YOUR MARRIAGE FIRST
by Bob and Yvonne Turnbull
you noticed that too much hurry and speed of life can put a
serious crimp in a marriage? We often think we will
have time for one another when life slows down. Interesting
how that time never seems to arrive. Before we know
it we have drifted apart in our marriage.
keep a marriage going on a healthy and happy highway, each
spouse needs to make sure they are not under-committed to one another
and over-committed to the priorities of such things as work, hobbies,
church activities and sports events.
All are good things of course but we
can find that way too much of our time and energy are taken up
with them. That is why we have to make a conscious
decision to place our marriage first.
A number of years ago we found ourselves guilty
of drifting in our marriage and only giving each other leftovers.
And at times we did not even have any leftovers to
give. It was definitely a time for us to make a
started with something as simple as learning to schedule our
marriage first on our calendars. When
scheduling there were four areas we knew we wanted to make a change in
– and – WE DID IT. So can you.
TIME TO TALK
simply means every day we would connect with one another with
a personal, one-on-one time, and not just with one-liners as we pass
each other enroute to our other priorities
have a combination devotion and talk time when Yvonne is
fixing dinner. Our devotion time consists of
reading a chapter a day from the Bible and then discussing what we read.
We then have our prayer time together followed by
conversations on any and all subjects we have been saving up throughout
the day. How much time to set aside each day you
ask? Good question. The answer:
You two decide. Find out what is workable for you
both then make it a priority. For some of you it
will take some creativity.
for some of you who have children at home, this might mean
that your kids have an earlier bedtime so you two can have that quality
time together. Another idea is to set your alarm
clocks 15 minutes earlier in the morning, or, sit outside in your patio
while the kids are inside doing their homework or working on a project.
TIME TO HAVE FUN
When we were dating – we had fun. When
we were first married – we had fun. As the
years went by – we stopped having fun – and
started focusing on work and other priorities that replaced most of our
fun. Life became more serious and there almost
seemed to be a heaviness about life. Of course
there are serious moments in everyone’s life and of course we cannot
live 24 hours a day focusing on having fun only. Duh!
Since we became aware of our marriage becoming
bored and boring (is yours?) we started scheduling (yes, scheduling)
fun back into our marriage.
made the time to share jokes and cartoons we found throughout
the week. We got back to laughing together.
Strange to say that we almost forgot how.
We did zany antics in front of each other and
watched slap-stick DVD’s. And, oh yeah, we got back
to dating again. We would take turns deciding where
we would go, when we would go, and how much we would spend.
Then we would talk about it, plan it and build
anticipation. Wow, we got back to having some super
times together, focusing on each other and enjoying the mate God
blessed us with.
have two rules and only two rules
when it comes to dating. Our first rule is that a
date meant just the two of us. If we wanted to
include another couple, or more, then to us that would be a ‘social
event’ but not a date. Our goal for dating was to
spend quality time with each other.
second rule is when we are on a date we agreed (and you might
consider this too) to not talk about three
things: jobs, kids and money.
we know – what is left to talk about? LOL.
Since we talked on those subjects around the
clock, we eliminated them when on a date.
TIME FOR PHYSICAL INTIMACY
sure do not need to inform you that a sexual union between a
husband and wife is an incredibly created blessing from God.
Nothing can compare to it. It
brings such a sensuous closeness. How frustrating
it can become for one spouse or both of them to get their too-busy
lives so out of whack that this physical joy is put on the back-burner
During the day couples may think of a ‘hot time’
that night but by the time all the other activities and priorities are
handled they go to bed – what? – that is right – TOO TIRED.
to do something possibly novel? Try
scheduling sex! You read that right – schedule
it. Since not all physical intimacy is
spontaneous what is wrong with planning it? Example:
Think of the anticipation that will build as you know that “tomorrow
night is going to be a super hot night” (smile, smile). Then
when that day does come, well, throughout the day the anticipation
builds all the more for both of you until you are alone and loving with
that special union God gives a husband and wife. And yes the
Bible is very clear about sharing this unique intimacy with your spouse
- not with other people!
not forget to reserve some of your energy throughout the day
so you will not be ‘too tired’ for one another at night.
TIME TO SERVE TOGETHER
area that has drawn the two of us closer to each other, and to
the Lord, is to serve Him and do it together. Throughout
our marriage we have served in our churches wherever we have lived.
Being ‘people persons’ we have often served on the Greeters Committee.
We know a number of couples who have taken
short-term mission trips with their church. They
have all said that that experience was life-changing for themselves and
recently we have started serving as volunteers in our
community and have served holiday meals at homeless shelters.
(And that can be an eye-opening experience for
your children if you include them for this privilege.)
have also volunteered at major community events through a
couple of Chamber of Commerce’s in our area. These
opportunities afforded us (and you too) time to grow closer as a couple
serving and working together, plus meeting new people we would normally
not meet. We have had some solid ‘spiritual’
conversations with these new acquaintances – people who do not know
Jesus. Yet. This is a great way
to impact others with the love of Christ
In closing – Read and
reread the above and ask the Lord to guide you to improve in
the above four areas. Do not be fearful or hesitant
instead claim 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God has not given us a spirit of
fear (timidity), but a spirit of power, of love, and a sound mind (self-discipline).”
You CAN do it.