Today we’re working on the “Marriage” section of the Home Management Guide. I have no prescribed list of things for you to keep in this section, and of course, I recognize that some of you may not even be married. The “Marriage” section, for me, is simply a place to keep devotionals and articles about marriage that I find encouraging and helpful. I also have a copy of my favorite love letter from my husband here, because it’s inspiring and encouraging to read when I’m having a rough day. Of course, as with all HMG sections, you can put anything you want here. The point of creating this section is to make a conscious effort to work on your marriage, just as you do all other areas of your life.
Let me just say that I don’t profess to be a marriage expert in any way. I can only thank the good Lord for blessing me with a godly husband who I’m compatible with. This does not mean that we never have problems. Like all married couples, we have our share of trials and rough patches. However, we work really hard to solve our problems, because our marriage is our top priority.
A few years ago, we went to a Family Life Marriage Conference. I didn’t particularly enjoy this conference, for reasons that I won’t go into, but I did take away one important fact that has stayed with me ever since:
My husband is God’s perfect gift to me.
This includes all of him–his quirks, idiosyncrasies, strengths and weaknesses. Everything. He is my life partner, chosen by God, and no one in my life is more important than him.
I know what you’re thinking–”What about the kids?!”
My children are very important to me, but I’m learning that my husband must come first. This can be very difficult to come to terms with. I think I speak for all mothers when I say that the demands of caring for young children can easily crowd out everything else. At the end of the day, it sometimes feels like there is nothing left to give. Believe me, I understand. I can only say that it helps me to look at my marriage as the foundation on which my family is built. If the foundation is weak, the rest of the structure will crumble.
I think that the most important thing my husband and I do to maintain our foundation is put our children to bed early. Bee goes to bed at 8:00 PM and Cakes goes at 6:30 PM. It’s my opinion that many parents keep their young children up way too late, to the detriment of their children and their marriage relationships. A 5-year-old child needs 11 hours of sleep each night, and a 15-month-old child needs 13 1/2 hours of sleep each day, including 1 nap. I make sure that my children get the sleep they need, because they’re happier, healthier and easier to handle when they’re well rested. If you want to read more about the sleep needs of children, I highly recommend the book, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child,” by Marc Weissbluth, M.D. I have followed Dr. Weissbluth’s methods with both of my children, and they’re both great sleepers (Cakes.–though not a long napper–sleeps straight through from 6:30 PM to 7:00 AM). For more information, you can also print a “Typical Sleep Requirements in Childhood” chart here.
Not only do early bedtimes benefit the health and happiness of your children, but they also benefit your marriage. After our kids are in bed, my husband and I have 2-3 hours alone together to talk, watch TV, or just sit and read together in companionable silence. We can reconnect after being apart all day, without the interruptions and demands of caring for young children. I find that I look forward to and enjoy this part of the day more than any other.
There! That’s my favorite “healthy marriage” tip. Now I want to hear your tips! The first person who leaves a comment on this post, with their favorite tip for keeping the romance alive, will receive this book–”Each For The Other: Marriage As It’s Meant To Be,” by Bryan Chapell:
I read this book a couple of years ago, and really found it helpful. So, when I found this nearly new copy at my local consignment store, I bought it (for a mere 10 cents!) with this post in mind. The author confronts the issue of marriage roles from a strong, biblical viewpoint. He explains that a marriage relationship can be very happy and fulfilling if both partners put their God-given roles in the proper perspective. This is a controversial issue in modern times, and the author’s practical examples are very helpful in illustrating how biblical love and submission are important and necessary in the marriage relationship.
Well…I was gone all morning at MOPS, my children have been little stinkweeds all day, my house is a disaster, and I’m wiped out. The kids are napping, and I think that I’ll take a little siesta myself. It is my free day after all, and the work will still be here when I wake up.
Hope you’re all having a better day than me!