On December 29, 2022, John and Irene Keist, my parents, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary! And last summer my husband and I celebrated our 25th anniversary. In today’s world, those are certainly remarkable milestones.
Last week I started this “Be Rooted” series on my blog, with the first focusing on the importance of being rooted in Christ. We took a deep dive into Colossians 2:6-7, with some folks choosing to dive even deeper by joining my 7-day mini challenge. (You can still do this if you like! It’s a free Bible study straight to your in-box.)
This week I’d like to encourage us to consider how we can be rooted in our marriages. After our relationship with Jesus, if we’re married, the most important person in our lives should be our spouse! Reaching 25 or 50 years of marriage doesn’t happen automatically. And do you see those smiling faces, absolutely glowing and radiating love for one another? As we all know, the wedding day and honeymoon vibes don’t last forever! My parents have weathered some storms over the years, let me tell you. Their love for and patience with one another is an example of agapē love, that sacrificial love such as was demonstrated by our Savior on the cross for us.
My own marriage has weathered some significant storms as well. Ted and I have faced:
- 13 moves/transitions
- 5 deployments
- 2 miscarriages
- 9 live births (2 while he was on deployment)
- A devastating prenatal diagnosis
- Anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and PTSD
And that’s not even mentioning the everyday “little” things we all deal with: health issues, interacting with extended family, chasing toddlers, agonizing over teens’ choices and more.
A married couple who homeschool their kids will find even more…opportunities (!!!)...for challenge and growth! Because the responsibility of teaching and training the children lies solely with the parents, they are far more consumed by additional activities and planning than they might otherwise be. Their whole lifestyle is one of sacrificial living and giving, and let me tell you, that takes a toll!
So how can we make sure our marriages are firmly rooted? That they can withstand life’s storms and seasons of drought and even fire?
First and foremost, as you have probably already guessed, is to make sure each of us is firmly rooted in Christ. When the husband and wife both “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” then “all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
Beyond that, we intentionally nurture our relationship with one another. This obviously will look different for each couple, but here are some things Ted and I have done over the years to grow our relational roots deeper so our marriage can grow stronger and healthier with time. Each one has to do with a choice about how we spend our time.
TIME WITH GOD
We’ve already discussed being rooted in Christ on our own, but it’s so important as a couple to have this spiritual connection, too. Each couple and schedule is different, so don’t compare your activities to what others are doing. Ted’s and my devotional time has looked different at different seasons in our lives, but we’ve always sought to pray together as a couple in the mornings and right before going to sleep. Currently we have the luxury of doing a Bible study together with our morning coffee, and I LOVE this opportunity to read and discuss God’s Word with my husband!
TIME FOR US
Date nights don’t happen nearly as often as I feel they should…my love language is spending quality time together. But even if we don’t get “out,” we’ve been deliberate to plan “date nights in.” When the kids were young, this meant putting them in bed and then having a candlelight dinner at home (and talking about something besides the kids!). It might be a quick coffee date or even running errands together, but we do try to be intentional about this. And we work to teach our kids that OUR relationship is priority–kids shouldn’t interrupt Mom and Dad when we are in our room talking, for example. And included in this “time for us” aspect is definitely time for sex! As the woman, I try to take ownership of this aspect of our marriage as well, making sure we can connect intimately on a fairly regular basis. It absolutely affects every other aspect of our relationship.
TIME TO TALK
Communication is HARD. (And I’d like to think I’m fairly good at this!) Even 25 years into our marriage, we still unintentionally hurt one another because of miscommunications. But we’ve learned we HAVE to address the elephant in the room. One thing we don’t necessarily do, though, is figure everything out before we go to sleep. That whole “do not let the sun go down while you’re angry” thing can be taken to an extreme. We don’t think or speak well when we’re exhausted, and emotions can only add to the feeling of exhaustion. Sometimes it’s best to agree to discuss an issue later, get some sleep, pray some more, and then come together to work it out. Stuffing it? NOT talking about it? Not an option! Not if you want your marriage to grow and thrive. Usually one person is more ready and able to initiate a conversation than the other–whether this is you or not, just do it. Bring it up. Begin to put words to it. Pray together about it and be honest about your feelings. God already knows what they are, and your spouse needs to know, too!
If you’re married, what are some ways you and your spouse seek to be rooted together? Share in the comments!