For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14
When my husband and I were first expecting children, we didn’t realize they would come in two’s. After finding out I was expecting twins, we were repeatedly told how to parent little ones throughout the pregnancy. Classes showed us the right way to install a car seat. Birthing classes prepared us for what to expect when the delivery time was finally here. There was no shortage of advice on preparing for our new arrival.
It didn’t take long before my husband and I realized the one class we never saw offered. Nobody talked about how to be proactive in our marriage after becoming parents. Our relationship was pretty drama-free. We didn’t often argue and truly enjoyed spending time together. We had our first big argument a few months after the twins were born. It was the middle of the night, and our little bundles of joy conspired against us in the sleep department. Exhaustion had taken over, and neither of us felt very loving toward the other.
Eventually, we figured out how fatigue played a role in our attitudes toward one another. We decided that anything that happens in the middle of the night needed to stay in the middle of the night. We were trying to be proactive before the scene repeated itself the next night.
There will be seasons where you need to focus on being proactive in your marriage relationship. Some seasons will be difficult, and you can look ahead and come up with a plan to keep your relationship strong in this challenging stage.
Other times, the difficulty is thrust upon you with no warning. Think of that one phone call that completely changes how life will be lived for the foreseeable future.
The newborn stage is a time where it may feel like your marital relationship is taking the backseat to a little one. Instead of getting frustrated with each other, think ahead about ways you can make your time together meaningful. Plan a day date during nap time so you can have a meaningful conversation.
As your parents age, you may find that you have a greater responsibility for their care and well-being. Be intentional about communicating your needs to your spouse if you are overwhelmed with responsibility. Does it make your day easier to have dinner planned out when you spend long hours with your elderly parents? Make good communication a way to be proactive with your schedule.
Is there a financial obligation that always seems to cause a fight in your relationship? One of the best budgeting tips I have ever heard was to make sure you budget for the infrequent expenses. For us, when our kids were all in school, it was picture day. There was no way I was skipping the poorly-lit typical school picture, but the price hike each year always made my husband wonder why we even needed the reminders of years ago. I would never miss an opportunity to have my child’s picture at home, but my husband couldn’t understand how I could justify the expense. We started planning ahead for this and other unusual expenses to be proactive. That removed the opportunity for a disagreement or hurt feelings.
Ask the Lord to show you areas where you can be intentionally proactive in your marriage. Find ways to be thoughtful and help carry the burden that is weighing your spouse down. Think ahead about any potential stressors that could drive a wedge in your marriage and develop a plan together to eliminate any potential problems.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5