Tonight Tiffany and I are going out to celebrate our 9 year anniversary! We were married on August 7th, 2004. Okay, so the celebrations are a little off by a few days, but whose counting, right? Over the course of 9 years we have moved 8 times, served in 3 different churches, had 3 children, and remodeled 2 homes. We have gone through our share of ups and downs. Yet, she is still my best friend, and I cannot imagine what my life would be like without her. The other day she went to the Women of Faith Conference in Philadelphia which meant that she left us for Friday and Saturday. Listen, I am not complaining, grumbling, or looking for the congratulatory wow-you-made-it pat on the back. I am a dad, not a babysitter. I should be able to feed, bathe, and clothe my kids so that my wife can get away and recharge. Doing the girls hair? That’s another story. While she was gone, I found myself thinking, everything is more fun with her around.
I realize that God has blessed me beyond what I deserve with a loving wife and best friend. This doesn’t happen overnight. We have worked hard to make sure that we stay in love, and that we continue to develop our friendship together. Here are 4 practical ways that we stay intentionally married.
1. Delayed Dinner
Every now and then Tiffany and I will feed the kids and then get them in bed before we sit down and enjoy a meal together. There is nothing worse than seeing Tiffany work so hard on an awesome meal only to have it be peppered with arguing children. It is so enjoyable to slow things down and share a meal together- just the two of us.
2. Laugh at the kids
Yes. I said at, not with. We make sure that we laugh AT our kids. Why not? They are so funny! They are consistently providing us with quality entertainment. Have you seen this video? Man, that’s a throw back. But it cracks me up every time. When the kids are going crazy, and the house is filled with noise, loose lego pieces and creepy dolls laying facedown, Tiffany and I have to just look at each other and laugh. This is a crazy life, but it’s our life. Laughing helps!
3. What are 3 things you want to do?
That is a question that we have gotten in the habit of asking each other on Thursday night. It helps because it clarifies the expectations that we each have for the next day. It also ensures that we are taking care of the other person’s needs. Here’s an example of one of my things… I told Tiffany the other day that I wanted to just enjoy my cup of coffee on the porch. That may sound like nothing, but that was huge to me. The ‘3 things’ do not have to be big, but it has been so healthy and meaningful to us.
4. Put your spouse first
We live in a culture that adores our kids. I get it. I love my kids too. There is little else that brings me as much joy as my kids. But there should be at least two things that bring me more joy than they do; my relationship with God, and my relationship with my wife. If I have my relationships out of order than I am going to be setting myself up for failure. I put my relationships in this order, God, Tiffany, Kids, and then my ministry. I am a better husband when I am a better follower of Jesus. I am a better dad when I am a better husband, and I am a better pastor when everything before it has been well taken care of. We need to be careful that we love our kids, not worship them. Practically this means that sometimes we won’t make everyone of Noah’s soccer games because we have something as a family that is more important.
What else would you add to the list? How do you stay intentionally married. Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear it.