A family is really only two people. The husband and the wife. The kids come and go. You love them while you have them but when they are gone the marriage stays, it is the core. A family starts with marriage, the children arrive and stay a while and then leave, and the marriage is what's left.
What will be left when your children leave home?
You really need to be thinking about this no matter what stage your family is in. Before you have children decide what kind of marriage you will maintain in spite of the craziness of raising children and how you will maintain it. How often will you go on dates? (and to clarify, it's not a date if the children come. Then it is a family activity) Will you have getaways, just the two of you? What about reading books together or talking?
If you have a house full of small children, what are you doing? Are you being intentional about your marriage? Is it getting stronger or being ignored because of the urgency of the children's needs and demands?
For those with older children, how do you juggle the demands of their busy schedules needing to be taken here and dropped off there at all hours of the day and night with the less urgent but infinitely more important needs of your marriage?
It all boils down to this question: What are you doing to preserve, strengthen, and build your marriage right now?
Try picturing a big sign on your marriage. It reads:
What are you doing daily to strengthen your marriage? Weekly? Monthly? Annually?
Here are a few suggestions for you.
Things You Can Do to Strengthen Your Marriage
Daily ThingsHold hands, kiss, say "I love you" often
Weekly ThingsGo grab an ice cream together, go on a date, have a real conversation
Monthly ThingsPlan and evaluate your finances together, go out for a full evening (bowling, dinner and a movie, visit a family fun center)
Annual ThingsA weekend getaway (preferably at least two nights) just the two of you, really celebrate your wedding anniversary, have pictures taken and then hang up some of the new ones in your home
Ultimately, the question remains, what do you do to strengthen YOUR marriage? I would love to have you share in the comments.