I vowed at a very early age that I would NEVER marry a minister.
I’m not sure why – maybe it had something to do with the idea of living in a fishbowl. Anyway, you’ve gotta love God’s sense of humor because when I met this really cute pre-ministerial student my first year of college … I threw my vow out the window and there was no looking back.
I remember during our early years together having long deep conversations where we worked to solve many of our personal problems and most of the world’s problems. We just loved being together. I know, young love … right?!
How to Make Your Marriage Thrive When You Don’t Have Time
But after we were married, one of our greatest challenges became trying to stay closely
connected when we could no longer find time for those long conversations we loved so much.
At first, I was teaching full-time and he was going to school. Fast forward a few years and
besides raising little ones … we were serving in ministry together. Rev was working a 40+ hour week for one ministry while serving at our church part-time and traveling two or three weekends a month. I was teaching part-time and trying to keep things running smoothly at home.
We were like a couple of planes doing fly-bys.
Not only did we lack time to talk things through … I wasn’t very good at returning the leadership role to Rev when he was at home.
Bottom line … good communication is hard when there’s no time to communicate!Bottom line ... good communication is hard when there's no time to communicate! Click To Tweet
If you’re nodding your head in agreement, thinking – that is soooo where we are right now, I’d like to share a few things we tried that helped us. (Yeah, I’m going to spare you all the things that didn’t help. You’re most likely figuring those out on your own!)
Make Your Marriage Thrive When You Don’t Have Time
3 Things to Refuse
First… Refuse to Feel Sorry for Yourself.
Oooh, I struggled with this one. It’s hard when you’re tired, lonely, and feel like it’s impossible to get everything done.
I had to refocus my attention on what I could do, and learn to ask for help when I needed it, and intentionally started counting at least three blessings every day.
“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. But, it is what you think about.” Dale CarnegieIt isn't what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. But, it is what you think about. Dale Carnegie Click To Tweet
Second… Refuse to keep score.
Forgive quickly and then let it go!
I’ve learned it’s easier to be generous with my forgiveness when I remember just how much I need it myself.
“Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through
Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32
Third… Refuse to complain about your spouse to anyone … ever.
Never air your problems in public. Not even to your girlfriends. It’s tempting, but once it’s out there you have no control over where it goes!Never air your problems in public. Not even to your girlfriends. It's tempting, but once it’s out there you have no control over where it goes! Click To Tweet
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful
for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29
3 Things to Remember
First… Remember there’s a spiritual battle going on.
The enemy is constantly trying to defeat and discourage us. It shouldn’t surprise us that he is trying to hurt our families by attacking our marriages.The enemy is constantly trying to defeat and discourage us. It shouldn't surprise us that he is trying to hurt our families by attacking our marriages. Click To Tweet
“If you make a promise to God, don’t be slow to keep it. God is not happy with fools, so give God what you promised.” Ecclesiastes 5:4
Second… Remember God is with you.
The enemy may seem strong but God is stronger. He is with you, He loves you and your spouse, and He is fighting for you. We can trust Him to give us what we need to enjoy blessed relationships.
“Don’t be afraid of them, because the Lord your God will fight for you.” Deuteronomy 3:22Don’t be afraid of them, because the Lord your God will fight for you. Deuteronomy 3:22 Click To Tweet
Third… Remember you’re on the same team.
I know there were times when I just had to remember that the Rev and I shared the same dreams and were working together toward the same goals.
Sometimes we just need to remember we’re family!Sometimes we just need to remember we're family! Click To Tweet
‘We are, all of us, utterly committed and deeply devoted to our “style,” our “way,” our “approach to life.” We have absolutely no intention of giving it up. Not even for love. So God creates an environment where we have to. It’s called marriage.’ John Eldredge
3 Things to Do
Do – Pray for your marriage and your spouse.
I’ve seen amazing things happen in marriages when couples pray with and for each other.
Pray that both of will be close to God and ask Him for His guidance and protection,
“Looking for a good way to pray for your wife (husband)? Try praying based on the first letter of the day of the week Sunday pray for her (his) Spiritual walk. Monday pray for her (his) Moods and Mental health. Tuesday pray for her (his) Thought life. Wednesday pray for her (his) Weaknesses to be healed. Thursday pray for her (his) Time usage. Friday pray for her (his) Friendships. Saturday pray for her (his) Sexuality.” Paul Byerly
Do – Schedule Date Night.
Rev and I scheduled weekly at home date nights. We’d save dinner until after the kids were in bed, lit a couple of candles, and slowed down long enough to bless our relationship with some much-needed adult conversation and a little romance.
“When two persons can share from the very center of their existence, they experience love in its truest quality. Marriage is a venture into intimacy, and intimacy is the opening of oneself to another.” David Augsburger
Do – Flirt with Each Other.
On the phone and in person. Don’t ever stop doing the things you did early in your relationship that let the other person know you love them! It’s playful, it’s fun, and it can keep the spark alive when you’re busily running in different directions.
“Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him
leave.” Martin Luther
Say and show “I love you” often.
I love the following quote by Stephen Covey – it applies to both men and women and it’s true!
When you and I show love through words and actions … the feelings will follow.
“My wife and I just don’t have the same feelings for each other we used to have. I guess I just don’t love her anymore and she doesn’t love me. What can I do?”
“The feeling isn’t there anymore?” I asked.
“That’s right,” he reaffirmed. “And we have three children we’re really concerned about. What do you suggest?”
“Love her,” I replied.
“I told you, the feeling just isn’t there anymore.”
“You don’t understand. The feeling of love just isn’t there.”
“Then love her. If the feeling isn’t there, that’s a good reason to love her.”
“But how do you love when you don’t love?”
“My friend, love is a verb. Love – the feeling – is a fruit of love, the verb. So love her. Serve her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her. Are you willing to do that?”
― Stephen R. Covey
I’ll admit, more to-dos in an already overly busy and overworked relationship don’t sound helpful.
Most of these things only take a moment or two … they’re about changing the way you act—trusting it will change the way you feel.
Rev and I have been married for 46 years and we still believe these things are important no matter how much time we are able to spend together.
About the Author:
Deb Wolf is a passionate blessing counter who loves to study the ways faith and life intersect. This year at Counting My Blessings, she is SEEKing God’s will – one day at a time.
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33
Deb lives in Missouri with her husband and furry child, Sadie now that all of their human children are grown and have little ones of their own. And yes, being a grandparent is the best!
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