Relationships

Marriage – Part 5 – Seriousness is Not a Fruit of the Spirit

Friendship

I think one of my favourite parts about being married is that I get to live with my best friend in the world all the time. The dangerous part about having your best friend as your husband is, that it is the one friendship that you can take for granted the most.

If I could pick one person in the entire world that I would spend a day with, it would always, hands down be Mark Greenwood

We actually genuinely have so much fun together and we genuinely love to be together.

I used to think that this was the same for every couple. However, I am starting to realise how rare this is. Heart-breakingly, it seems all too often marriage becomes a functional relationship. One for logistics, finance, children and busy lives. What we can forget is that relationships/friendships need to be cherished and nourished. Sometimes we can sow into our other friendships with more intentionality than our marriages.

I truly know that Mark and I have a deep deep friendship. We actually are the best of friends and I am not afraid to say this. It is so incredible to be best friends with your husband that my desire is that all of you feel the same. So I am trying to articulate in words, things we do in our lives that allow us to nourish our relationship so that we can actually have an intimate friendship not just a marriage.

 

We prioritise each other over other commitments

This Sunday we had a huge day. We had pickups and deliveries for our Dr’s orders business early morning. We rushed out by 10am after a hectic morning to make our church elders meeting and then enjoyed a lunch date with our pastors prior to rushing off to babysit and meet our beloved friends for a big bike ride in the afternoon.

It was a glorious day. But it was full to the brim. Later that evening we also had the party of a close friend to get to.

Although we both had a strong desire to go, I felt like so much had happened in one day with so many different people. Although they were people that we cherish and love so much, we hadn’t interacted much with each other. We hadn’t had time to debrief about conversations, share each other’s thoughts, or plan our week together. While we could have rushed off to another birthday party, we chose to cherish each other and actually chose each other first. It was more important to spend time together.

It was nothing spectacular. We talked about our day and our thoughts, ate together, rested together, and watched the Greatest Showman in bed. Okay it was pretty glorious.

Don’t misunderstand. There are times that you may not get that luxury to cancel prior commitments. However, it is absolutely vital that you don’t put greater importance on other people’s engagements, over time with each other.

Always choose each other. If you need to take a breath and have a night alone together. Do it. It’s far more important than any birthday party, or any social event. You can have boundaries and cherishing each other will give others permission to have boundaries and cherish each other as well.

 

We identify each other’s dreams and do our best to make them happen

I dream of being a famous writer and having international health programs and health retreats. At the moment, I’m not even sure my own mum reads my articles. Even so, every week Mark faithfully reads and puts up my blogs. He spends hours ensuring that the layout and the pictures look perfect. He gives me both constructive and positive feedback. He sees my dreams and does everything in his power to make it happen.

Mark has a dream of starting a Seminary/Church Planting Bible School. This year he went back to study for the first time since leaving school in year ten. I have organised his study day and study room with him. We went through his time table. I help him structure his study time. On Mondays, which are his study day, I stay home and make sure he studies all day. I meet everyone at the door so no one gets to talk to him. I run all the errands. Handle all the business on Mondays. Even though I have my own schedule on Monday, my priority is making sure that Mark has the freedom to do his study all day. One might say, “it’s only one subject, there is no need to make it bigger than Ben Hur.” But it is so much more than that. For I see his destiny and calling. And this is one step closer to it. I will arrange my life to make it happen.

It’s so important to see your partner’s dreams so clearly. Sometimes it is easier to see the destinies of our friends more clearly than it is to see our spouses. Perhaps it is because we are so close to them. Don’t let this be you beloved. Call out the destiny of your spouse.

 

Love each other in the way that they receive love

I am an acts of service girl. I feel so loved when Mark spends hours cleaning and arranging my blogs. I feel so loved when he cleans the house for me every week.

I definitely do not feel loved when he goes away on trips and brings me ugly clothes back that he has painstakingly purchased. Believe me, I stopped pretending to be thrilled a long time ago. Understanding that this was not how I received love, he now never brings me presents home. However every week he cleans the house spotless, and every time he goes away he leaves the house shining.

Mark loves quality time. He absolutely loves if I plan a date to take him out. Just me and him. It doesn’t matter where, it can be coffee for an hour, or a five star restaurant. However I never see him more loved than when I plan a date for us together. Mark however, would not be blessed if I ran around doing things for him. Especially cleaning. In fact I think he often tells me not to bother cause I make things dirtier.

Showing each other love the way that we receive it makes us both feel so cherished and blessed by each other. A spotless house never gets old to me. It is like a huge kiss every time.

Sometimes we pay more attention to intentionally showing love to our friends and don’t offer the same intentionality with our spouse. Oh Beloveds. Don’t take each other for granted. Find out what makes each other tick. What brings each other joy and do those things. It makes all the difference in the world.

 

Promise to have fun together

When I was working as a doctor and studying for exams. I think I became ‘too busy and important’ to make time to have fun with my husband. Sometimes I had time to have ‘fun’ with people I worked with or my girlfriends, however for a time there, it was a foreign idea to actually plan to have fun with Mark. Don’t get me wrong. We still adored each other, however it was so easy to slip into doing the functional parts of life together and not actively plan to incorporate fun into our lives.

Recently we had a date morning. I bought a bottle of champagne (Ricodonna, cheap and sweet). I came home with cheese, bread and champagne at 10:30 in the morning. We had champagne and I got toasted (calm down everyone, it only took half a glass) and we had the best time we had in years. We danced to our favourite songs, we laughed until we cried and we talked about everything. We had so much fun together. At 10:30am on a weekday. It was seriously glorious. I realised in that moment how long it had been since we had fun. Just Mark and I. Alone. It seriously took us so much closer. From that time I have realised how important it is to have fun together. Especially in ministry, I feel like leaders forget how to have fun.

The other day I convinced Mark to do pilates with me as one of our besties has opened up her own studio. I promised to pack appropriate clothing for him as he was coming straight from the church. I did! I packed his DTs! I thought that would be appropriate for pilates. All that stretching and engaging one’s T zone, there would be so much more freedom to move if he was in tight, stretchy material. You’re welcome Mark Greenwood.

When he pulled out his carefully packed DTs (which took me an hour to find by the way) prior to doing Pilates. I laughed so hard I cried.

In fact I am laughing right now just thinking about it! Greeny in his DTs doing Pilates! Seriously. Can you see it?

Come on Beloveds. Let’s keep marriage fun. Let’s never become too old, or busy or important to remember how to laugh together. How to prioritise fun in each other’s lives. It’s part of the glory of marriage.

I would so love for each of you to think about a way you can incorporate some fun into your marriage and your life. Please write and tell me about it! Go to the movies together and eat kebabs while you are in there. Go to a waterhole together and secretly pack a bottle of bubbly. Secretly book some tickets to Bali on a cheap return fair. Let’s do it girls. Let’s invest into some fun into our marriages. Anything. There are only two rules. It has to be fun and it has to be with each other. Our spouses, our best friends. They are worth our time, energy and life.

 

Laugh together

Allow yourself to laugh together. Tell each other funny stories about your day. I love to re-enact my funny encounters to Mark. I have him in stitches. Not just because I am hilarious, but because we have set a culture of fun and laughter together. And because I am hilarious.

When I was working as a doctor, I often was too highly strung and productivity focused and time poor to laugh. Seriously. I lost my sense of humour. It took time to learn to laugh together again. To let myself laugh with Mark. To find his jokes funny, not irritating. To see the funny side together. Laugh at your children. Laugh at a funny YouTube videos. Watch a funny movie over and over and repeat their jokes and laugh your guts out together. I am 32 and I still repeat phrases out of Nacho Libra weekly. We find Gifs of Nacho Libra in tights and send them to each other in church.

Have some fun beloved.

Seriousness is not a fruit of the Spirit

 

Make sure that your Spouse is aware that they are always first

Mark is a church elder/pastor. He is also a powerful preacher and teacher. He is also an author of a revelatory book. He is a people magnet. People love him. They are desperate to spend time with him.

His life is pretty hectic. He spends a lot of nights away at gatherings, church meetings and groups. He travels and preaches. When we are out, believe me, he is 100 percent engrossed in the person he is talking with.

I truly never feel displaced, or jealous. Why? Because I know that in Mark’s heart I always come first.

Earlier this year I was in the midst of quitting my job as a doctor and making life changing decisions. Mark was away running a Jesus School on the Gold Coast, which was seeing a huge amount of fruit. He had planned the school for months, literally hundreds were being born again through the outreaches, and many were being transformed and set free.

I am a hugely independent person. I would rather do things on my own, and it takes a lot for me to ask for help. However on this occasion I felt to be vulnerable with my husband. I called him, and I asked him, if at all possible, if he could come home.

Within two days, in the middle of a school with over 40 students and 20 leaders relying him, many who were unwell, in the middle of hectic evangelism at schoolies, Mark handed everything over and he caught the earliest plane he could. He came home to me.

For one week he did nothing but listen to me. Hold me. Dream with me on an A3 paper. Loved me. He was present, and he was there. I came first.

I know that in my husband’s heart I am always first. Over every relationship, over every ministry, and over every person except God, he chooses me. I have so much trust in this that I am the most releasing wife you will possibly ever meet. I actually believe I am. It’s because I know where I am in my husband’s heart.

More than six years ago, I told Mark to quit his job so that he could follow his destiny of ministry. We have lived on my wage for years (although now he has money coming in through his book and other ministry). This has meant huge sacrifice financially for us. Many times instead of travelling with, I have been working. I do this because I know his destiny and his calling, and he knows that in an instant I would lay down every one of my dreams to make his come true.

Knowing that each other always comes first lays the foundation to the most intimate, powerful friendship

My beloveds, it is possible to be married to your best friend in the whole world. However don’t assume that because you are married you automatically become best friends. No. Just like every friendship you must pour into each other with intentionality and purpose. If you do, wow, being married to your best friend is actually heaven on earth.

That’s all for now.

You are richly loved and deeply cherished.

 

Christine Greenwood

The Healthy Hiccup

 

PS I’m needy. Please continue to give me feedback about this marriage series. Don’t assume that I am even aware you are reading this! Let me know your inside thoughts. xx

 

 

 

 

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27 thoughts on “Marriage – Part 5 – Seriousness is Not a Fruit of the Spirit

  1. Natasha says:

    Love reading … as a single 27 y.o female I find your marriage advice rare and inspiring. No one talks about this stuff, not in my circles anyway.

    1. Christine says:

      Natasha. You are so sweet. Thank you for your heart!

  2. Brooke says:

    Christine you wonderful human! I admire and look up to you and Mark so much.
    Even though I’m single, this is so incredibly refreshing, so much wisdom and I consider it to be such an investment into my future marriage.
    I believe every single and married person everywhere should read this series.

    1. Christine says:

      Brooke! You are actually one of the most delightful humans I know! Thanks so much… XO

  3. Chriss Flatt says:

    I love you asking for feedback. I often forget!
    Sweet girl this may have been my favourite one, so far!! I am a quality time girl.. So having fun one on one time and your spouse being the priority relationship is so dear to my heart! Such a wonderful reminder. It is way too easy to get caught up in the mundane. Hubby and I have started weekly dates. We plan them in our calendar and we don’t cancel it for anything. We’ve made rules about topics of conversation to set it apart from the every day grind. We’re so broke that most of the time they’re pretty ‘boring’ dates. But of course they are not boring at all!! Investing time with your love and into your marriage.. What could be better? Our marriage has come leaps and bounds with these dates and keeping them a priority is so honouring of one another. I highly recommend!

    1. Christine says:

      Amen Christine! Thanks so much for taking the time to share that. It means a lot. Also I love that you also steward your conversations when you have dates! Next level. I think I will do the same… Love you guys so much! XO

    2. mezoo says:

      Hi Chriss
      We did a marriage course years ago and one of the topics was continuous dating. The speaker made the point that we make appointment for the dentist, the doctor, to see the teacher, and we never think of breaking those appointments unless it is life or death. So why didn’t we make appointments with our spouses which were diarized and not just trivially cancelled. This challenged us as we were also very broke at the time, but we went on a coffee date every week at a cheap coffee shop in the mornings when our kids were at school, which made it easier not to have to worry about baby sitters etc. As money became a bit more available, we started having breakfasts together – and that is still one of our favourite things to do. We still diarize our dates, but we now also have spontaneous get togethers. Today my hubby phones just before lunch break and asked if I could meet him for coffee. It almost feels cheeky leaving work to have an unplanned coffee date.
      Enjoy your dates and keep them diarized.

  4. Mandy says:

    Hi Christine
    How deeply refreshing, real and intimate I find your writing to be. You are an inspiration for building relationships that are real examples of what God intended! Thank you for the time you take to share your heart. I can’t wait to hear more! Married almost 20years, I treasure so much of what your sharing, please keep writing, I’m eagerly reading 🙂

    1. Christine says:

      Thanks so much Mandy!

  5. Sarah Chees says:

    This has been my favorite to date! Thank you for being so vulnerable and honest and reminding us of the joy of simply being married to your best friend! I have taken so much for this and look forward to seeing the fruit of it. Love you, precious friend x

    1. Christine says:

      Sarah… You are my joy… Adore you.

  6. mezoo says:

    Absolutely love you marriage series. We have a marriage where we are each others best friends and we have often declined or missed other things because we just want to spend time together. It is so refreshing to read about someone else who feels like we do. We celebrated our 28th anniversary recently and we love and cherish each other more every year. Putting your spouse first is very important, we have also realised that we don’t like doing things without the other one.

    1. Christine says:

      Mezoo. You are a wonderful and open hearted person. Thank you so much for you wonderful thoughts and feedback!

  7. Sam says:

    You guys both get it. I’m very sure this is how God designed marriage to be and your vulnerability in these blogs help convey that so beautifully. This is my favourite by far. The depth that you approached your ideas with was so satisfying. Keep up the depth! Much love.

    1. Christine says:

      Wow! Thank you so much for this Sam…

  8. Lyndal says:

    Excuse my ignorance, but what are DT’s!!!!!?????

    1. Christine says:

      Lyndal! They are little underwear type togs that people swim in… XO

      1. Lyndal says:

        Haha! Is that a Qld term? We call them budgie smugglers where I come from ;). Definitely would have been a sight for sore eyes!

    2. Christine says:

      Ahahaha Lyndal
      I tell you when I see you 😘

  9. Sarah says:

    Incredible! We are only half a year into marriage and have always been best friends first, with ‘adult’ life happening around us I think its more important then ever to make sure we continue doing the fun things we use to when we were dating! Thanks for the reminder

  10. Sharon says:

    Wow! Oh how I wish there was this sort of teaching before marriage. So refreshing, honest , challenging and helpful. You are setting such a healthy culture for marriage and I believe will start a marriage revolution. This is the first one I got to read, so I intend to work my way back to the start.

  11. Kirsty says:

    So glad I finally got to read this Christine! I loved all of this so much & was reminded how lucky I am to be able to call my husband my best friend!! You are an amazing writer & i love how it makes me smile every time I read something of yours. Keep doing good & we will save marriages one bottle of ricodonna at a time 😂😂

    1. Christine says:

      Kirsty yessss!!!! Maybe we should invest in shares in ricodonna !

  12. Emily Hunter says:

    I’m loving these blogs Christine. They are a delightful read! As a single woman trusting in God in the waiting, it is feeding my hope tank that this could be my testimony too. Thanks for your courage & vulnerability. I am very inspired!

    1. Christine says:

      Emily you are so sweet! Xoxo

  13. Katie says:

    You are hilarious Christine..got lots of laughs reading yr blog..love how you know each other’s love languages so well.. I have the same language as you but am still trying to graciously pretend I like gifts..but would rather do something fun or an act of service.. It’s going to disturb me for a long time hearing about Mark doing Pilates in it’s.. lol
    Ps.. we are on the way to a much needed weekend at the beach

    1. Christine says:

      Katie! Hehehe… thank you so much…

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