With John (my husband) working night shift — which is from 6pm to 7am 4 days a week — the longest we get to see each other is maybe 30 minutes to an hour a day in the mornings when izzy and I wake up as he’s coming home. Maintaining a thriving relationship and deep connection on this type of schedule is NOT easy, friends…and sometimes I feel like a single mom because of how I rarely see him! I can choose to be bitter about it and let it frustrate me that this is our life right now…OR I can show up + own up to my role as a homemaker and count the blessings! John and I both have our own ways of “working” on our marriage. Though sometimes our life plans don’t always happen the way we had originally thought they would, we still make an effort every day to make sure we deepen our relationship. Because no matter what curve balls come at us, we know that we will have each other and that’s all that matters 🙂
All marriages, whether you have kids or opposite schedules or not, can always use a little extra grace and effort to keep your marriage running smooth and strong. Here are six fun ways to do this every day:
1. EXTEND GRACE. Your man doesn’t have it all together, and neither do you. Extend grace by forgiving easily, serve while expecting nothing in return, and make it known that despite the shortcomings or trials you’ll always be there to support each other. Also, check your expectations: are you hard on your spouse because you’re not where you want to be financially? Are you holding a grudge over them about a plan you made years ago that has now changed? Do you resent them for never doing a chore, being late, or something else? Always do daily heart checks with yourself. Choose to see your spouse in a positive, loving light.
2. LOVE THE MUNDANE. Sometimes in marriage things can seem like they’re not happening fast or fun enough — we can fall into routines and start to see our marriage as boring. But life isn’t always full of grand adventures, there’s not always extra spending money, or perfectly captured photos. Not every moment can be this way! And if you’re expecting your marriage to provide you with those things, well you might be disappointed. Marriage means loving the highs, the lows, and the mundane equally because you’re getting to do life with someone who chose to do the high, low and mundane things with you.
3. SHOW BIG LOVE IN LITTLE WAYS. Now I don’t mean spending money necessarily, but more so referring to going the extra mile for your significant other 👌🏻 Whether that looks like cooking them dinner, planning a beach picnic, or having the game recorded for him after work – these little acts of service all add up to one giant “this is how much I love you!” exclamation. Doing small things daily is like planting little seeds into a garden that will blossom and be deeply rooted for years and years.
4. TRUST GOD TOGETHER. There is so much that can change in marriage, and it’s so important to be prepared to roll with it. Ideas change, timelines change, where you want to end up living might change, number of kids could change, careers can totally change, finances can definitely change! If you’re stuck holding onto an idea of how these things “should be” or “but we’ve been saying this plan for a year, and now it’s changing,” there’s only one thing you should do as a reaction: TRUST GOD AND ROLL WITH IT. If you stick it out together, and agree to make a new plan together, and pray about it together, the Lord can do so much in your marriage when you come to Him with open hands and an open heart!
5. HAVE FUN & BUILD YOUR FRIENDSHIP. Make the most out of your marriage by simply having fun together. The best way to do this is make intentional time to spend together a priority every week, where you can do the following: get to know each other more, make physical contact (hugging, holding hands, walking with arms around each other, etc.), and talk about things other than work/the kids. As much fun as it might be to plop on the couch and binge on Netflix together, there’s not really a lot of eye contact or communication involved in it. So get out of the house and spend some time together doing fun things outside since it’s Summer! Here are some inexpensive and free Summer date ideas:
– hit up the batting cages (even if you have no idea how to play baseball it’s fun to learn and do new things together!)
– go for a walk or a hike
– head somewhere you haven’t been to for lunch and walk around local shops afterward
– get up early to grab donuts and coffee together
– go for a tandem bike ride (if there’s one thing that totally challenges your communication and dependence on each other it’s this! Haha! John and I love tandem bike riding for this very reason).
– check out your local penny arcade (this is a new trend, where arcades are coming back! There’s several around San Diego, where adults can drink and grab some food while playing vintage arcade games like PacMan, Atari Pong, and more. Places like this even offer live music on the weekends while you play).
– grab a learn to surf class off Groupon and hit up the beach
– find when your local “music in the park” is happening! Bring a picnic and some lawn chairs, maybe even some small lawn games like giant jenga and lawn bowling and have some fun.
6. USE THEIR LOVE LANGUAGE TO SPEAK TO THEM. If you’ve never taken the love language quiz, do it here for free to find out which area(s) are the top ways you receive love and appreciation the most! My main love language is Acts of Service, and coming in close second is Words of Affirmation. These are the two ways I receive love and appreciation the BEST, so if John wants to “fill up my love tank” as we call it, he will do things that fall under those categories. For example, he will write me little love notes, take time to talk to me about my day or tell me sweet things (this fills my words of affirmation love tank), and he knows that little acts of service like making dinner, or unloading the dishwasher, or scooping the cat litter, etc. fills my acts of service love tank. Have your spouse and yourself take the test linked above to find out your own love languages so you can better fill each other’s love tanks!
Marriage is not easy, and it takes a lot of work to ensure it’s deeply rooted to stand strong and last years and years ❤ Which one of these will you be working on this week?