The other night James and I were talking about our lives, calling, and dreams God’s given us. James was feeling discouraged and unsure of his next steps and was sharing this with me. The next morning I was praying for him and his future and I asked God to give him an idea. An idea of something to do that would remind him of his calling, igniting a new passion and a refreshed mind.
An hour or so later James called me on his lunch break, he said that he was praying and had an idea. He explained his idea and his heart and asked what I thought. I shared with excitement what I prayed for that morning and how wonderful the idea was. James shared that while he was praying over his idea he asked God to use me as a confirmation because his idea was a little outside of the box.
Not only was it exciting to see God speak to both of us and use our relationship as a tool for confirmation, it’s also a moment that was used to bring us closer and make our marriage stronger. It’s having moments like this that moves our relationship towards Christ and centered around Him.
There are days where I see how I don’t connect with James. You know, where you essentially coexist and aren’t intentional about feeding into your marriage. Between our jobs, kids, the house, friends, family, and church- we are really strapped for time. We fill our schedule with things we’re passionate about but sometimes we forget to intentionally be passionate about our marriage. When this happens we feel the effects of it right away. The way we talk to each other changes, our patience is short, and our attention is spent elsewhere. We then take a step back and realize we need to invest in our marriage. We do, but then the cycle tends to repeats itself. We have learned to not only feed our marriage when it’s hungry but to continuously feed it so it’s always full.
Praying together is the foundational action all couples must take, including James and I. We spend time praying alone, but praying together nurtures the bond of us becoming one. We align our hearts with God by spending time alone with Him but as a couple, we need our hearts aligned to one another with Christ as the center.
I love sitting down with a good cup of coffee and just talking. Conversation nights is what I like to call them, James may call it my chatty nights ;). Before we were engaged we spent a year long distance, I was going to college in Florida and James was in California. All we could do was talk on the phone, and for one year- every day, we did just that. It was a sweet time in our relationship and is ultimately what prepared us for marriage. Now that we’re almost a decade into our marriage, we still need to be intentional with our conversations. It reminds me of the friendship side of our relationship and nurtures it so we may never lose it.
Investing in your children is something all couples should do, especially together. I know there are a lot of families where there’s a parent who is distant even though they live in the same house. I never want my children to be close to one of us and not the other. Family Nights are some of my favorite evenings and it’s these nights where James and I pour into our family. We all play board games or do a fun seasonal activity. Recently, we played Operation- you know that game from your childhood. James and I both thought it would be an easy game since it’s for children. Twenty minutes in we’re all struggling to get a piece out and laughing so hard. A child’s relationship with their parent(s) must be fed too. I want my kids to feel safe talking with us and we see we want to spend time with them. My prayer for them is to passionately serve Jesus and have our “parent only” relationship form into a blend of “parent/friendship” once they reach adulthood. James and I immediately feel closer to one another when we pour into our children, it nurtures the parenting side of our relationship and reminds us that we are in this together.
One of my favorite things is when James leaves me a thoughtful note. I particularly had a hard evening and James noticed, so the next morning I woke up to an encouraging note taped to our bathroom mirror. It was exactly what I needed that day and I’ve never forgotten. Randomly, I will send James a text to read when he wakes up, or he will send me one throughout the day or leave notes like James did that one time. It’s a sweet gesture that goes the extra step of expressing our care and support for one another. When James leaves these notes, it shows me that he not only was listening but that he cares to go out of his way to lift me up. Maybe you and your spouse’s love language differs than ours, so I encourage you to spend time fulfilling that area of your marriage. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of love languages I suggest you check it out here.
James is my best friend and I want the same for you and your spouse. I know things can get hard and marriages often go through seasons of struggle. James and I have been there, but even through it all, we saw God’s grace and felt Him while we walked through those rough patches.
There may be moments you wonder if your marriage will make it. I promise, it can as long as you and your spouse both want it to because Jesus wants the same. Whatever season of life you are in or whatever difficulty you are facing, you and your spouse can survive it. James and I don’t have a perfect marriage and to some, we haven’t been married that long, but I hope what I shared affirms your relationship or encourages you to take steps towards a stronger foundation.
My prayer for you as you enter a new year is for your marriage to be strengthened, refreshed, and renewed. And to know that no matter how many years you’ve been married, God can restore what is broken and birth a deeper love.