I’m not going to lie. It has not been the smoothest week relationship wise for Mark and I.
I am the midst of a very hectic week at work, feeling beyond my depth and trouble shooting technical difficulties, which is my worst nightmare. I am simultaneously trying to balance my current job with other pursuits in my life right now, which while exciting, make it difficult to divide my time and stay focused on the tasks at hand.
I love having my closet friend, husband and wisest counsellor alongside me. He keeps me focused on the tasks at hand while continuing to be an ear to my endless ideas. He helps to keep things in perspective and forces me to have a work life balance which I struggle to maintain on my own.
However, we need more wisdom as to how best to stay connected. Especially in between different schedules, different locations and very different roles. I sought the wisdom of six other couples. I asked what they did to stay connected. I was simultaneously inspired and convicted by their wisdom and insights. What they shared was both simple and profound.
I trust it will bless you the way it blessed me
Here are little snippets of what they do to stay connected more or less in their own words:
Liam and Shen
Liam was a pro soccer player who is now the Senior Leader of a church called Glory City Melbourne with his gorgeous wife Shen. He has three children. I have been inspired at how they tackle work, family, and church always smiling and working together.
I was dying to know how they stayed connected.
“One of the many things which we have learned is to laugh together. When things are tough, we will often watch comedy or just something funny. This is a winner. Laughter is good medicine and I think more couples need to learn to relax and have fun and this can help.
We like to schedule date nights where you swap with other couples in looking after each others kids. So one week you drop your kids off and than swap the week after or fortnightly. Scheduling this time in is just totally needed and important to prioritise. Shen did this thing where we had a bowl of ideas for date nights. We pick one out on the day of date night, which of course is harder with kids but still doable.
We also have nights where we have no technology such as movies or even phones. This causes us to be aware of one another and really talk and dream. Than at least once a year we have an allocated time where we dream again, share our visions for the next year, talk about what is making our heart cry and write them down. We than pray through all of them and commit them to God.
Above all if I could emphasise one thing for couples it would be to have fun together. To laugh together. To make sure that you don’t take life too seriously. To give yourself grace in parenting and in fact in all areas of life so that you can have fun with family, friends, and sex. For marriage is after all the ultimate joy.”
“One thing we have learned over the past eight years is to be quick to apologise even when we feel foolish or wronged and emotions are high. We have learned to make our connection a priority over feeling justified.”
Beth and Josh
Beth and Josh are the most beautiful vibrant young couple who I recently met at a Jesus School camp where together we cooked for 100 people. They have been married for four years. In the first year of which they travelled through South America for 10 months backpacking. This is in my opinion worth 5 years of marriage. Beth shared some insights that she and Josh have discovered about themselves and each other as they delved into married life from a young age and shared adventures around the world together.
“We have learned to appreciate those little moments. Such as this coffee shop down the road which has the most incredible delicious treats. We walk there together and get a treat. We love coffee together on a Saturday morning. Other times we will shoot hoops together at the local basketball court or play cards together. We learned through travelling together backpacking through central south America that what we love most are the everyday simple things.
One of our favourite activities would be to sit on the side of the road drinking coco cola watching people live their lives. Treasuring these memories and learning to love the simple activities and things in life is a vital lesson which we brought that back to our normal lives here in Australia. We know make a point of trying to not take the everyday moments for granted.
We also both made a decision to not have social media on our phone which means at night when we are on the couch together we are not tempted to sit there scrolling through Facebook.
We also try to make sure that not all our nights are filled with social stuff so we have nights in the week where we are just able to hang out together. Planning our week ahead together and making sure each other knows what we are doing and what’s coming allows us to make sure we are balancing spending time both with each other and with people whom we love.
We have learned to not take things too seriously but to laugh when things don’t always go to plan. This was a major take home message after going away together. For when things went wrong. And they did. Such as a time when our bus was cancelled, and we were waiting in a random town for eight hours with no money. The temptation is to get stressed and frustrated with each other in the moment. However, we learned that it is so much better to just roll with things and see the humour in situations. This helps you stay so much more connected on the other side of the challenge. Snapping at each other or blaming one another in frustration makes it a little harder to stay connected once the little ordeal is over.”
Olive and JT
Here are a newlywed couple who dated with such purity and godliness it was mind blowing. Not only are they two of our best friends, they have this harmony in their relationship which illuminates intimacy and honour. I was so eager to know how they stay connected.
“We love to have intentional date days and nights which are just one on one togetherness, fun and innocence which brings us back together. We make sure this is intentional and make an effort to plan to go out just the two of us. Date days and nights always remind me of the simplicity and joy of being married. It is truly the loveliest relationship between two.
While we are husband and wife we are also the very best of friends and we love being in each other’s company. Our relationship pretty must consist of us both giggling and laughing which ends in me usually slightly wetting my pants.
One of the major things that we do is ensure that we are completely honest and vulnerable with each other
We talk through everything and anything. Everything that runs through our minds, even the thoughts that shouldn’t be there such as; “This brownie taste like poo” or “You really embarrassed me when you said that in front of everybody.” This vulnerability and honesty in our relationship keeps us raw, open and real and it’s a key to how we stay so connected.
The way we are able to be so honest is that we feel safe within our marriage as we can detect what is a lie and what thoughts are lovely and pure and from the Lord. We know that the lies if believed or allowed to take root can cause tension and ‘weirdness’ in the air which we absolutely detest.
We have experienced the most beautiful fruit and richness of our relationship in entering our marriage and while we were dating by having a soft heart and soft ears to hear with vulnerability and honesty.”
Sarah and Dan Sutton
Sarah and Dan got married earlier this year and have inspired us with their childlike love for God and each other. They shine with beauty on the inside and are also like a pin up couple. Very very good looking. I loved what she had to say about what they do to stay connected.
“One of the things we do to stay connected is as much as possible to set a bed time. This gives us time in bed together to communicate without feeling the need to have to get stuff done. We like to read together out loud before bed. When we go to bed together habitually we found we could get away from all the business, give each other space to share our days and it keeps us on the same page.”
Adam and Melissa Shepski
We had the honour of recently meeting this incredible couple and their three children who live in Canada earlier this month. It was one of those rare times where you have a true organic connection with a couple. We watched while they spent two weeks with their three children, in a strange country with nearly 100 strangers at a Jesus School and handled it with the utmost peace and joy. They modelled a deep well of friendship, fun and kindness in their marriage which bespoke health and deep wells of wisdom. Here is what Mel had to say about staying connected.
“When Adam and I first married we made the decision to always go to bed together at the same time. Fourteen years later, we rarely miss a night. I don’t remember why we decided to do this. Perhaps it was simply young love, or maybe it was wisdom beyond our years, but either way I am so grateful we made it into a habit.
Going to bed at the same time gives us the opportunity to connect and unpack our days. The phone gets put down, and the distractions are minimal. Some of our deepest talks happen at night.
Also, a lot of nights this verbal connection leads to sex. And let’s be real here, sex is a fabulous way to stay connected!
I love having that time together at night. I truly believe it’s one of the main reasons why we are able to talk about anything. It developed our communication and deepened our relationship to a beautiful depth where I didn’t previously know was possible.”
Sarah and Jesse Cheesman
Here are some of our nearest and dearest. We admire them, love them deeply and are inspired by their lives together. They approach life, friendship and marriage with a childlike innocence which is combined with a unmistakable love for each other. They have taught us so much.
“On our wedding day the Pastor who married us gave us the following advice: “Love to talk.” And we do! We love to talk to one another. One of our favourite things to do is go to bed early before sleep time and just spend a good half an hour to an hour talking about our days, our dreams, our hopes and even our disappointments. We like to provide space just to hear each other’s hearts, to connect with one another and pray for one another. That’s one of our favourite things to do together. We love to talk!
Almost every night, after we put the kids to bed, we sit in the living room, drink tea and read the Scriptures together. We initially did this out of devotion and love for our Father and began to do it together more regularly until it became habitual. We look forward to it every night we’re at home. We enjoy a good novel as well and take it in turns reading aloud to each other. We’re currently loving The Horse and His Boy from the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis.”
I feel deeply inspired and beautifully compelled to love deeper, be more transparent and to cherish this gift of marriage and friendship.
Thank you to all six couples for giving us a peak into your lives.
We cherish and celebrate you all.
Beloved ones. Let’s fight for connection. Nothing is more worth our time.
Until next time,
You are deeply loved and richly cherished,
The Healthy Hiccup