Wonderful to hear from our friend Kate Aldrich, adoptive mom and marriage blogger, for this month's Marriage Monday post. Check out Kate and Brad's blog, One Flesh Marriage.
~~And while we've got your attention, Registration for Hope at Home 2014 opens Thursday. So, check back here or on our Facebook Page. We are super excited and have a great giveaway for those who register in the next month.~~
It seems appropriate to talk about milestones, since we just planned our 15th Anniversary getaway. To say I am a little excited is an understatement. Five whole days with just my hubby, in a cabin, in the middle of nowhere-C A N N O T wait!
Every year we get away for our anniversary. Usually it is only a weekend and then every couple of years we try to do something longer. Whether it is going out to dinner or getting away like Brad and I are doing this year, wedding anniversaries are obviously a time when many couples set aside time to celebrate and be alone.
Brad and I find every excuse we can to celebrate “us”! We take every opportunity we have to get out and spend time, just the two of us! We are blessed to have the help of wonderful Grandparents. While we are looking for every opportunity to go on dates, they are looking for every opportunity to visit and spoil their grandkids! It works well and everyone is happy!
Beside our anniversary, Brad and I can come up with many other occasions to get out, just the two of us. There are birthdays, our first date, our engagement, Valentine’s Day, Flag Day (anything)! So my question to you is,
Do you take every opportunity you have to celebrate the milestones in your marriage?
I have found that many couples do not. Or if they do, it is time spent talking about their kids! It is a shame to miss these wonderful opportunities, these milestones, to connect on a deeply intimate level!
Protect Those Special Days:
We try to make sure we protect our special days. Our wedding anniversary is June 20th. When we found out that we were pregnant with our oldest son, we also found out that his due date was June 24th. After the initial excitement and shock wore off, both Brad and I said, “I really hope this baby is not born on our anniversary!” We talked about that many times throughout my pregnancy. I even prayed that God would allow him to be born on any other day! I know that seems crazy, and of course our son’s health and safety was of most concern, but we wanted that day to remain our special day. Our son was born on June 28th, so we were elated that our day was still “just ours”!
But our story doesn’t end there it gets even more interesting! When we found out that we were expecting our daughter, we learned her due date was August 4th. We actually said, “perfect”!! No need to worry about any special dates! Ha! Well, as it turns out I was very sick with our daughter and she had to be delivered via an emergency C-section. When do you think that was? Yup, she was born in June 21st! 6 ½ weeks early and only a few hours after our anniversary. I actually went into the hospital on our anniversary. All Brad and I could do was laugh! So much for our planning! We still laugh about the irony of this story! But to be completely honest, we still protect our anniversary! Our anniversary is an important priority and we will not let it get lost in our kids!
Have we always been this way, you may ask? Brad and I have always celebrated our special days, but since we have been open to God’s amazing plan for marriage, we have grown to be even more protective of those times, becoming very intentional about the time we get alone together. We cherish every moment and want it to be special! It may not always fall on the 20th, but we go no matter what. I know it seems like there are many obstacles in the way--time, money, child-care, etc. If you are creative these things are only obstacles that can be overcome!
Dealing With the Obstacles:
You can always find time, cancel whatever you have going on for a whole weekend (or at least an overnight). In future years, schedule a weekend off in advance. Making this a priority will show your spouse how much your value him/her and your time alone together!
If money is an issue, have your children go to someone’s house so that you can stay home alone, although there is something to be said for getting out of your normal, everyday surroundings. We budget for our “get-away time together” because we feel it is just as important to our marriage and our family vacations. Marriage time should not be considered an extra. Nurturing your marriage is a must!
If you choose to stay at your home, make it different and special. Decorate, clean, use candles, think of ways to make the time you have a fun, loving, intimate celebration of your marriage. Do things that you truly enjoy and maybe don’t get the opportunity to do very often.
Many couples say that childcare is a problem as well. I hear that, and recognize that Brad and I are very blessed to have amazing parents who love to take turns spoiling their grandchildren. If you don’t, find a couple in your church or neighborhood, someone you trust with your children. Ask them if they would be willing to watch your kids for the weekend or overnight. If they have children, offer to do the same in return for their anniversary or special weekend (this is great for date nights as well). If they have kids, don’t assume it is too much to add your kids to the mix. We have three kids and many times adding a few more for a day or two is really not a big deal. Not to mention that your kids get a “special” weekend as well! It is also another great example to your children about how important your marriage is, as well as setting a great example for their future marriage!
Don’t keep making excuses as to why you never go on dates or never get away together! You deserve to celebrate each other and your marriage. I truly think God is pleased when we take special time just for each other!
As I said earlier, Brad and I take every opportunity to celebrate. Not everything we do costs much or requires childcare. We love staying in, watching a movie together, reading together, sharing a quiet dinner, all of these things if set aside for just the two of you, is celebrating your marriage! We try to have a quiet dinner together, when the kids are already in bed, at least once a week. What do you and your spouse enjoy doing together? If you don’t remember, because too much time and space has come between you, ask yourself, what were the things that attracted you in the beginning? What were the things you enjoyed doing then? These interests grow and change as our marriage does. But thinking back to the beginning helps us to remember why we fell in love! I have found that I feel most blessed in my marriage when I do something for Brad that I know he loves. When I take the time and effort to carve out time for just us.
Go get your calendar, look forward to the milestones in your marriage. Spend some time planning together! Don’t let another milestone pass without planning something special to celebrate your marriage!