Originally published Monday, 24 February 2014.
My husband is better than me at knowing when one or both of us needs a get-away. It’s something I’m learning to grow in (after all, wives and moms are instructed to “look well” to the ways/needs of their household). But it’s usually him who says, “C’mon! Let’s chuck the to-do list and get out of here!” My response used to be a list of “But what about this, what about that.” He would tell me, “We just have to steal the time.” And over the years, I’ve learned he’s right. You just have to steal away with each other. The needs in the schedule won’t stop, the responsibilities won’t finish, and there never seems to be a “good” time to leave the real world behind.
When Eric and I do make a break for it, we often head out to the mountains. So I can relate to Solomon and his bride heading for the countryside. For us, there’s nothing more refreshing than a great hike out in the mountainy air, a campfire under a blanket of stars, and the beautiful symphony of nature. I love photography and my man sweetly endures many hours of photo “hunting.” Saturating my eyes and mind in God’s majestic creation always reminds me how big He is and how small I am... and how truly small all those stresses back home are too. The long drive is also good for us. We talk through things we haven’t been able to address in the busyness of life. There’s no expectation to “get anything done” when you’re driving, so it helps us feel more free to dive into conversations without agenda, but that lead to quality connection. The drive helps to unwind us. Getting away allows us to reconnect and get life in better perspective.
Whether your favorite get-away is the mountains or something more urbanite, love thrives when it’s given boost of attention. Maybe you’d love a get-away, but the expense of it all is too much. Turn your living room or patio into your haven for the night. Regardless of where you find yourself, you can create oasis moments for you and your honey to reconnect. Here’s a few ideas:
Start by praying. Ask the Lord to show you His provision and timing to take care of your marriage. You might also ask Him for a fresh dose of creativity or insight into what your spouse needs.
Leave or turn off all sources of distraction... that you have control over! (Our outdoorsy get-aways have had their share of distractions like storms that make tents collapse and car troubles, but we lived through them all!) Even if your oasis is your living room for the night, shut off the phones and TV and just be together.
Feed your relationship. If you’ve got a road trip or some down time attached to your get-away, grab a good Christian marriage book. Every road trip we take, we buy a new Christian marriage book and read it out loud together. We don’t make any rules about finishing it, we just enjoy it, and chat over it. One season, we took an evening (almost) each week for a quiet dinner at home together and watched a Christian video series on a particular facet of our marriage we wanted to grow in. It’s not necessary for every oasis moment, but finding a resource to feed into your relationship is healthy.
Make a point of connecting romantically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. If you make a point of connecting on all those levels, your relationship will be healthier and more satisfying. Couples who don’t connect sexually say that it negatively affects their marriage a lot, yet couples who do connect sexually say it positively affects their marriage only a little bit. So, connecting well on only one level won’t lead to the kind of marital satisfaction we all want. We were wired for relational connection across all those facets.
Make one of those “date night” jars with ideas you would both like and then draw out an idea whenever you can steal an evening with each other. Adds a little fun and surprise to your get-away moment. And if you manage to put pre-paid gift cards with the ideas, it makes budgeting your fun a lot easier too!
- Be free. Let your love recharge however is best for the two of you in your particular season of life. A lot of the couples we know aren’t campers like us and they’ve got timeshares in Cabo or Hawaii. Lying on the beach is their favorite. Tromping around Yellowstone is ours. We snowmobiled in minus 30 degree weather up there. Our friends looked at us like we had ten heads when we told them that. I said,”Yeah it was cold, but it was beautiful and you felt like you were really alive!” I still get a smile on my face when I think of the absolute blast we had doing that together. Whatever moments create connection for the two of you is where you should escape. Don’t heap expectation on yourself or your spouse to be just like some other couple you know.
I hope you and your sweetheart can steal away and that when you do, you find meaningful and needed connection that will fuel your marriage.