In today’s world it can be so hard to find time for each other! When you are dating it seems second nature to schedule dates and when we are newly in love it seems second nature to find a way to spend every possible second with the person we can’t get out of our heads. Does it have to be any different once you’re married? No! It doesn’t! While more and more responsibilities may come into our lives, we are still capable of prioritizing the second most important relationship in our lives. (The first would be your relationship with Jesus.)
Prioritization IS key. If you don’t prioritize your relationship with your spouse, your relationship WILL suffer for it. Sometimes this means making tough cuts, such as changing jobs so your on the same schedule, giving up activities or opportunities so you can spend time together. Saying no some events and changing plans so you have some time for just the two of you. But other times you might HAVE to work opposite shifts. You may have a super busy month and feel like you got no one-on-one time together. What do you do then?
This post is divided into two sets of tips. 3 tips are about how to “align your orbits”. A term used by Louie Giglio in my favorite marriage sermon I’ve ever heard, #Stronger. (I got to hear this message live when my husband, Zach, took me to Passion City church on our 1st Anniversary trip, and I highly recommend it. It’s available for purchase from their website for $1.99, and I was able to download an audio version for free from their Passion City Church Podcast.) This term means to make as much of your life as possible happen in the same space and time as your spouse’s life. These are usually bigger changes in scheduling. The other 5 tips will be posted next week and focus on how to capitalize on time that you may not think about using, or that you may not realize you aren’t really spending with your husband or wife. Are you ready? Let’s go!
1) Have a Weekly Date with Your Spouse
I purposely avoided phrasing this “A weekly date NIGHT” because the point here is to set aside a couple hours each week that is as consistent as possible to spend together. It doesn’t have to be at night. It can be any day or time that works for the two of you. This is quality time where you focus on each other, and do something fun together, not to be productive or scheduled, but just goof off.
Zach and I worked opposite shifts until very recently. Monday through Friday we didn’t have much consistent time together, and Saturdays were usually spent with family, and Sundays we are usually at church most of the day since our church has two services and he usually has to be early to them as he volunteers with the lights. One night after church, we decided to order pizza and watch a movie. It was so fun to get to order our favorite toppings, not worry about the time constraints of cooking dinner and get to have time for JUST US to have FUN together. We ended up doing it the next week too. The week after that, I looked at Zach as we left church and asked, “You want me to order our pizza?” and he smiled and said, “Yeah.” and after a few moments added, “Hey Kate? It’s a THING. A thing we do. We have a movie night on Sundays! It’s a thing!” It feels so good to have time set aside to just hang out with your best friend and give yourself permission to have no responsibilities.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t have to be some proper “date night” where you dress up and go to a restaurant, even though that’s fun and has it’s own important place too. But you need to pick something that you can DO CONSISTENTLY. For us, we got out of church at 7-7:30 pm, and I had to be up for work at 6 am the next morning, so we only really had about 2 hours if we went to bed on time (usually not the case though, haha) but we got to look forward to it all week and we knew that time was OURS. Sometimes that meant not going out for a late dinner with friends after church, but it was worth the sanity that it gave us all week. It was worth it to have time with each other. To reconnect with our best friend.
Do something fun. Do it every week. Look forward to it and guard that time. Fiercely.
2) Have a Hobby in Common with Your Spouse
Have a recreational hobby that you do TOGETHER. This needs to be something that you both enjoy. If you both have separate hobbies that you don’t really do together, it is great to get a little more involved and do those together too. But, this point is focused on having a central hobby that the two of you can participate in without it being a sacrifice for the other one. Here’s an example:
John likes to fish. Jane likes to garden. They both want to spend more time with each other, so they try to get involved with each others’ hobbies. But somehow fishing and gardening together aren’t quite cutting it. Suddenly John and Jane have an idea! They both love the outdoors, so why not start a new hobby they can both enjoy? After discussing some different ideas, they decide to start mountain biking together because they both enjoy it!
Okay I know that’s maybe a little over-simplified, over-exaggerated… I don’t know, over-something! But the point is that having something fun to DO that you both care about makes a big difference. It centers you. It reminds you of the things you have in common. It puts you on the same team by having a common goal that is important to both of you. This should be something fun, but it can be productive too. This is something you DO together. Maybe you both like a certain sport, or have always wanted to try ____. Anything. Something that has interested you both. Camping. Scuba diving. Taking an art class. Walking together. Hiking. Building models. Maybe you’re both into home renovation. Learning a new language. Golfing. Geocaching. Volunteering somewhere.
There are all kinds of things to do together. Just try something new together and find a hobby you both like. The point is to have an ACTIVITY that you can both participate in. There is a time and a place for a marathon of your favorite TV show, (like in the above point) but a hobby puts you on a team together to accomplish something. Don’t be afraid to try a few things before something really sticks.
3) Make it a priority to eat together
Whether it’s just the two of you or you have a whole mess of kids, family meals make a difference. Put your phones away, turn off the TV, and eat a meal without any distractions. If you’re the couple who has crazy schedules and always eat at different times, then just set a goal of one meal a week and work up from there. Maybe it’s breakfast before church on Sunday, or lunch on Tuesday. Maybe it’s having dinner an hour late so you can have your favorite meal together. This is something that can make as big of a difference as you let it. We all have to eat, and most of eat three times a day. That’s 21 opportunities a week to spend a little extra time with your best friend.
Alrighty, so there are a few ways you can shift your lives to line up a little more. Now what about those areas of potential time that go unused? That will be explored in Part 2, next week! I hope this has given you some ideas to how you can spend more time with your best friend.