Let’s start by stating the obvious…it’s been a little over 8 months since I have posted to Normal Marriage. I realized this when, on a trip back home, I ran into a niece who asked me if I had kicked her off my Normal Marriage mailing list, because she hadn’t gotten a new post in “forever.”
I could give you a lot of detailed reasons for why it’s been so long, but the long and the short of it is life crept in and crowded Normal Marriage out.
Ever had that happen? Ever had the demands of life crowd out your marriage? The demands of life come in all shapes and sizes…
- A new career you’re trying to get off the ground.
- A new baby that demands your time and attention.
- Home repairs or renovation projects.
- A much loved hobby or recreation.
- Aging parents that require more of your attention.
- Your kids’ extracurricular events.
- Prolonged illness or medical conditions.
- A busy school schedule.
- The fatigue that comes from all of the above.
All of these, and more, can creep in and slowly crowd out your marriage. How do you know when this is happening? Look for things like…
- Not spending as much time together.
- Not talking as much as you used to.
- A reduction in fun and laughing.
- More frustration with one another.
- A declining sex life.
- Taking each other for granted.
- Doing more resting in marriage than investing in marriage.
It’s true that there are some seasons of life where staying connected with your spouse is harder, but the quicker you catch it, the better off you’ll be. The longer you allow things to crowd out your marriage, the more difficult it is to reconnect and get back to where you used to be.
But, it’s never too late to start changing things and getting your marriage back where it should be. Start with…
- Prioritizing time with your spouse. Do whatever you have to schedule regular and consistent date nights for just the two of you. Claim 30 minutes of time each evening for the two of you to catch up…even if you have to put the kids to bed earlier. Put electronics down during times together. (I’ll admit, this is difficult for me.)
- Limiting your kids’ extracurricular activities. I know this is not a popular idea. We all want to give our kids everything we can. But the best thing you can give your kids is a mom and dad who spend relaxed, quality time with each other. Not only that, but when kids’ calendars are packed, it can increase their stress levels, reduce their rest, and eventually make it difficult for them to slow down later in life.
- Making sex important. There is a correlation between marriage satisfaction and sexual satisfaction, so don’t let other things push sex to the back burner. Decide as a couple on how frequently you would like to have sex and stick to it. Plan for it. Schedule it on the calendar if you have to, but don’t let anything rob that from you.
- Learning to let some things go. You only have so much time and energy to go around…especially in busy seasons of marriage. So you may have to let some things go for the sake of keeping your marriage front and center. The house may not be as neat and clean as you would wish. You may not get to fish or play golf as much as you would like. You may need to forego that new house or car so you have the extra time and money you need to get away more often.
Though I know I probably won’t be perfect at this, I’m going to try to do a better job at keeping life from crowding out my posts…and my marriage. How about you?