Proverbs 29:18 says (in paraphrase), "Where there is no vision, the people perish." It seems to me that marriage is the same way. When we lack vision, common goals, something we're actively working on together, the marriage dies - from lack of attention, from neglect and boredom. And this happens even when life is busy and it seems like you're doing a lot together (i.e. childcare, household care, meetings, events, etc...). You can be very, very busy, and still lack vision. Vision gives your life purpose and direction.
For busy couples with young children, it can be enough to make the things they're already doing together their vision. It's about intentionality. If raising your children together really is your vision and you're intentional about it, you can be just that - intentional and present. Still, what we've found is that when we finally have time alone without children, is that we used to spend the time wondering what to do. We needed direction for ourselves as a couple apart from the daily daily of life...long term and short term intentional things we wanted to do and accomplish together. Some things currently on the list are as simple as going to see the Dead Sea Scrolls at the science museum. That's a goal sometime when we finally have a minute to spare.
Mango and I were talking about this the other day, and he offered this perspective:
So, there you have it folks...more thoughts on marriage by MidnightCafe & Mango!Marriages need things that couples are working on together - common goals, common interests. Sometimes life gives you these and you need to work together or support each other. When it doesn't you have to create your own common goals. But every couple should anyway. What do you want your life to look like? What do you want to accomplish together? What do you want to do to enjoy life together and enjoy each other? What things do you want to do together, learn about, what skills do you want to develop, what places do you want to visit?Couples need to plan time that they can spend together and ask each other to do the things they want. Otherwise they end up living side by side parallel lives - together but alone (that's the worst kind of aloneness to have). So time for each other needs to be a top priority. If people don't make some plans, their time will just slip away and leave them feeling disappointed that they didn't do anything valuable with it. Or they will default to doing their own thing or things that are easy but neither of them really care about (and watching TV doesn't count). It will start to feel like they should have just worked more hours or done things with someone else. But in reality, it's not that they don't enjoy time together, it's just that they haven't given themselves a chance.
Also, couples need to make space to be intimate together. Instead of just waiting for an "appropriate" time to initiate something, like when you are going to sleep, and already too exhausted, couples should talk about desires ahead of time and spend a nice evening together anticipating what they planned for later - set up expectations and give intimacy a chance, give anticipation some time to build.
It is fun to be really spontaneous, but sometimes complete spontaneity doesn't work. We keep a note book of places we have heard of that we want to visit and things we want to do together. It's not like it's a lot of work - just a place to keep the cards, advertisements or places or events that you jot down so you can actually do them. Then instead of not knowing how to spend your time when you finally have some, these things make you really look forward to having time together and being excited about it. It will start to feel like you never have enough time to experience all the things you want together. It lets you be more spontaneous because you always have things you would like to do.