for the calendar? The struggle is real. Despite what you might think, you have control over this area too. Are your kids over scheduled? Do they really NEED that fifth extracurricular activity? Talk to your kids about Sabbath rest and the importance of building in margin. This could be an entire blog post on its own . . . we are responsible for teaching our kids this principle, and it is SO LIFE GIVING!
- Not able to find reliable babysitters that you can trust.
This is a really hard one! We have three kids, and I totally understand this. You might have to go back to the “get creative” portion of date night. Also, remember this . . . this is just a season. Your babies won’t always be babies . . . but for your marriage to make it long term, you need to make this a priority when they are young. Explain it to them. Kids are super smart, and they want us to be healthy too. Our kids actually ask us when we are going on a date if it has been a while.
Can I get a witness on this?? Phew!! Maybe try a lunch date and go to bed early! Haha
- Don’t feel in love with your spouse right now. Arguing a lot. Stressed and just don’t want to.
All of these things are real. Maybe you need to pick up a marriage book to do together that will bring you back to what is important. Think back to the early days when you couldn’t get enough of each other . . . have a conversation about what happened? What can you do to move back to that time? Ask friends around you to pray for your marriage. Have hard conversations with your spouse. Express your feelings at their current state, but express that you don’t want it to be this way. BE HONEST! Working on our marriage is so hard and can be painful. When we do the hard work and get down to the root of the problem it really can make a huge difference and breathe new life into yourself and your relationship.
- Don’t forget how to laugh
- Remember dates when you first got together. You might not be able to replicate this every week, but try to put something on the calendar that will be special.
- Realize that this is a long-term investment. There will be ups and downs.
- Be willing to put the hard work in. It is worth it! Definitely not easy, but worth it.
- Have you brought God into this equation? What type of heart work do you need to allow God to do in your life so you can have a healthy marriage?
- Join a community that loves you and will encourage a healthy marriage and pray for you if you do not have that.
At the end of the day, this is much easier said than done. I am not writing this to you from a place of perfection on this topic. I recognize that this is an area of struggle. Let us come together and decide that we will make the investment, do the hard work, pray, and ask God to do miracles and give wisdom for creativity. I believe in this! Do not let this make you feel like you have a horrible marriage if you haven’t gone on a date in a while. We just want to start the conversation and help you make it better one date at a time. Praying for you!!
“Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Written by: Taran Nelson. Taran is the Executive Director of Fathom Family Foundation and serves in ministry with her husband, Rev. Kyle, and their three children in Jacksonville, FL.