Anyone who has been married longer than a week knows that marriage is hard work. It takes a lot of care and maintenance to keep all the aspects of this complex institution running smoothly. And sometimes, even with tremendous effort, things can be bumpy. Storms come, complacency sets in, temptations rise, and selfishness erodes.
That’s why I try to set goals for my marriage every year.
This June, my husband and I will have been married for 5 years. For some of you seasoned couples out there, 5 years is chump change! No argument there! Nevertheless, I’m proud to look back on 5 years and see the ins and outs we’ve survived: a rocky start, living apart for the first two years, in-law strife, one crazy kid and another on the way, unstable employment, moving away from home.. need I go on?
Despite the ups and downs, I’m happy to say we are in a good place. What better time to invest in a more stable foundation? I feel like I say this a lot, but: Make hay while the sun shines!
My Marriage Goals For 2018
1. Go on weekly date nights.
Date night has been a struggle for us ever since our first son was born. Simply because my husband’s work schedule is completely unpredictable, making it impossible to plan date nights more than a couple of days in advance, which, therefore, makes it hard to get a babysitter or plan anything more involved than a trip to Wal-Mart or an unassuming dinner out.
And yet, making this time for being together one-on-one is critical, as I’ve previously written about in my post The Importance of Dating After ‘I Do.’ (Looks like someone needs to read her own post?!)
Consequently, I am determined to work at making date nights happen more frequently. *Fingers crossed*
2. Do a Bible study as a couple.
It has literally been years since my husband and I have done a Bible study together–just the two of us. We attend church together, attend small group together, we even engage in frequent theological and existential discussions together… but the last time we cracked a Bible open together? I really can’t remember.
3. Work on speaking my husband’s love language.
Finally, I’m taking a deeper look at how I relate to my husband. Unlike the other two, this marriage goal doesn’t actually require his cooperation. It’s just about what I can do to better serve him, regardless of his actions or attitude towards me.
Now, there are several dialects to his Love Language, and I plan to address all of them as best I can, but there is one weird thing in particular that speaks volumes to him. You really will never guess what it is.
Okay, okay, I’ll tell you. More than anything, a dirty kitchen–crumbs, specifically–bothers my husband. He claims it literally causes him anxiety to find crumbs on the floor and counters after a long day. For a long time, this REALLY bothered me–not the crumbs, but the crumbs bothering HIM. All the things I do for us and he can’t let a few crumbs go!? Especially knowing I spend half of my day in the kitchen?!
After stiff-arming his complaints for a long time, I finally decided to try a different approach. What if I put my efforts into the things that REALLY mean something to him and stop focusing on the things he never notices?
So, rather than dusting regularly, which makes no difference to him, or undertaking personal projects that only mean something to me, I started focusing the majority of my efforts on accomplishing the few tasks that he seemed to notice the most, i.e. wiping counters, sweeping floors, making certain he has clean socks to wear, etc. And the results have been astounding.
It’s amazing how the strife has been cut in half just because I take the time to wipe down the kitchen counters every night.
So, for 2018, I’m excited to do him one better and figure out what other little things make him tick and focus more of my efforts on THOSE tasks rather than on the things that only I care about. In other words: learn to better speak his love languages.
How Are You Making Your Marriage A Little Bit Better In 2018?
I’m interested; how are you working to make your marriage just a little bit better in 2018? Have date nights fallen by the wayside? Is your marriage walking through a spiritual desert? Are you learning how to speak your husband’s love language?
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