Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. -Proverbs 5:18 (KJV)
So I was hanging out with a friend earlier this week and we were talking about life, ministry, church, and family and he asked me if I had done what our pastor had challenged us to do a couple weeks ago. The challenge was to go home and ask your spouse how *they* would rate your marriage on a scale of 1 (the worst) to 10 (the best). The obvious follow-up if it is not a 10 is “what do *I* need to do to make it better?” Unfortunately, about 30 minutes before I asked I had managed to shove my foot in my mouth…talk about bad timing. I was told we had gone from an 8 to a 2 in that instant. Wow…
My friend’s wife had responded by saying their marriage was an 8 and it would be a hands down 10 if they dated more often. Which got me thinking. How often do my wife and I go out? Not often enough So I asked her why it is that date nights are so important–because I wanted her perspective. The answer I got was really quite simple. She told me that she liked to go out so she could dress up (and get compliments–an admitted weak point in my repertoire). It also allows us to get away and laugh together, dream together, and just plain enjoy each other’s company–without the kids around (we love them dearly, but there’s only so much chatting you can do with 3 kids between 9 and 13).
And when you stop to think about it, it just plain makes sense. I remember (barely) a marriage conference Jen and I went to many years ago, and they stressed this point there. Think about it for a second though. Before you were married, things were exciting and fun. What’s the difference? It’s not what one Maine comedian I listen to suggested–married couples living together. It’s that they don’t get away by themselves enough. Work, kids, church obligations, and a whole host of other events make it so that by the time you finally get to be around your spouse both of you are on empty, distracted, and not able to function (I’m speaking about me here). Ultimately, you end up being strangers–which is not what God meant when He created woman as man’s companion (Genesis 2:18, NET Bible).
Ok…so what are you, as a married man, to do? I know, the economy is tough. Even something as simple as going for a 30 minute walk without the kids can help. Or take a page from one couple I know of who hang out together each night and will not allow their kids to interrupt their time.Or go get coffee together. Think creatively and surprise your wife with something she’ll find romantic. The point is that whatever you do should tell her that she is important enough to you that you want to spend time to laugh, pray and dream with her. I’m willing to bet as you invest a bit of time in your marriage in this way, you will find that married life becomes as exciting as the time when you and your wife were just dating. As that happens, I’m willing to bet that Proverbs 5:18 takes on a whole new meaning.