I used to think it was simply a gift that Peter and I still like each other after twenty-plus years of marriage. That we got lucky, that we were blessed. There’s some truth to that, and yet I’ve also realized there are a few things we do that help protect this gift we’ve been given.
- We go out for a weekly date night.
- We spend Sundays as a family (mostly—this fell by the boards this spring and it was not good).
- And we go for lots of walks, from twenty minutes to catch up on the day past to long hikes where we argue with each other and express our feelings and get mad and sad.
All of those things are healthy ways of working on this relationship so that it endures and thrives.
But there’s one thing we do weekly that might be the most important of all:
We have what we call a weekly calendar meeting.
We sit down once a week and talk about all the things that need to get done in order for our family to function. The work event that will keep him out late. The speaking date I have in a month. The need to schedule orthodontist appointments for Penny and William. The haircuts and trips and finances and phone line that’s dead and all of it.
There’s nothing romantic about it. Peter says it is like eating raw spinach. But it keeps us from chasing after each other with texts and emails and irritation when we just need to know who is picking Marilee up from soccer on Wednesday and who is going to call about the leaking sink and whether a vacation next spring is in the budget.
There are all sorts of things that go into a happy marriage, and even with a calendar meeting in the books, we’ve had rough patches and undeserved seasons of ease. Still, this is the one thing I would pass on to other couples looking for ways to ease the strain and open up space for rhythms of grace.
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