With a kiddo on the way… (Due September 1st) Jer and I have been thinking a lot about our priorities and how we can balance them before our family adds a member! We’ve been having frequent conversations about how we are spending our time, resources, and energy and how we can make prioritizing our marriage a reality as we transition into a new season of life.
Our desire is for our children to see oneness, unity, and love modeled in our marriage. However, we have been warned of the dangers of putting kids, jobs, passions, girls nights, guys nights, and/or extended family over our marriage. We have had many couples remind us that you become ONE with our spouse on our wedding day, you don’t ever become one with your children, your jobs, or your hobbies… So we’ve found ourselves asking these couples a few questions in an effort to lay a good foundation for our marriage as it transitions into parenthood. How do you put our spouse first? How do you prioritize your marriage relationship over all other human relationships?
Through discussion with couples who are older and more seasoned in marriage than us, we have established a few ways tp prioritize each other when the world and life circumstances tempt us to prioritize everything else…
We want to realign our priorities before we begin the journey of raising our first child.
Here are a few ways Jeremy and I are seeking to intentionally prioritize each other:
1. Unhindered time
We try our best to create time and space each week where we can get away (or stay in) and connect with each other through “unhindered time” – aka quality time, and this never happens on accident… Unhindered time was really hard for us during our first year of marriage while we lived in Los Angeles because we literally worked polar opposite schedules. I worked weekdays 3 am – 1 pm and Jer worked evenings/nights and mostly all day on the weekends (often traveling). After experiencing the ramifications of not prioritizing quality time together, we finally discovered a sweet spot in our schedules that we could commit to weekly. For us, it was brunch after church on Sunday’s (as long as Jeremy was in town). Since quitting those jobs and leaving LA, we have found it just as hard to find consistent “unhindered time” together. This is something that we are committing to focus on in the coming months. Our lives have been a bit chaotic lately and we are craving consistency and a schedule. With a move on the horizon and the pressures of writing our first book, we have spent a lot of time together, but lacked unhindered time. I’d like to say we have figured out a consistent day to spend quality time together, but to be honest, we are still in the process of creating time and space for that. Do you spend unhindered time together each week? If so, what does this time look like for you? Do you go for a walk, cook a meal, play a game, or workout together? Join us in prioritizing your marriage through unhindered time.
2. By putting down your phones
How many of you have asked your spouse a question, and the response was silence…. then you look over and they are staring at their phone? This has been something Jeremy and I have been heavily convicted on this past year. Especially since launching Beating50percent and working from our phones and computers at home. We spend a lot of time being on our phones “together.” We are in an evolving process of setting boundaries for ourselves when it comes to phone usage around each other and at home. For example, we have set “no phone zones,” and designated times to turn off our phones (can you believe it!?!?) and put them in a drawer for the night. We live in a world where boundaries on phone use is a NECESSITY to a healthy marriage. It’s no wonder more and more people are struggling in their marriages because they “lost the connection” with their spouse….Dare I say this could this be because they had a stronger connection with their phone?! Just think about how much more time could you spend connecting with your spouse, if you cut the time you spent on your phone in half?
3. Through the little things
We prove our priorities through our actions. We’ve found that sometimes the littlest things make the biggest difference. Small actions that say, “I love you, I prioritize you, and you are worth it.” Consistency with the little things has been an appreciating investment in our love bank. Examples include; notes on the bathroom mirror, a passionate love text, a surprise gift, bring home their favorite dessert, a back rub without requesting to return the favor, fill up their car with gas or clean/detail it, or even just a hug/kiss.
4. The”principle of sharing”
“The Principle of Sharing” is coined from our favorite book, A Severe Mercy. Essentially, it is a willingness to learn/try things your spouse loves because “if your spouse loves something there must be something to love about it.” This principle is rooted in a longing for oneness. One of the defining characteristics of love is the desire for union – oneness. It’s the idea that togetherness in all things strengthens the bond of marriage, and deepens the intimacy of love. We’ve found that our oneness is strengthened through a willingness to embrace the principle of sharing. We have tested this principle and found it to be beautifully true in our own marriage. For example, Jeremy has taught me to rock climb, and I trained him for a half marathon. Jeremy introduced me to The Walking Dead and I introduced him to Fixer Upper. Jeremy made me love old cars, and I made him love cats. At the end of the day, both of us have grown to love each of these things together, and the process of coming to love these things has required us to put each other first.
5. Praying for and with each other
A true mark of how much you love someone is how much you pray for them. We must be prioritizing our husbands’ and wives’ in prayer! Pray for them, over them, with them, and “pray about it more than you talk about it.” Scripture tells us to pray fervently (James 5:16), and our husbands and wives should be at the top of our prayer lists. Here’s a few blog posts we wrote with example prayers to pray for your husband, and prayer to pray for your wife.
6. Navigator’s Council
Navigator’s Council is both a weekly journal and a weekly rhythm for your marriage. Jeremy and I have been doing this journal since we’ve been married, and it has been huge for helping us prioritize each other, and our marriage. The foundation of the journal is 6 questions that we ask each other, and record your answers to, each week. We use one (1) journal and take turns writing week by week. We believe in this practice so much that we designed and published Navigator’s Council Journals so you guys can share in the joys, growth, and understanding that this journal will offer your marriage! Each week also includes a short devotional (that we wrote) and a weeklong calendar to help foster good conversation and make sure you and your spouse are on the same page. Navigators Council Journal is a combination of all the above ways to prioritize your spouse. It has been, and we are confident will be, the number one thing that helps us put our marriage first. It’s a dedicated set-aside time to spend together each week, we do not have our phones during this time, it gives us ideas for how we can help/love each other through the little things, it reveals areas where we need to exercise the “principle of sharing,” and we always end our Navigator’s Council sessions in prayer! Put your marriage first and get your own Navigator’s Council Journal >>HERE<<!!!
Ask yourself these questions:
Is my relationship with my husband or wife my number one priority?
Are my actions proving that I’m putting my spouse first?
Talk about your current priorities and how you can realign them in order to put your marriage first. Share your thoughts and suggestions for prioritizing your marriage in the comments!
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