Busy seasons in your marriage

I haven’t been posting nearly as often as I should. I’ve been working on my novel. Lately, I’ve discovered that I’m really good at writing words, but what my readers want is quality words strung together into a beautiful narrative. And hey, by the way, I know I normally write non-fiction on here, but if you also read fiction, can you let me know? I’m trying to figure out how to best serve my audience.

In addition to this, my husband has also been working a tremendous amount of overtime hours. Of course I am thankful for this. My husband’s company has been very gracious in letting him work overtime and making sure he’s putting money away toward our down-payment-for-a-house fund. And my husband has done a great job in showing up, being present at his job, and giving his best.

Our marriage is not suffering. We don’t have any problems. But we have big-kid responsibilities now, like paying rent (and taking care of our apartment), buying a house, starting a family, and (gulp) paying taxes!

If you’re in a busy season like we are, don’t be afraid. Your marriage is not in jeopardy. You just need to be intentional with your spouse about the time you spend together and the love in your marriage. Here are some points to remember!

This is a season. Before we even started dating, Lenny and I had conversations about our dream jobs and what it would look like for us to pursue them. At the time, we were in great jobs, we had no idea that Lenny would be doing IT for a law firm and I would be working in the editing field. But even at the beginning, we made it clear to each other that we would never let our jobs come before each other. We would never spend so many hours in the office that our marriage or our future kids suffer. And while I was tempted for a while to fear that it was happening, that we were placing our jobs above our marriage, I realize that it is just a season. We are busy now, but we won’t always be. We are saving for a house, and we are building wealth for our future. We’re living that DINK (Dual Income No Kids) life. And, quite honestly, staring googly eyed at each other isn’t going to pay the bills. We need to be busy right now, in this season, so that we can survive and enjoy the blessings God has given us. If you’re in a busy season, do not let it become a lifestyle. If you have years where you are busy, maybe you need to sit down and reevaluate your priorities.

Your marriage isn’t taking a back seat. If I really sat down and thought about why I write, it’s because I enjoy writing. My writing doesn’t necessarily help my husband, but it helps me express myself in a way that makes me happy. Happy wife, happy life. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is start working on my manuscript. No questions asked. But I get up before my husband is awake, so that when he is awake, I can make sure he has what he needs to get to work, and I make sure I can give him my attention. While my husband loves his job, he’s not working just because he likes to work. He’s also working because he wants to fund our future, because he believes in my dream as a writer and he’s helping me be able to make time for that, while also saving for a house. No matter what your job is, remember that you are working to support you and your spouse. May that fuel you to work your best and be intentional at your job.

Make time for each other. No matter how busy we are, Lenny and I always have one meal together each day. We sit down and read the Bible and a book on marriage. One day this week, when he was gone for more than twelve hours, he wasn’t hungry, so we just sat on the couch and watched a TV show. I know all the marriage counselors frown at couples watching TV together, but…You try talking to your spouse when he’s been working ten hours straight, and then had to sit in an hour of traffic. At that point, he just wants to decompress and sit with me. And I’m happy to do that. Besides, if you know me, you know that I talk through the whole show anyway! (Blame the writer in me that sees every plot hole and can’t sit still until it’s resolved!). Since my love language is quality time, it is essential for us to have at least an hour a day to sit together and talk.

What do you do when you and your spouse are in a busy season?

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash


Travel is the Best Marriage Therapy

My husband and I just came back from a weekend in Ohio, just to meet my favorite band, For King and Country! Lenny knew that I’ve wanted to see them in concert since I started dating him, so we took time and money just to have this special weekend together. He found this concert and saw that the platinum package came with a meet and greet. When he asked if we could spend our vacation this year on this concert, my answer was a wholehearted yes!

As much as I tried to play it cool when I met them, my voice went up a few octaves once it was finally our turn in line. I was so excited, not just because they’re a great group, but also because they rarely come to New York, so we had to take the eight-hour drive just to get the chance to see them in concert. The concert itself was wonderful as well. They are a fun group, in addition to the other bands that were there.

Okay, maybe you didn’t catch it, so in case you didn’t, yes, we drove EIGHT HOURS to Ohio and then EIGHT HOURS back to Long Island. We were on the same road for about 450 miles, between three different states. On the long drive back home Sunday, staring at the fifteen trillionth patch of grass in Pennsylvania, I realized how much my love has grown for my husband through this vacation. I felt so close to him, not just because he helped me to accomplish my dream of seeing my favorite band, but because he was all I had on this trip.

Road trips do wonders for your love life.

There’s nothing wrong with our marriage, except that it’s new. As with anything in life, there is always room for improvement. A thriving marriage is one that grows more and more each day, so since we’ve only been married for about two years, it will only get better from this point on.

One way where I personally needed to grow was trust. There is no better way to build trust than to put yourself in a situation where you have no choice but to trust your spouse. Lenny and I drove down a road that had exits every 10 miles (which, for Long Islanders, is basically like saying you’re in the middle of nowhere). If we broke down on one of those streets, we would only have each other. We would have to survive together. I know that is a morbid thought, and probably a little overreacting, but when you have anxiety, these thoughts are pretty normal. You always want to have a back-up plan. You always want to have a way out of the situation in case the worst happens.

As we drove, I realized that I kind of liked being alone with Lenny. We were in the middle of nowhere and we were in unfamiliar territory, but we were together, and that made it special. I truly learned the meaning of “Home is where the heart is” through this time. It didn’t matter how long we were in the car together. We learned to conquer traffic, making our snacks last the whole trip, impatience over driving in Pennsylvania for hours, and waiting for rest stops to stretch our legs, together. Sorry, Pennsylvania, but you’re too big. I still love you, though!

Through knowing no one but Lenny, he became my familiar territory. While having one of the coolest experiences of my life, meeting my favorite band, I was able to share that unique and fun experience with my husband. And, of course, the only thing I said to them was that “This is Love” (one of their songs) was our first dance at our wedding. So if Joel and Luke only know one thing ever about me, it has to do with Lenny. We’re a team.

The long drive also taught us to, as the old cliche says, stop and smell the roses. Pennsylvania was very big, and it took us about six hours to drive through all of it, but it was beautiful. Between every “We’re still in Pennsylvania?” we added a “Wow, what a beautiful mountain range!” We danced to the radio and made fun of the silly town names we found along the way. We learned to take a normally mundane task (driving) and make it fun.

So, on a serious note, I highly recommend taking a long trip with your spouse. See what negative emotions arise as you’re confined to a small space together. Be quick to forgive when your spouse grows impatient from hunger, thirst, or fatigue. Be honest about how you feel, and practice thankfulness and positivity along the way.  After all, in marriage, you are on a journey together.

Photo by Octavio Fossatti on Unsplash