Top Priority: Remembering Your Spouse
- Cheri Swalwell Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2012 5 Sep
Genesis 2:18: “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him’” (NIV).
In honor of my husband’s birthday, and us just celebrating our 13th anniversary earlier this month, I want to take you on a stroll down memory lane with me today. Not so much so that you get a glimpse into our lives, but so that it will make you stop and think about your own journeys with your own loved ones.
When we were dating, it was very easy to make our relationship my number one priority, second only to God. I would anxiously await the mail every Tuesday because I would get letters or cards letting me know that I was being thought of. The weekends were spent hanging out with my now-husband and his best friend. We would rollerblade, go to the park, and spend time at the beach…building memories to last a lifetime.
It was fun to listen to all their stories, learning some of his “favorites.” I loved getting a chance to surprise him days or weeks later with a surprise. One time specifically I went to the mall and had fun buying him stuff “just because.” I guess I went a little crazy in Bath and Body Works since he started to question whether or not I thought he smelled bad. He didn’t - I just went wild with their great sale. Being together was definitely my favorite thing.
Then we got married…first one, then two, and then three kids came. Work got busier, schedules filled up, and then we added the kids’ activities too…well, I don’t need to remind anyone about how crazy life can get. And, even though my husband is still the most important person to me besides God, I don’t always do such a great job showing him that. By the time the kids’ problems are resolved, laundry and other chores are completed, dinner cleaned up - where is there any time to make the one I love feel special?
There are many articles out there talking about how there needs to be regular date nights to keep the spark alive, but in all honesty, I can’t seem to schedule regular haircuts, let alone find the time or money to schedule elaborate date nights even once a month. Our idea of a date night is dropping the kids off at his parents’ house (next door) and running a few errands together.
Even though I agree that date nights are important, I don’t think it has to be elaborate all the time. Sometimes, depending upon the kids’ ages, taking a walk down the street and leaving old-enough children at home with a walkie-talkie is spontaneous, cheap, and a fun way to reconnect with your spouse. If the kids are too little, strap them in a stroller and take the walk, while your little one(s) eat a snack or read a book. We love to go hiking. When our oldest kids create adventures far enough ahead of us, that gives us uninterrupted time to laugh and talk keeping them safely within eye site. Sometimes, sending our kids to their rooms an hour or so before bedtime to watch a movie gives us some alone time to enjoy a favorite sitcom. That is little, but it speaks volumes. It shows my husband that I am putting him and our relationship before our children. It doesn’t matter so much what you are doing as the fact that you are purposefully doing something.
I used to worry that I was sending a message to our kids that they weren’t important and only their dad mattered. But I’m finding that there is quite a bit of research out there to contradict that false mom guilt. An excerpt below proves what I’m saying:
“Marriage is the foundation upon which your entire family is structured…In addition, your children will greatly benefit from your stronger relationship. Children feel secure when they know that Mom and Dad love each other…When you make a commitment to your marriage, your children will feel the difference” (“How to Have a Happy Marriage When You’re Busy Parenting” by Elizabeth Pantley).
It is just as important for my husband to feel like the king of his castle as it is for our children to see their father in that role. Our kids need to see that I respect and honor their dad. Part of that respect means carving out specific time just for him, or buying him little treats to let him know that he is being thought of during the day. There are times I will go out of my way to pick up his favorite snack “just because.” Each of these little instances doesn’t take too much money, but leaves a big impression on his heart. They let my man know that I love him just as much as I did when we were dating and that my love for him keeps growing. It also shows in the way I drop everything to help him find his belt or the fact that I make his lunch every day before work, as I have been doing since the day we got married.
When the kids are a little bit older, we will have more time to travel “just the two of us” and probably more time for those regularly planned date nights too. For now, I pray that my husband feels loved by the specific things I choose to do on a daily and weekly basis to keep our love alive just like we did when we were dating.
Lastly, I pray that I am modeling for the “future wife” in my daughter how important it is to nurture the relationship she has with her husband, second only to God. I also pray that my sons are learning how to nurture their “future marriages” someday by watching their dad and I keep each other first priority, second only to God. That is, after all, what family should be about - making sure each person feels valued, secure, and loved, each in his or her own place.
Having said that, were any of you able to walk down memory lane about your own dating and marriage experiences? Are you remembering any special times from the past that you want to relive with the most important person in your life? There is no time like the present to start.
Cheri Swalwell describes herself as a Christ follower first and foremost, wife, mother, and avid reader. She has been blessed to be a guest on a variety of blogs including here at Crosswalk.com/family and Christiandevotions.us. If you want to hear more about the heart she has for marriage, parenting, and relationships from a Christian perspective, feel free to visit her blog or “like” her on facebook.
Publication date: September 5, 2012