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I once heard that a successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. If you've ever gone a month without spending any real quality time with your spouse, you know how negatively it can affect your marriage. All relationships need to be nurtured, and none more than spousal relationships.
Marriage was created to give people companionship: "It is not good for the man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18). A successful Christian marriage may be best seen as a triangle with God at the top and each partner at one of the lower corners. The closer we draw to God, the closer we'll be to each other.
Marriage is not a "done deal" at the altar, followed by happily ever after. It's a continuous, daily "I do." While it may seem impossible to spend quality time alone with your spouse, it can be done. It just takes a little planning and creativity. The following ideas can get you started:
Celebrate a monthly anniversary. Each month on the same date you were married, get a babysitter for the kids and go out on the town. Dinner, a concert, or even simple inexpensive or free dates—such as miniature golf, a picnic in the park, or ice skating—can do a lot to keep the flame burning. You're not likely to forget the reason you got married when you're both celebrating it monthly.
Attend a marriage/couples' retreat. Held year-round throughout the country, usually on weekends, these retreats often include inspirational speakers, beautiful scenery, good food, activities, and plenty of time to be alone with your spouse.
Give the gift of time. Surprise your mate from time to time by arranging childcare for the kids and giving your spouse the gift of time. Reschedule a meeting to spend extra time together. On weekends, forgo a favorite personal activity to spend the time with your mate instead. A gift of time speaks volumes and can do a lot to strengthen your marriage.
Attend a wedding together. You're likely to have the occasion to attend at least one wedding per year, so don't miss out. As you attend the wedding with your spouse, discreetly exchange your rings and silently renew your vows together while holding hands as the bride and groom say their vows. My husband and I recently attended a very moving wedding ceremony, and although we didn't pre-plan it, we held hands as we both silently renewed our own vows to one another. It's a great reminder of the marriage covenant and of all the reasons you got married in the first place.
Pull the plug. Once the kids are in bed, resist the urge to crash on the couch in front of the TV. Instead, put on an instrumental or praise-and-worship CD and snuggle together. Talk about your goals, dreams, and desires. Plan a future getaway. Spend some time talking about what you appreciate about each other.
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