Jill: I recently put out a question to my friends on Facebook, asking them about a date Mark and I are planning a No More Perfect Marriages Seminar. When I asked who would be interested in attending a marriage weekend on a specific date, the responses began rolling in. There were many positive responses of interest but also a lot of folks shared the conflicts they would encounter that weekend. Some indicated that it conflicted with hunting season (which I know is a somewhat limited timeframe). Other’s indicated it conflicted with sports season, or the harvesting season.
Mark: When Jill shared with me the mix of responses, I said to her, “So…when is it marriage season?”
Jill: When Mark said that, I knew he was on to something! You see, there’s always something that will conflict with making time for each other. A.L.W.A.Y.S.
Mark: It doesn’t matter if it’s planning a date night, setting aside time to talk, getting away for a weekend, or attending a marriage seminar, it will nearly always require some kind of sacrifice, because there will nearly always be other options for how you can spend that time.
Jill: With this in mind, here are some tips for moving your marriage to the top of the priority list:
- Put your marriage on the calendar FIRST. Sit down this week and get your date nights on the calendar for the next 12 months. YES, THE NEXT TWELVE MONTHS! Plan from July 2017-July 2018. And then PROTECT those dates fiercely. Once you do that, get some sort of overnight getaway on the calendar during that 12 month period (you’ll have an anniversary in there…right?). And what about some continuing education for your marriage? What marriage seminar can you attend together? Check out Family Life’s Weekend to Remember events or one of our No More Perfect Marriages seminars (Nov 10-11, 2017 Rochester, MN; Feb 9-10, 2018 Springfield, IL; Feb 17, 2018 Scottsdale, AZ; May 4-5, 2018, Claremore, OK; and May 18-19, 2018, Westerville, OH.)
- Resist the urge to think “we can do that after the kids are gone.” You’ll likely not have much relationship after the kids are gone, if you do that. Not only that, your kids need to see you take time for your marriage. You’re being a role model for their marriage someday!
- Realize that you’ll likely miss out on something. Ask yourself, “Is this repeatable?” If the answer is yes, then it’s okay to miss it on the rare occasion. One of ten baseball games might be an example. However, if it’s not repeatable, like your daughter attending prom, then adjust your date night or weekend getaway to make sure you’re able to attend the “not repeatable” event. The only way to find a “marriage season” is to interrupt another “season” that has repeatable events in it.
- Recognize the need to “die to self.” We’re naturally selfish beings. We want what we want. We struggle with prioritizing the right things. We hesitate committing to something because we’re afraid that something better just might come along. Jesus modeled “dying to self” in order to bring us life. We, too, have to die to self in order to bring our marriage life.
Mark: So when is it marriage season? When you and I determine it’s marriage season. When we make it a priority. When we put it on the calendar and protect. And when we’re willing to give up something good in order to invest in something better.
What about you? When will you make marriage season happen?
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