“TV saved my marriage” 4 Ways to Reconnect Your Marriage

It was the summer of ’03. Anne and I were in a store walking through with the kids secured in our double-stroller. We were in a season of life that was a bit hectic. Cammi was 3 and Ethan wasn’t even 1 yet. We were still discovering who we were as a ministry couple not to mention as a married couple. We were trying to find our “flow” in life. We didn’t have consistent schedules, very few “dates” together, and the age of the kids placed a higher demand upon us. I think it’d be true to say, at that point, we didn’t even realize what we were missing as we had gotten used to the fast-paced, non-stop type of living.

I remember it was a Saturday. Why? We were in this conversation about going to Blockbuster (when they were opened) and renting something to watch. The odd open evening got us thinking about getting the kids to bed and having something to watch. When we walked by the movie section of the store, I noticed a “sale” sign on season 1 of the show “24.” For only $20, we could buy the whole season. I looked at Anne and said, “I’ve heard it’s a great show. It’d cost us more than that to rent all six discs. It’s not a huge investment and it’ll give us something we can enjoy together.” So we bought the set.

That day, we purposely got the kids fed, bathed, and put to bed in a timely way, knowing, we had plans to introduce ourself to Jack BauerAt 1a.m. that night, and Lord knows how many episodes later, we were more than hooked, we discovered something that had been missing from our marriage. We had made and engaged in purposeful time and enjoyment with each other. (Full disclosure: we had watched so long that we were trying to remember when and if the kids were put to bed. Obviously we took care of them, but had a funny little panic moment.)

There was more than a “binge-watching” that took place. We found something that we both loved to do together. We enjoyed it so much that we talked about it and made plans for it. Our schedules were adjusted to compensate for our new-found passion. It’s then we began to ask ourselves, “Are there others shows we’d enjoy?” From there, we tried a few shows, invested in lots of popcorn, and scheduled out when we’d watch them.

Nowadays, we really don’t watch shows together. That season ended and a new season began: walking and/or hiking. It’s quite a bit healthier, but with the kids being older, it is also a bit easier to do.

So when I say, “Jack Bauer saved our marriage,” what I’m saying is that a moment of “trying” something together helped us make a reconnection that we didn’t realize how desperately we needed.  We, like most couples, were so busy doing good things in our marriage not realizing we were not engaging in the best things. I’m not saying a TV show is the “best” thing. But look deeper than that. We found something we both enjoyed. That enjoyment gave us a place to relax and connect. And the more we did it, the more we’d anticipate and strategically plan for it. When that avenue of entertainment/enjoyment  begin to wane, we dared to “try” something else. Anne and I knew we couldn’t lose what we had rediscovered.

I’m not saying that you need to get into movies, shows, or sports (even though they aren’t inherently bad to do). That isn’t the overall point. I’d submit: if you don’t have consistent time of leisurely engagement, then you’re starving your relationship. I always say, “What wins a heart before marriage sustains a heart after you’ve married.” And if you’re expecting longevity in something, then you’ll feed it.

How can you find a “reconnection point?”

  1. Recognize the need. Don’t just do this for your spouse, this is for your marriage. People who don’t purposely work on their marriage purposely coast toward catastrophe.
  2. Be willing to try. Perhaps it’s something new to you or to your marriage. Get out of the boat and attempt something. It doesn’t have to be a huge investment of money to be a huge investment in your marriage. Remember: I’d rather a couple fail at trying than fail to try. Take the risk on some healthy activities. If it didn’t work, then the success is in the fact you did something together. If it did connect, then congrats, you found a connection point for you both.
  3. Study your spouse. You can tell if your spouse is getting into it. Watch his/her responses.Listen to see if she/he talks about it. You’ll be able to tell whether the activity “hit the mark.”
  4. Get intentional. Don’t just do something fun together, get strategic about it. The more you plan it out, the more anticipation you create and passion you build.

We get having an empty home.
We get having little ones around.
We get busy schedules.

We also get making time for the things that are the most important. Your marriage is what is most important. Find yourself a “reconnection” and make a habit of it .

Love you all. Praying for you.

Encourage effort.
Celebrate progress.
Feed hope.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

BTW: Check out my book. Click on the link below.

 

 

 

The “Try”: 10 Things you should TRY in your marriage.

My wife married a sci-fi geek.  I’m not ashamed of it.  I embrace it.  Anne, not so much. 

In his endeavor to become a Jedi, Luke finds himself needing to get trained by the best.  It is here we get one of the most well-known figures in all of the Star Wars universe: Yoda.

For us geeks, his wisdom pours out in a fantastic line that is just as iconic as the character, 

“Do or do not.  There is no try.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQ4yd2W50No

I’ve heard it used and stated in so many different contexts.  Why not?  It’s an amazing piece of wisdom used to motivate his young apprentice to take some actions-steps forward. A few days ago, I saw it tweeted in regards to sex in marriage.  My immediate first thought: 

Discouraging “trying” may not be the best marriage advice I’ve seen.  

So I thought I’d do the opposite.  I want to encourage “trying.” Why?

For the couple going through struggles, it’s the personal effort the two of you need to show each other.  It’s the extra “try” that screams “I’m not giving up…we’re going to make it.” 

For the couple going through a season of life where you feel you’re just “existing” together.  No fights, no scuffles, yet there is no fun and no passion. The “try” just may catapult you forward over the hump into a amazing season of refreshing. 

For the couple in a good place in life, the “try” can be an extra log to the fire.  The time to try something new and exciting isn’t when things are getting mundane or frustrating. That’s the worst time to try to get momentum.  The perfect time for the “try” is when things are great.  The momentum picks up and flows.  Makes me think when scripture says, “from glory to glory.”

Here we go, 10 things I want you to “try” in your marriage…we’ll start with a few simple BUT powerful tips but please don’t tell yourself “I’m not going to “try” to do any of these unless I’m in the mood.” It’s time to back away from what you need step up into the “try” for the sake of your spouse and your marriage.  

1. Try to smile.  Sometimes we save our smile for our kids, friends, and/or for the people at church.  We take our smile for granted when it comes to our spouse.  

2. Try to complement/encourage.  Sometimes we resort to “I’ll do it if he/she does it.” Or I’ve even heard this one, “He/she doesn’t deserve it.” Childish tendencies take over us sometimes.  What brings it out? Hurt.  This is a basic need in EVERY human. Hebrews 3:13 says to “Encourage each other daily.” If you don’t do this for your spouse, the enemy will use someone else to fill that need and NO ONE should out-encourage/complement you.  Step up and try it.

3. Try to surprise.  Get spontaneous. I’ll admit, my wife’s version of surprise is different.  She likes to know what it is before it’s “sprung” upon her. That way, she can prepare her OCD self for it and actually enjoy it.  I can’t push my style of surprise upon her and expect her to enjoy.  Find your spouse’s love language and get out of the rut.

4. Try prayer and devotions.  I know what you’re thinking: “Shouldn’t you have had this at #1?” I’m a pastor and I thought you’d expect that. Some couples, like me and Anne, have a hard time with doing “couple devotionals.” We tried it and it didn’t fit.  But the key is this: we tried it.  Now, we’ll pass on to each other books, blogs, and sermons  as we look out for the spiritual well-being of the each other. I love putting my arm around her at night and praying over her.  I love hearing her pray for me.  Our devos may be separate, but it’s morphed into us pouring into each other in a way I didn’t expect.  But it happened with the “try.” 

5. Try nudity. (I thought that would get your attention.)   We base so much of sex as a “mood” or “an act.” For those that push “the act” upon the other, you ignore the emotions/mood.  For those that are all about the “mood,” you ignore this necessary and beautiful act of marriage.  Bring the “try” into your bed.  Why? It’s humility; You’re not there for “you.” Try sex from the vantage point of your spouse.  The bed isn’t there to meet your needs; it’s there as a platform to meet your spouse’s needs.   Remember this: there is NO ONE else in the entire world that can meet this need in your spouse. It’s you.  

6. Try a date. Most couples know that dating each other is necessary…well, kind of.  This is so simplistic yet I find it’s completely ignored and taken for granted.  It doesn’t have to be expensive.  It may not have any cost for that matter.  Anne and I like the simple walks together.  We’ve even taken our kids on walks.  The point was to have time together (which is Anne’s love language…that and Swedish Fish).  Try it. Ask your spouse out.  Plan out the day/evening.  Pour into their love language. 

7. Try to listen. A friend of mine gave me a quote I’ve used on my kids and I’ve needed to use in marriage. “Listen to me with your eyes.” Eye contact speaks so much to the person talking.  It shows more that singular focus.  It shows you are valuing them and their voice. Proverbs 20:12 says “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both.” Get past “Elevator talk” in your marriage. Your ability to actively listen conveys the value your spouse needs from you.  

8. Try to forgive. The preach in me wants to just say “Just forgive.  Make yourself do it.” But I felt the Lord leading me to challenge you to “try” forgiveness.  Why? So many people are afraid to “try” it because of how it may be received and/or given.  Colossians 3:13 challenges us to “try”/step-out into it regardless of your spouse’s reaction.  The response of your “trying” isn’t your responsibility.  The forgiveness is. 

9. Try to be healthy.  I know we’re ‘merica.  We’re a nation of unhealthy activities with unhealthy food.  But this should’t be our excuse to develop healthy hearts, bodies, emotions, and spirits.  I’m not asking you to be a marathon runner. I’m not demanding you to become a vegan.  I’m asking you to take an honest inventory of your life and ask yourself, “Where can I get healthier?” The bible says, “the two become one.” If you are actively “trying” bringing health into your marriage (God’s word, healthy relationships, healthy food, exercise, etc) , you are setting your marriage up for potential success.  

10. Try ___________.  This is where you have to get your imagination going.  It’s about you knowing your marriage and trying something that may be new or it could be something that needs to be revived.  Get creative.  Talk with your spouse. Go after something today. 

Yoda had it wrong.  “Do or do not.  There is no try.” And unfortunately so many people don’t/won’t try.  This needs to be a new habit for this new year.  Don’t wait for you to be in the mood to “try.”  If that’s the case, it’ll never happen because it’s about you.  Get humble and get “trying.”  

Sometimes it isn’t really about the “what.”  Sometimes all that matters is you “tried.” 

Thanks for letting me ramble…