How to Host a Marriage Revival

He’s my best friend, my closest confidant, the guy who helped me get my only demerits in our strict college when his hand found my knee.

I’ve never regretted those marks my husband helped me get on my perfect record.

We’ve been together now nearly as long as we’ve been apart. We’ve grown into one these 18 years and I don’t know where he ends and I begin. I am 39 years old and I am beginning to understand Oneness.

And with all the familiarity, comes, well, familiarity. It’s not a bad thing, but the common can be too common. With three kids, busy jobs, Mercy House and now moving for the first time in 8 years, the distractions abound. Irritation and exhaustion are partners to distraction and we rub each other the wrong way over unimportant matters like where to hang a towel rack.

It started out as a convenience: timing our kids annual visit to their grandparents farm in Oklahoma within the week of moving into our new house, along with a few of my hubby’s vacation days. For the first time, our youngest would be old enough to join her siblings and stay without momma and daddy, running hay bales, naming baby cows and eating homemade ice cream. Ya know, suffering without internet and stores.

I was work-focused, a list a mile long. It didn’t occur to me until he returned from delivering our kiddos to his farming mama how significant this week would be.

He walked in slow, voice husky, house quiet and for the first time since we started birthed babies more than a dozen years ago,  I realized we would spend the next four nights and four days in our house alone.

!

I don’t think we knew how bad our marriage needed a revival. Sometimes you just have to hush the world around you. We didn’t recognize the dead places until we started to feel alive again.

After these days and nights together, where we have recaptured and remembered some of what we’ve lost in this hurried life, it’s like we’re living a new production of an old play.

We are in synch again, leaving the little irritations little. Why are we tempted to make the little big and the big little?

I catch him running hot bath water for me because he sees me massaging the muscles in my neck. This is big. He sees me. It touches something deep within me and the desire to give back makes my blood pound.

When I hear of marriages young and some as old as ours, ending, I break too. After so many years of trying to figure this out, we have discovered joy in the endurance. And if you’re not getting my point, let me just make it plain: marriage is like fine wine, every area gets better with age.

We’ve had the bad, the raw pain of a marriage so shattered, only God could mend the broken places. Maybe it’s so good after all these years because we remember when it wasn’t. I don’t know, but it makes me long for more.

This ebb and flow: it is good. We worked hard last week, sweaty from the hot Texas sun, exhausted from getting our house in order. We chased our confused dog around the neighborhood (twice) and laughed our way back home, excited about the renewal we experienced that mattered the most.

5 Little Ways to Revive Your Marriage:

1. Go out of your way to touch: Walk across the room to hug your spouse, hold hands every chance you get, kiss in the kitchen, whisper in her ear, make him blush, push yourself out of your comfort zone to physically connect, even for just a moment.

2. Get alone: Somehow, someway, make time together a priority. If you don’t have family who will take your kids for a day or two, find good friends to switch with or a trusted babysitter. Regular date nights are a must and an occasional overnight alone, even better.

3. Give up the excuses: Skip the illusion that it must cost money to kickstart your marriage with fancy restaurants (our favorite $11 meal was the highlight of several “dates” last week) and exotic trips. We fell in love again at The Home Depot, y’all. As we drove to pick up our kids, hands touching, he said, “this week was the best I can ever remember.”

4. Go slow: There so much noise in our lives, we are ruled by distraction, always rushing. Be purposeful and quiet the distractions. I confided to my husband how I struggle with relaxing and letting go. I am so task-oriented and it perpetuates the fast-pace hurriedness. I am working on setting aside the lists and living more in the moment.

5. Get naked: I read this list to my hubby and said, “What would you add?” His quick answer, “When all else fails, get naked.” He explained that nothing renews his focus on our marriage like physical connection. We ended up having a really amazing conversation that was enlightening to both of us. Being vulnerable (emotionally naked, too) with your spouse is a great way to ignite the spark that leads to fire.

 


Comments

  1. says

    I really, really appreciate this post! I felt your every word. I just celebrated my 30th wedding anniversary…and like you said, “marriage is like fine wine, every area gets better with age.” Thank you for your written word.

    • says

      “marriage is like fine wine, every area gets better with age.”
      I absolutely second that. But like fine wine, it needs to be stored properly.

      • Kit says

        Thanks for the clarification on that, because at 10 years I’m finding it’s not getting better in every area so there’s more to it than just time, you’re right :)

  2. says

    sounds like a great time of reconnection! ahhhhh, i am looking forward to one of those overnight kid-less times… down the road with our newest one just 3 months old but i still look forward to it. some of our best connection times are talking in the car on road trips. thanks for the reminder to reconnect!

    my recent post: let’s keep our eyes on the prize

  3. says

    I had to laugh out loud at “get naked” but truly – isn’t that sometimes what’s missing most when we feel emotionally distant? (P.S. sent this to my hubby ) :)

  4. Linda says

    Thanks for the reminder. I too am very task oriented. I adore my husband but sometimes need to be reminded to step away from the tasks and lists and just enjoy this wonderful man God placed in my life 29 years ago.

  5. Erin says

    Some of the best marriage advice I’ve had comes from my dad: don’t have a TV in your bedroom. If you need entertainment there, make your own. I think that covers physical connection and get naked! Thanks for your post. Glad you had that time together!

  6. says

    We have been blessed with some great friends that have taken our kids for the week so my husband and I can have some us time. It’s been long over due. Great post!

  7. says

    our old sunday school teacher use to tell us that we should meet our spouse at the door in saran wrap when things were stressful. I did not think anything of it until years later

  8. says

    Super post. I was one of those people who scoffed at the importance of “alone time” for couples. I didn’t think we had the resources to do it, but I was wrong. Some opportunities fell into our lap over the last year and the alone time has nourished our marriage in ways I didn’t expect. I won’t neglect that again!

  9. says

    We have little habits, like kissing goodbye, even if we’re just leaving the room, or holding hands when we’re near each other. It’s a little odd, but sometimes building habits into a relationship keeps you connected. It’s something you can count on, even when life gets hectic.

  10. says

    This is great, everyone should read this. The Lord has been laying this on my heart as well, connect with him, love him, support him it is helping our marriage grow stronger. Thank you for taking the time to write this.

  11. says

    So beautifully said and lived! God is so amazing that He tricked you guys into thinking this was about the kids going to grandma’s and moving, and it was really about the two of you. God is so good.

  12. says

    Thank you for saying every area gets better with age. I feel the same way but I feel like all people ever talk of is the difficulties of marriage. Yes, it takes work. But the work makes it worth it and makes it better every year.

  13. says

    Yes, yes and YES! to all points. My husband went away for a weekend back in June – our first time since having children 5 years ago – and it was such a blessing. It reminded me of so many times before the children came into our lives and became such a big priority. Our marriage is a big priority, too – and it’s so easy to forget during the day-to-day. Thank you for the reminder. My husband would definitely agree with his last tip ;-) (and me too!)

  14. says

    These are wonderful insights. From the divorce statistics, I guess it’s pretty easy to let the romance and closeness slip away in the everyday busy-ness of life. My husband and I will celebrate our tenth anniversary this December, and I was recently reflecting on how much we’ve grown as friends and lovers in the last decade. The analogy of marriage being like a fine wine also came to my mind. I’m so happy for you and your husband and so encouraged to hear of another couple who are happily married after 15+ years! Thanks for sharing!
    ~Sharon

  15. Kit says

    Thank you for your posts on marriage. I’ve been struggling in mine lately and appreciate all the perspectives I can get! About a year ago we went away for a week together, leaving the kids with Grandma, and had done that the year prior also. Now this year we won’t get that chance and while I understand most people very rarely do things like that, it’s been very healing for us and I’m learning that we need to find a way to work that into our daily lives instead of saving it all up and hoping for a once every year or so getaway that may or may not happen. Because that’s not working now ;)

  16. says

    loving this post today. So powerful and true, brought me to tears when I read that part about you and your husband driving to pick up that kids and your husband said, “this week was the best I can ever remember”. So sweet. Thank you for the reminder to find love in the simple things like a hug. Just beautiful!

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