There isn’t a lonelier place to be than married and feeling alone. Real true connection doesn’t come from wishing and hoping for a fulfilling, passionate, devoted marriage. An authentic marriage comes first from God being No. 1 (in your life and in your marriage), quality, undistracted time with your spouse, and a whole lot of grace.
We often hear people say, “You guys have the perfect marriage! You’re so perfect!” thank you, but we are definitely not perfect. It’s by God’s grace, we have been able to navigate this thing called marriage. However, the key ingredient to our marriage (and we believe, in any successful marriage) is God’s being at the center.
He was No. 1 before either of us came into each other’s lives and He was No. 1 on our wedding day.Having consistent, devoted, undistracted, un-rushed time with our Savior is necessary for us to understand Him, to be reminded of the depth and sincerity of Christ’s love for us. The same goes for marriage.
How many times have you and your spouse arrived at the end of a busy week, and neither of you feel like you’ve had a real conversation? Being busy with daily tasks is a part of life, don’t get me wrong, but when it starts consuming every aspect of your focus, your marriage and your life — it’s time to rethink priorities.
It’s not easy setting boundaries. You may even face criticism from friends, possibly family and yes, even ministry leaders. But at the end of the day, you will answer to God about how you stewarded your marriage. Now, I’m NOT saying that you blow off your commitments and become a flake. What I AM saying, is that, if you find yourself in a place where you and your spouse feel more like roommates rather than husband and wife, it’s a good sign that you need some quality, devoted and undistracted time.
In the beginning of our marriage, Ryan and I set a few ground rules on our QT (quality time). Hopefully these might help you as they did us (and continue to do so):
- Quality Time at least once a week together: It was a time where we were simply together; dreaming, talking, laughing (sometimes arguing), and just absorbing time with each other. At different seasons in our lives, it meant a cheap dinner at home; other times it meant coffee. Many times it’s been driving in the car (we LOVE driving! BTW).
- Quality v. Quantity: One of the things I love most about our Creator is that He can do more in moment, than we can in 10 years. For marriage, it’s all about quality. There’s no magical amount of time that you should spend together to make life’s difficulties disappear, but spending time together (in prayer, over morning coffee) can make all the difference. Sometimes Ryan and I share a simple glance, and it melts me. As we continue about our day, completely in love, fully confident, and excited to get home to see each other again – our marriage grows.
- Love Letters: in the digital age, there is no replacement for a hand-written letter hidden in your spouse’s briefcase, lunch, etc. Let them find it as a surprise and maybe even allude to your QT together that you’ve set aside. Anticipation is just as exciting as the time itself.
- No Phones: This is a personal rule that Ryan and I have applied to many outings – I think it’s pretty self-explanatory.
- God Talk: We have found that questions like: “What have you learned about God this week?” or “What is God teaching you?” and “How can I pray for you?” are the most rewarding and bonding conversations you’ll have as a married couple.
Your marriage is worth fighting for! It’s worth, ignoring a call/text/email for a short time in order to grow your marriage. Trust God, lean on Him, work out your salvation together and love fiercely as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:22-27). Give it what it takes…TIME.
Question: How do you and your spouse spend quality time?
(Photo by Jeff Marsh Studios)