Pursue Your Spouse. Never Stop.

It’s heart-breaking when a marriage falls apart.  In recent years Liz and I have seen many marriages of people we know under attack, some seemingly beyond repair.  The worrying thing is, this seems to be on the increase.  Now more than ever, we need to be focused on our marriages to keep them as healthy as we can.

We’ve been married now close to fifteen years. Marriages take work.  The pursuit of our spouse must never stop.  Every relationship is different, but here are some things that we aim for and I think work well for us.  Be sure to let us know what works well for you.

Family Time

We think it’s really important to try to eat meals together as a family.  Keep use of iPhones (and equivalent) to a minimum during this time.  We always switch the TV off when we sit around the table.

If you have kids, set aside time in the week for a family time – watch a movie, go for a walk, eat out, etc.  Kids really love and benefit more from this than you think.  It also helps the family to relax and spend quality time together.

Affection

We are not afraid to show affection for each other in front of the kids – much to their disapproval sometimes.  We want our kids to know they have a loving family and we want them to grow up to treat their spouses well – even though Katie says she will never marry and just live with us.

I make an effort to tell Liz multiple times every day that I love her – whether that’s on the phone, email, text message, it doesn’t matter.  She needs to hear that all the time.  My esteemed work colleague calls his wife “pookie bear” over the phone.  I will probably not do that, ever.

Regular date nights.  I love my kids, but a night out on the town with Liz is hard to beat.

Liz says…
We need time to talk alone without being overheard and interrupted. It feels good not to have to share your spouse with your kids sometimes. Yes, I am selfish! Having last minute lunch dates is good too. Taking time out of your schedule to go grab a bite together makes for a happy camper.

Finances

Finance can be a big stumbling block for a lot of relationships.  We share all bank accounts.  There’s no such thing as my money or her money.  There’s no individual savings accounts just for me, or for Liz.  We have several accounts to organize our finances, but they are all joint accounts.

I trust Liz with full access to accounts and she trusts me.  Before making any big purchases we will talk with each other to make sure we’re both happy.  Even with smaller purchases I will be thinking about the impact the purchase could have on our household.

I know someone who came home and told his wife he’d bought a house.  They’re still married, but he probably won’t do that again.  :-)

Chit Chat

For the guys – don’t get dragged into conversations with other guys who are commenting on women passing by, or in the office, etc.  You get the idea.  It might seem like it’s a only a bit of a laugh, but it’s really not.  Back out of those conversations quickly.

I hear ladies can be as bad at this sort of chat.  Stop it!

Always speak well of your spouse – both in front of them and behind their back!  Don’t complain about your spouse to your friends.  Don’t discuss issues or complain about your marriage with others unless you are genuinely seeking help.

If you are seeking help, it’s no good talking to someone else who doesn’t have their marriage together.  Speak to a counselor, or your church pastor.

The Smokin’ Hot Wife

Don’t go too far other way and do something that bugs me – the “my smokin’ hot wife” twitter post.  Stop it!  Worship leaders and pastors seem to be the most guilty of this.  What is the purpose of it?  Are you hoping people will agree with you and validate your partner choice?  Your wife may be “smokin’ hot”, but she’s the only one that needs to know that.  You don’t need your twitter followers approval.  It’s weird – stop it!

Conflict

Guys again – if you sense something is wrong then is probably is.  You’ve probably done something wrong and just don’t know it yet.  Be persistent, get to the bottom of the matter.  This approach however may sometimes heat the situation up even more for a short time, but work through it.

I hate conflict and usually try to avoid it, but sometimes it needs to be hit head on.  The conflict that is.

Resolve conflict before you go to sleep.  This is one piece of advice you hear a lot when you get married.  There’s a reason for that – it stops issues from being suppressed and exploding even worse later – like some kind of super combo attack.  Be warned.

Liz says…
Stop and listen to each other. If there’s a problem you need to put yourself in their shoes and try to understand where they are coming from even if you think they are being unreasonable. We all go through our spoilt brat stages sometimes and that’s okay. Just listen to each other.

Priorities

Love God, your spouse and family, and then everything else after that.  Yes, even church work.  Sometimes I can take on too much and not think about the impact it is having.  I still work on getting my priorities straight.  You’ve heard the expression that a yes to one thing is a no to something else?  Don’t let that “no” be to your family responsibilities.

14 comments on “Pursue Your Spouse. Never Stop.

  1. I agree with everything but Christian leaders should definitely keep mentioning how smoking hot their wives are. The reason I believe this is for far too long it’s been taboo in Christianity for people to mention how beautiful their spouses are in fear others would look at them and lust in agreement. It’s about time the church stand up and talk about sexual things in a healthy way and begin teaching that Christians aren’t snugs. We see beauty. And for pastors and worship leaders to stand up and say their wives are smoking hot says a few things.
    1. They’re not busy looking across the fence. They married up.
    2. They’re blessed and want folks to know.
    3. Others should follow suit and keep eyes on their own spouse.

    I think it’s awesome that they speak out about the beauty of their spouse. For once Christian leaders are standing up and boasting in a blessing that’s been far too long taboo!

    Btw, my wife is smoking hot too.

    • Hey Kevin, thanks for reading and posting your thoughts.

      I was referring specifically to posting pictures on twitter and labeling them in such a way. It’s just something I find a little weird.

      My wife isn’t some kind of trophy that I post online to show people how blessed I am. A picture does not tell them anything except how pretty she may look – and my wife is pretty.

      However, to see the true blessing in my life you need to see us together. How we react with each other, how much we depend on each other, etc. At that point you will say WE are blessed to have each other. That’s all.

      If picture posting is working for you and makes your wife happy, then go for it.

      “Married up” is another term that bugs me. Thanks for the reminder. By saying you “married up” is essentially saying your wife got the bum deal and “married down”. Is that how she thinks?

      • I think I can see your point on posting pics to an extent. It has never bothered me. However I disagree with your point on “marrying up” too. To me, it’s a humbling remark just the same Jesus did when He said He was the Son of Man.
        It was His way of being humble. A spouse we attempt to be humble by making the remark that he married up. It’s not to say that the spouse married down. That would be the same as God getting upset at Jesus and saying “Son of man? Who am I? Am I not God?”

        The rest of your post is great btw. I’m not trying to pick it apart. I just somewhat disagree with your thoughts on these points.

  2. Great article! When you think about love in any relationship it’s about needs and fullfillment of needs. I like the five love languages book. It taught us that each person experiences love in a different way. The five love languages are 1. Acts of Service 2. Affection 3. Affirmation 4. Gifts 5.Quality Time. You touch on each of these here in your article. It has helped us through difficult times to understand highs and lows and to weather difficult times when circumstances present obstacles to meeting one another’s needs. It’s also helped us to understand where we are limited in meeting one another’s needs and where community and God can only fulfill those needs. Beyond the difficult times it has helped us to communicate to one another what makes us feel and experience love from the other person. Which can and will change based on seasons of life, circumstances, etc.

  3. Hey, Alastair and Liz! I found your blog again after a long time of not keeping up with such things! I loved this post and have to share it with my husband (now of just over one year!) Trust things are going well for you two and your family, we’re still living in the mountains of NC and are apart of a church in Sylva. :) Blessings to you!

    • Hi Jane, this post outlines things that I think work for my wife and I. Yes, it’s totally my opinion, as a Christ follower who longs for the best marriage ever. This post was not written for the Reader’s Digest, but for my personal blog where I air my own thoughts.

      I started the post with this sentence, “Every relationship is different, but here are some things that we aim for and I think work well for us. Be sure to let us know what works well for you.”

      Thanks for visiting, and if you have any relationship advice to share, I’m all ears.

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