Written by contributor Kris Bales, of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers
So, why am I talking about marriage on a homeschooling blog? Because, in the last couple of years, I’ve seen the marriages of several fellow homeschooling families end in divorce. Now, don’t misunderstand — I’m not saying that these couples didn’t take steps to guard their marriages. It’s just that seeing the fallout of divorce tends to strengthen my resolve to hold tight to what I have.
It’s easy, as a homeschooling mom, to fall into the trap of giving the best part of your time to your kids. By the time you’ve schooled all day, cooked the meals, done the laundry, cleaned the house, run the errands, and everything else that goes into managing a household, there can be little energy left for investing in your marriage.
It’s so important, however, that we do make that time. So, how do we invest in our marriages?
Read for Inspiration
Some of my favorite books on marriage are:
- The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. How you feel and show love may be completely different from the way your spouse perceives it. The best way to show your spouse how much you love him is by speaking his love language. My husband and I are polar opposites in this regard, so it’s important that my efforts to show him my love are meaningful to him.
- Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll. I’ll be honest – I just started reading this one last week, so I’m not finished with it yet, but it offers such great, practical, Biblical advice and answers all those tough, embarrassing questions that you probably wouldn’t ask your pastor.
- The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. What better way to love your husband than to pray for him? Stormie Omartian’s book covers a variety of different ways to pray for your husband (or wife – she has a book for husbands, too). This book is set up in a chapter-a-day format, so you can pray a different prayer for your husband each day of the month, if you’d like.
- The Power of a Positive Wife by Karol Ladd. I often tell my kids, “The only person you’re responsible for is you.” That kind of describes the premise behind this book – if you focus on being more positive, you can often change the tone of your home and your marriage.
Spend Time Together
It’s so important that we spend time – both quality and quantity – with each other…even if it requires scheduling time with your spouse.
Weekly in-house dates
No matter what your children’s age, if they’re still at home, it can be difficult to get out of the house alone together, but in-house dates can be almost as much fun. Order the kids pizza and put them to bed early or, if they’re older, send them to another part of the house with a movie or some video games.
Once the kids are fed, enjoy a nice meal with your spouse. Then, go to your bedroom, hang the “do not disturb” sign and just enjoy some time together. Watch a movie or a favorite TV show, play cards, give each other back rubs, just talk…or, you know, whatever.
Photo by Learning Lark
Monthly date nights
At least once a month, get a baby-sitter, leave an older sibling in charge, or farm the kids out for sleepovers. (Family or close friends with whom you can swap sleepover nights can come in very handy here.) Dress up and go out for dinner and a movie, dinner and dancing, a romantic stroll…whatever the two of you enjoy.
It helps to look at your calendar at the beginning of the month and go ahead and plan a day.
Try to get away as a couple at least once a year, even if it’s just a night or two. Last summer, my husband and I went on vacation alone together for the first time in years. While we missed the kids, it was heavenly to be just a couple for a week instead of the parents. We reconnected and found out that we do still have things in common and enjoy one another’s company.
Early in our marriage, my husband and I won tickets to a weekend marriage conference. One of the things that the speaker advised the audience was to attend at least one marriage conference a year, even if you didn’t feel like you needed it.
We haven’t heeded that advice as well as I’d like to report that we have, but we do go to marriage conferences as often as we can. No matter how long we’ve been married or how close we feel, we always come home from the conferences feeling more connected and sharing a better understanding of each other.
Your marriage is the core of your family, even for those of you living in a blended family. My mom and step-dad’s commitment to each other, even through the hard times, shaped my view of marriage as an adult. You and your spouse are teaching your kids how to love their future spouses. Let them see you love each other fully and deeply.
In what ways do you and your spouse invest in your marriage?