Craig and I have had a lot of fun together over the years. But those fun times didn’t just happen. We’ve had to be really intentional in how we spend our time together. Before we had kids, when we had time on our hands, we used to enjoy some great, drawn out games of chess — yes, seriously. And of course, we’d spend most of that time talking. Now, whether it’s something as simple as taking a walk together, playing tennis together, or even occasionally working out together, those opportunities we take to enjoy some time with each other often evolve into amazing, relationship-building conversations.
After twenty-odd (and I do mean odd) years of marriage (just kidding, Craig), I know our marriage is stronger than ever because we regularly prioritize our time to enjoy each other. We’ve always been best friends. And because we continually choose to invest in reconnecting, we expect to stay close.
Distractions are rampant. Life happens. And we’ve had to learn the hard way, unfortunately, how important it is to guard our time together. And when you don’t, you can bet you’re going to see the negative impact cropping up in your relationship. When you don’t spend time together, it’s those little bits of shorthand communication between the two of you that suffer. The shared concerns, the inside jokes, the way you’re both attuned to the other’s feelings. When you lose these, it creates distance between you, a distance that you both can feel in your hearts.
I think the most important advice I could offer to couples is simply this: prioritize your schedule.
Quality time together is crucial for a thriving relationship. If you neglect each other, even for just a short season, then your relationship is likely to suffer significantly for it. For your marriage bond to grow stronger, you have to be intentional. If you find yourself in a really busy season of life, understand that it’s normal. But don’t settle for normal.
Accept the responsibility to invest in your romance. Make a plan. Schedule it. Then stick to it.
What was it that drew you to each other in the first place? I’ll bet it was fun, wasn’t it? No matter how things feel now, in the beginning, you just couldn’t get enough of each other. I believe the key to why that was true is that you were on a pursuit to know and be known. You have to work to keep that alive by making time for each other now, just like you did then. Creating fun moments to engage in together positively influences every other part of your marriage.
Physical intimacy is directly related to your pro- cess of growing together, and it can be a good indicator of how healthy your relationship is — or isn’t. In fact, if physical intimacy has been a problem lately in your marriage, I’d be willing to bet that you’ve neglected being emotionally connected in other ways.
I understand that sometimes a spouse may have baggage from their past, and if that’s you, I pray you’ll seek healing through Christ. God can renew your mind and heart completely through his powerful, living Word. I know. He did this for me. The truth is that physical intimacy in your marriage is holy. It’s a powerful way that you can both grow in Christ and a great way that you can minister love to each other. Avoiding healthy physical intimacy hurts both of you, and could allow negativity to creep into the other parts of your relationship.
So make fun times a priority in your marriage. You be the change. Aim to get back to that place where you are best friends, laughing together, snuggling, looking to each other for comfort and for joy. If you can be honest with yourself, that’s what you really want anyway, isn’t it? Then what’s stopping you?
God wants you to have fun in your marriage!
Watch the From This Day Forward Video
Excerpted with permission from From This Day Forward by Craig & Amy Groeschel, copyright Zondervan.
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If you’re single, what kind of marriage do you look forward to? We bet you want a fun one! If you’re married, are you having fun with your husband? No matter how busy you are, or how wild the kids are, or how exhausted you are from working, running a thousand errands, cooking, and being intentional about quality time with your family or friends, are you making playing with your man a priority? Come share some ideas for having inexpensive, creative, and fun dates with your spouse on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Faith.Full