Monthly Archives: May 2014

Sometimes you just need to spend time together

One way people receive love is through quality time.  (See earlier post for thoughts on love languages)  This basically means spending time together that is meaningful.  Talking, sharing an experience, or doing something fun together are all ways to show this.

IMG_1708This is one of Julia’s main love languages so I try to make sure I’m meeting this need as much as I can.  I try to schedule dates out ahead of time a couple times a month.  We try to eat together as a family whenever possible.  We always make sure we have a chance to get away just us for some sort of trip at least once a year.  And no matter how busy we get, it is always a priority to make sure we have some evenings each week with nothing planned…so we can be at home together.

If you need help coming up with some ideas to incorporate this into your life…here are some to get you started…

  • Going on a date
  • Having meals together as a family and talking about your day
  • Talking with your wife after the kids are in bed
  • Going on a family vacation
  • Going on a trip as a couple
  • Going out to eat
  • Reading a book out loud with your wife or family
  • Playing a game or sport together
  • Going shopping for something together

If this is one of the ways your wife receives love, make sure you are working this into your life on a regular basis.

If you love your wife…let her go

IMG_1728This past weekend was Guys Weekend.  Julia went out of town with some of her friends, so Eli and I were bach’ing it from Friday until Sunday.  In some ways it was a lot of fun.  We went out for donuts, went exploring in the woods, read books at Starbucks, and had tacos at most every meal (always a good decision)!  We both had a good time.  Even though we had fun and were able to distract ourselves pretty well, it was still a lonely time.  We both missed Julia.  She’s my best friend and I love being with her.  She’s the life of the party, and time at home is not the same without her.  Even though I knew I would miss her, I was so excited about her getting to get away.  Not because I was looking forward to the fun I would have, but because I knew she needed it.

It is good for married couples to spend time together (obviously).  Without it, there is no relationship.  However, I feel it is necessary for a woman to also have both alone time and girls time.  When a wife is able to get away with her friends for some time, it is recovery for her soul.  She NEEDS time to just hang out with friends…no wife responsibilities…no mom duties…just having fun, talking, and whatever she wants to do.  Also, she sometimes needs to get away on her own.  Life can be so busy full of kids with endless needs, work responsibilities, chores at home that are never finished, and distractions from TV and computers.  There is such benefit for a woman to have some time away from it all…even if it is just for a couple hours.

Every time Julia comes home from being away, she is filled with energy and love.  She is a GREAT mom and wife on a daily basis, but I can see a noticeable difference in her love, attention, and patience after returning from being away.  Seeing this always reminds me how important those opportunities are.

My challenge to you:
Give your wife the freedom to get away.  Maybe it’s for a few hours at a time.  Maybe it’s on her own, or maybe it’s with some friends.  Maybe it’s overnight somewhere, or maybe it’s for a few days.  In the time she is away, pray for her to be filled with the spirit, and to be able to relax, and to have fun.  When she gets back, I imagine you will find her refreshed and ready to invest back into your family.

My wife and I don’t speak the same language

1795661_10152247839449328_821025760_nBack in 1995, Gary Chapman authored a book called The 5 Love Languages.  This book and the concepts it talks about quickly became a staple for christian married couples everywhere.  The idea is a simple one…in the same way that people have different personalities, interests, and preferences, people also experience love in different ways.  Just because you feel loved from certain things doesn’t mean your wife will feel the same.  Chapman breaks this down into five different “love languages”: Gifts, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.

This concept has been one of the most important to me in figuring out how to love Julia.  Personally, I feel loved by acts of service and physical touch.  Because that’s what I love, by default I tend to do the same for her…since that’s what I think about and what I know best.  I didn’t know when we were first married, but ironically, Julia feels love most by gifts, quality time, and words of affirmation…which is the opposite of me.  Now, that doesn’t mean she DISLIKES the things I do, but all things being equal, the time and effort I was putting into trying to show her love were GOOD but not the BEST.  After I learned this, I tried to go out of my way to show love to her the way she likes best.

The way I see it is…if I’m not aware of how Julia receives love best, and if I don’t do my best to meet those needs for her, I am not really loving her.  Guys, this is a no brainer…make sure to learn this about your wife.  And however she receives love best, MAKE SURE to keep it in mind and feed her in that way.  You can’t just fall back on…”women like flowers” and stick with that.  If she doesn’t feel loved by gifts, it may not really be helping her feel loved.  Or, if the main way you try to show her love is telling her she looks nice…but words of affirmation isn’t high on her list, you might be missing out on what she really needs.

My challenge to you:

If you and your wife have not discussed or looked into this concept before, I strongly encourage you to.  Reading the book together is a great way to do it.  If you don’t want to buy it, try borrowing from a friend.  Or, if you’re not the book reading type of guys, try going to their website www.5lovelanguages.com where you can take a easy online  assessment to help you figure out what your love language is.  Once you are your wife have been able to either read the book, or go online…talk about what you discovered.  It is SO important to understand what your wife needs, and this is a great and VERY EASY step to help discover it.

If you love your kids…leave them behind

Seattle 263I believe one of the most important requirements for developing a strong, loving family is to spend time together…doing things that are fun and making memories together.  In the same way, I think this is one of the most important aspects of a marriage too.  The problem I often see is that after a couple has kids it can be easy for these two areas to merge together.  It is an incorrect assumption that quality family time equals quality marriage time.  

I know many couples that are married with kids and haven’t been alone together overnight since their kids were born!  I think this is such a shame.  An important part of being a good parent is being able to love your spouse and model that behavior for your kids.  And, an important part of loving your spouse is being connected with them and spending time together.  If you never get away and spend time alone together, that connection will be tough to achieve.

IMG_0285After Eli was born, Julia and I made a commitment to get away by ourselves at least once every year, and I’m so glad we did!  These getaways are usually the highlights of my year.  I LOVE going out on dates with her on a regular basis, but the enjoyment we feel and the connection we make on a date doesn’t come close to what we get from going away for a few days.

Sometimes we’ve been able to take a cool vacation together like the Bahamas, Seattle, or even Italy!  But often our trip away is somewhere nearby that we just go for a couple nights.  Last year we went to Asheville for a few nights and one time we just got away to a hotel in Atlanta.  The extent of our trip is usually determined by the amount of vacation money we have available, but even when times are tighter we make sure to go somewhere.

photoThis weekend we went away for our 11th anniversary!  We went up to WinShape Retreat at Berry College and it was awesome.  It was so relaxing and we loved every minute of it.  We spent a lot of time talking, enjoying great meals, reading, writing in our anniversary journal, and relaxing.  It was just what we needed.  When we got home, we were ready to pour our lives back into Eli, who had a blast from his weekend with Nana & Grandpa.  :-)

My challenge to you:

If you have kids, make sure you make it a priority to get away with just your wife from time to time.  Dates are great, but they don’t compare to the intimacy and connection you get from getting away for a few days at a time.  Make it a priority and I KNOW you will not regret it!