Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Marriage Insurance

I'm willing to guess that most married couples know that having quality time together is important. Yet I'd also guess that most couples do not have quality time together very regularly or as often as they'd like. If our family's life is any indication, there are lots of reasons for this: constraints in money and time, not always knowing who to ask to watch your kids.

The person who keeps me accountable to my self-care list often asks about Thomas and I having date time. Usually I have to admit that we didn't get out very often. But the last time I checked in with her, my answer was different. That's because this summer, Thomas and I had "date time" more frequently than I think we've had since Esme was born. Most of our dates consisted of our church softball games, but we also did things like go to a Sara Groves concert and a Twins game. And thanks to my parents, we had the chance to go on an overnight to Bemidji where we did a lot of biking. Though there were always a lot of good reasons why we didn't go out more often, I can honestly say that doing so this summer really made a difference. Even though we have a strong marriage, having that time together helped us feel more connected day to day.

When I told this to my mentor, she was happy to hear it. She told me that having couple time is like investing in "marriage insurance" and that it's the absolute best thing that Thomas and I can do for our kids. It's true- if you want strong kids and a strong family, it has to start with a strong marriage/primary relationship. I had never really thought of date night as marriage insurance before. But when you put it like that, even if a night out costs $40, that's still a pretty good deal.

The reasons I'm saying all of this during the first week of school, at a time when most families with children are scrambling to get into a new routine, is because this is the time when we all have to be intentional about fitting in those things that matter most, first. I've said this before in regards to finding time to exercise or pray together as a family. I think the same is true for couple time. If we don't fit it in from the start, our time will inevitably get gobbled up by something else. Something that might not have as great a pay-off.

If you're one of those people who want to spend time with our spouse, but sometimes have a hard time figuring out what to do when you do, I want to lift up The Great Date Experience. I came across The Great Date Experience a couple of years ago and, true to it's name, I think it's great. The dates are all laid out, so you don't have to worry about deciding what to do, where to go, or what to talk about. Lots of them don't require you to spend any money either. You can find more about The GDE and the individual dates here.

I encourage you to make this the year that you and your partner put some extra effort into spending quality time together. Whether it's once a month or once a week, figure out what works for you. Put it on your calendar, and consider it a non-negotiable. I can almost promise that your relationship and your child(ren)'s well-being will be better for it.

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