Categories
Marriage

Make Time to Connect

My love language is quality time.  That doesn’t just mean that I like to sit with my husband and watch TV.  No, it means sitting face to face and having a deep conversation that involves getting to know each other (and preferably, this meeting should have tea involved).  Since this is not my husband’s love language, it took us several months to understand what that looked like in our marriage.  This weekend, my husband truly spoke my love language.

This weekend, we celebrated our first anniversary.  My husband found us a sweet bed and breakfast in Connecticut.  Considering we are from suburban Long Island, where we have a plethora shops, restaurants, and movie theatres, we were in for a rude awakening when we noticed that there was nothing in sight around us but beautiful mansions, trees, and the house where we would be staying.  I had asked my husband to plan a place that was just the two of us.  I didn’t want any distractions; I just wanted to relax with my husband.  We were three hours away from home and we didn’t have cell phone service.  It was exactly what we needed.

In the thirty hours we were away (between driving to Connecticut, staying at the B&B, and driving home), we talked about everything.  We resolved some issues that we were having and made compromises that worked in both of our favors.  Since we were away from all the distractions and anyone who could make an objection to our plans, we figured that in the middle of nowhere was the perfect place to resolve our issues and set goals for the year ahead.

We spent at least an hour trying to state our case, looking into each other’s eyes and attempting to compromise.  We now have our holidays planned from Thanksgiving this year (2017), to Easter 2019.  We also have more of an idea of our financial goals for the upcoming year.  We used the time that we were given on this trip to truly get back on track and fall in love again.

Life gets in the way sometimes.  We’re distracted by work, by money, by our plans with friends/family, and by our own hopes and dreams.  We have both been in a season of waiting for several months, and it has taken a toll on us emotionally and physically.  The best solution for both of us was to drive three hours away, sit in a fancy house with no one else around, and re-connect.

We have found that this time away has truly helped our marriage for the better.  We were in love before, but now that we have reconnected and we are on the same page, it feels like we have a deeper intimacy because we’ve been reminded that we’re fighting on the same side.  We’re praying the same prayers and aiming for the same goals.  We know that we can use our time to remind ourselves of the commitments we made over the past few months.

If you need to reconnect with your spouse, here are some habits that we’ve implemented to make our marriage a priority:

  • Make a date night.  Depending on your schedule, your date night could be once a week or even once a month, as long as it’s consistent and it’s firm.  For example, we have our date night on Friday.  That means we cannot make plans with friends/family on Fridays.  Our only exception is when we make double date plans with other married/engaged couples, especially our couples Bible study that meets every other Friday.
  • Be intentional.  Have an agenda.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money.  In fact, you don’t have to spend any money.  My husband and I plan on using our next date night to learn how to play the guitar together (we both have guitars and haven’t even touched them since we got engaged).  When we go out to eat, since we’re on a budget, we make a game out of using a gift card and keeping the bill within the amount on the gift card.  It doesn’t have to be an extravagant night out; it just has to be an environment where you can talk and remind each other of your love for each other.
  • Set goals.  During our first year of marriage, we learned a lot and we realized a lot of our flaws as well.  Talking about our issues this weekend gave us goals to work toward for our next year of marriage.  Setting goals makes what you think is impossible attainable in your marriage.  As a result of this weekend, we agreed to get out of debt (pay off my husband’s car), save for a house, and make better use of our time.  Working on these goals together strengthens our marriage and makes the mundane tasks of life a little more fun.

Making our marriage a priority honors God.  When we pray together and seek God in our marriage, He meets us during those conversations.

 


Photo by Rémi Walle on Unsplash

Categories
Books

What I Learned from “Gray Faith”

I met Carrye Burr on the reNEW retreat that I attended on Columbus Day weekend.  She was one of the women who encouraged me and now continues to encourage me with my writing.  We sat next to each other in the main room where we had our plenary sessions.  At the retreat, they had a Book Celebration and Signing for everyone who had published a book that year.  Carrye’s name was on the list!  I was sitting next to a published author!

I read the excerpt from her book Gray Faith on a sheet that we had received of everyone who published a book.  She wrote that she had grown up in a Christian home, the daughter of a pastor, and she had a lot of questions about her faith.  But, because she grew up as a pastor’s kid, she did not feel she had permission to ask those questions.  Nevertheless, she writes this book with the answers that she has discovered throughout her life, especially through the various trials that she has endured with her health, raising her kids, and the adoption of her son.

When I saw her summary, I instantly wanted to buy a copy of her book, not just because she was a debut novel writer, but because she had a story that was worth sharing.

The book is a fairly quick read (about 100 pages), but the information that she provides is genuine and fresh.  Without giving away too much about the book, Carrye includes issues that people deal with today, such as “seeker-friendly” churches and how to deal with sin.  Through the lens of a mother of three kids and a daughter to an obedient pastor, she is able to provide parenting advice for those who want to foster spiritual growth in their children, especially for those kids who have these times of questions about faith.

My favorite part of the book is the chapter on the church.  Having grown up in the church, Carrye never really thought about what it would be like for first-time guests to a church.  She felt comfortable in her church, so she thought everyone did as well.  But as she moved from place to place with her family and tried out different churches, she realized that all churches do not do things the same way.

Because of the rise of “seeker-friendly” churches (the ones with the dim lights and the coffee and the pastors wearing jeans), Carrye begins to question how comfortable the church should actually be for first-time guests.  Yes, we want them to feel welcome, but Christianity in and of itself isn’t always about comfort.  As a matter of fact, it’s about conforming to God’s standard for our lives, which almost always means a surrender of our plans for our lives.  That doesn’t sound too comfortable to me.  Since I work for a church that I think does a pretty good job of making it seeker-friendly but also Christ-focused, it was encouraging for me to do a heart check of what is important in a church.

The book Gray Faith demonstrates a sign of maturity in the Christian who asks these questions. The Christian who questions does not take everything at face value. If you have these questions, they might not get answered through reading this book, but the book was meant to start a conversation. May your questioning bring you closer to God.

Carrye Burr self-published this book, and it was a great book to get her name out there to continue building her platform as a writer.  At the retreat, she was already playing around ideas for another book, so I’m excited to see what other ideas God gives her!  You can purchase Carrye’s book Gray Faith on Amazon.