I remember being a little girl dreaming about getting married and how amazing it would be to one day bear the title of wife and mother. Fast forward and that dream came true as I have been a wife for almost 13 years and a mom for over 9. Recently, I was sitting with a group of people when one of them turned to me and said “I wish I had what you had, a marriage like yours.” For a second, I was flattered and then I was a bit saddened. I was sad because I realized like so many other things in life we tend to only share the good or bad but rarely do we share the journey.
As I’ve mentioned before my word for 2017 is intentional. I have done so well in many areas of my life, but there was still one area I was falling short. My marriage was taking a back row seat to my intentional living and I knew all too well that if I let it continue down that path, the road to recovery would be so much harder.
It was about a month ago while I was out for a run that the tiny voice in my head seemed to be louder than ever. I started to question my marriage and realized how much work it is to maintain. I was exhausted from a stressful week at work, kids that hadn’t slept well and a scale that was creeping in the wrong direction. To be honest, I was tired of being a wife and a mom in that moment and it was no ones fault except my own. It was in that scary moment as the hot tears rolled down my face that I realized if I didn’t become intentional, I was on the road to becoming a marriage statistic. I had two options at this point: to take the easy road of giving up or the hard road that involved becoming intentional and doing the work to make this marriage work.
Like many times in life, I chose the hard road and here is what being intentional in my marriage has looked like:
Sometimes it’s easier to hide behind the easy, surface level conversations, or to only talk about the kids. However, we had to agree to do more than that. We had to have hard conversations about our feelings, our expectations and our desires. We had to share our hurts and confess our short falls.
Find a hobby
One of the things we realized during our conversations was that we were disconnected. We love each other and we love our kids but we were at a point that felt like we had nothing in common. So we went on the search for something to do together. While I definitely know some may roll your eyes at this, we decided on dancing lessons. Yes, ballroom, cha-cha, tango, foxtrot dance lessons. It has been an amazing way to reconnect. We can’t talk about work or the kids when we are dancing because we are focusing on not stepping on the other person. There have been so many laughs during that time and the required touching hasn’t hurt either.
We realized for us sometimes it’s hard to find a babysitter at night for us to get out for a date, so we have started trying to schedule more lunch dates. These are the perfect opportunities to spend some time talking with no little ears around to listen. On our lunch date days it has also helped me feel more connected before I walk in the house and we are accosted by 3 tiny humans that require all of our attention.
Send a text
Sometimes just remembering to send an intentional texts throughout the day to say “hi” or “I was thinking of you” is enough to fill your tank in that moment. It doesn’t have to be lengthy or poetic, it just needs to be intentional and meaningful.
Create a schedule
For some of you this next one may be a little TMI, but if I’m sharing how I am being intentional this is a huge one for me. As a full-time, working mama with 3 kids, being intimate is honestly the last thing on my mind most days. However, over the years I have come to learn that it is my husband’s love language and one of the ways that he feels connected. So we created a schedule. I know, it doesn’t sound romantic, or spontaneous, but at this stage in our life, it is realistic and for us it works.
Marriage is a journey that includes flat roads and the heaviest road construction. There are detours and multiple lanes. There are times that the road seems easy and others when the road is hard and bumpy and you may want to turn back. The great thing is the destination on the other side of that bumpy road is filled with satisfaction that you made it and allows for a great story to be told.
I think as wives we need to do a better job of describing the journey. It’s not about bashing our spouses, because I don’t think that ever works, but it’s also not about hiding the bumps. It’s during the journey that people connect, find hope and courage and realize that the hills and valleys of marriage are normal and worth climbing.
How are you working to be intentional in your marriage?