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What do you and your spouse do to keep your marriage strong?
This was the question posed by the Do Not Disturb blog in their post Keeping Marriage Strong: We Do...
I couldn't resist participating, so here is my list of of what we do to keep our marriage strong:
We do each other.
Often. Gladly. Passionately. We like sex a lot and it's a sweet, tender, sacred part of our relationship, so I couldn't resist saying we do each other.
I mean come on, it was a like a slow easy one right over the plate to have to use the words "We do..."
Yes, our marriage is so much more than sex, but at the same time, how well our sexual intimacy is going is a fairly accurate gauge of how well our entire marriage is going.
We do grace.
I know this has shown up on a few of the blogs, but it's true in our marriage as well. Oh my goodness, if it weren't for grace, our marriage would be stuck in an angry neutral place. And we wouldn't be having any sex. How much fun would that be?!
Grace, grace and more grace. The marriage vows should include something like... "Do you promise to extend more grace than you ever could believe possible... and then extend even more?"
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that our ability to do grace is because of our faith in Jesus Christ. His example encourages us and equips us.
We do family time.
Awhile back we started doing a family movie night each Sunday. Keep in mind how hard it is to find a movie that holds the 14-year-old's attention, yet isn't over the head of the 8-year-old. Yes, we have many other family moments too, but our Sunday movie tradition has become such a sweet thread in the fabric of our family.
We know our marriage is stronger because we are so deeply in love with our kids.
We do messy house.
Our carpet is from the early 1980s. Our furniture looks like an eclectic collection from the Goodwill. Our kitchen floor has been in need of replacement since the Bush administration. The first Bush.
No, our house would never show up on that hoarding show, but it will never make the inside spread of Good Housekeeping either. Plus, we have a dog. Enough said.
Though our house has its fair share of clutter and cobwebs, we feel irresistibly comfortable here. It is our haven. Our place where we do life and love. And we never fret over a spill or muddy paws.
We do public display of affection.
The other day, we were in the car as a family, and the heater was on. I said I was "hot" and my husband said, "I know you are." To which I said mischievously, "That's right. I am hot. I'll show you how hot later." A cry of disgust from the teenager in the backseat, "You are killing me. Yuuuuckkk!!!"
Our display of affection -- public and private -- endears us to each other in indescribable ways. And it demonstrates authentically to our children that our marriage matters... that we are in love and enjoy showing it.
We do virtually no debt.
We are so close to having zero debt, it even amazes us at times. What does this have to do with marriage? Well, my husband and I feel like marriage has enough stress of its own. Why add financial stress?!
Plain and simple, we just don't care about things we can't really afford... because we don't want the toll on our marriage or the bad example for our kids.
We do inside jokes.
Are you and your spouse able to joke about things that only the two of you really find funny? I think there's something so sexy about that!
My husband and I laugh at the same things, and why we laugh is often because of a shared understanding that is exclusive to the two of us.
We do vulnerability.
I admit this one wasn't easy for me. Early in our marriage, I still operated in a bit of self-protection mode. After all, I'd been hurt bad in my first marriage, so it was no wonder that my mind tried to wrap itself around some kind of emotional survival clause.
But authentic love doesn't work that way.
And I grew to realize that to have something real, you have to be willing to risk your whole heart. Ironically, it is in that kind of heart risk that I found true safety. We do vulnerability and transparency because we have humbly seen the profound positive difference it makes in our marriage.
So what about you? If someone asked you what you do to keep your marriage strong, what would you say?
Copyright 2013, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.