This week we’re discussing things we do to make our marriages work.
I’m feeling a bit uninspired this week. We’ve had the worst snowstorm all winter the past few days, in spite of the fact that it’s the middle of April. So this means 12 hour shifts for the husband, and it means my winter “widowhood” has peaked and I’m BURNT out. Poor Littles… they aren’t getting the best side of me this week… Sigh.
Now, I feel like many of the cornerstones of a good marriage are pretty basic. Good communication, putting the other before yourself, date nights, intimacy. All great in theory, a lot harder to practice day-in and day-out. Especially once little ones are added to the mix.
All those things are great, and truly, we try to check in with each other on each topic several times throughout the year. But Jon and I have two things that have really worked for us...
The first we borrowed from a friend, and once we instilled this in our own marriage, it was a night and day difference. The rule goes something like this… “Whatever is said between the hours of 10:00pm and 6:00am cannot be held against the other person. What’s said during that time frame is said in the heat of the moment, and doesn’t count.”
Once babies are added to the mix and sleep has become a once-upon-a-time fantasy, tempers flare and emotions run high. Folks, some of the things Jon and I have said to each other during the midnight hour would make your toes curl. Then someone’s feelings get hurt, a grudge is held, and it goes downhill from there. In fact, half of the time, Jon doesn’t even know/remember what he said to me. And when I not so nicely remind him of it the next day, he feels horrible!
So when a friend let us in on this secret of hers, I jumped on it. It made a huge difference! I’m not saying that its an excuse to have a free for all, but its great reminder to offer some grace when you know something wouldn’t have been said had the spouse had a full night of sleep.
The second is very important to us. In fact, we both said this is the most important thing to us and its what makes our marriage work.
We give each other time off.
Several times throughout the year, we give our spouse time off. Whether its for a whole day, or a whole weekend, we allow each other to have time alone. We don’t need to be Employee, Spouse, or Parent during that time. It is wonderful!
Jon takes a couple of weekend fishing trips a year, with his brothers or friends. It allows him to relax, to enjoy doing what he loves, he recharges, and comes back a much happier, rested man. The same is true for me… Coffee dates, lunch dates, movie dates, weekend conferences. All allow me to breathe a little, focus on myself for a bit, and its usually enough time to make me miss my people like crazy.
And the best part of it? Its guilt-free time. In fact, I think that part of it is key. In order for Jon to truly enjoy his time away, I leave him alone. He never (or rarely) has to worry about what I’m upset over, or what we’ll fight about when he gets home, or if I’ll throw this back in his face. I think its this attitude that has Jon excited to get home to us. I can’t tell you how many trips he’s cut short because he missed us and was ready to come home.
So there you have it. Some of the little secrets that make our marriage work. Just remember what I said during the first week, it might not work for all marriages. Know yourself and your spouse well enough to know if these will work for you two.
Please head over and visit the other ladies participating in this marriage series with me. Mandy, Jenna, Shay, Lindsey, and Megan. I’m especially excited to read about your little secrets too. I’m always looking for new ways to make this relationship work a little smoother.