A few days ago I posted about the dilemma that many parents feel (probably mostly moms, but I won’t stereotype) when it comes to how much time they should spend with their kids.
After I wrote that (and after reading my Karen Kingsbury novels which are mostly about family struggles), I asked myself another question, “How much time should I spend with my husband?” Some of you may be thinking that that’s an odd question. For some people, a better question may be, “Do you spend time with your spouse?” With kids, jobs, church, and other responsibilities it is easy to get to the end of the day and just be ready to crash and really not spend time with each other.
It’s interesting because when I googled the question about how much time parents should spend with their kids, there was A TON of opinions and responses. Out of curiosity I did the same thing about how much time to spend with your spouse. I won’t post all the things I found, but basically, most of the comments made from everyday people insinuated that they weren’t really concerned about spending time together.
Several comments talked about how they did their separate things most of the time and then spent some time together otherwise. Many of them even said they spent several nights a week eating dinner separately just because they were too busy to eat together. Do you know what happens to couples that have that attitude and marriage? They “drift apart” and “become different people,” and they “don’t have anything in common” and they get divorced. If you never do anything together, never spend time together — you don’t even eat meals together — how is it that you think you can have a successful marriage?
There are clearly times when not being able to spend time together or eat meals together isn’t an option. For example, military men and women and people who have jobs requiring them to travel. Heck, Jimmi works the awkward second shift right now, so we don’t always eat together either. I’m talking about couples who are married, but are living as if they’re still single.
“24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
This verse states that when a man and woman get married they become one flesh…they become one entity. A married couple cannot live as one entity if they are never together. No I’m not saying that you have to be attached to your spouses hip. I’m saying that the Bible has plenty of places where it talks about the fact that married couples are meant to be together and spend time together.
Most people have to work…at least one person in the family has to work. You can’t get out of that. There’s nothing wrong with a girls night or a guys night, but if you’re spending all of your spare time separately, there’s probably an issue.
Because Jimmi works second shift, that means he’s home the first half of the day. Since I’m staying at home now it makes it easier to spend time together as a family. Instead of fixing a big supper like a lot of people would do, I try to make a bigger lunch so we can spend time together as a family. It is important for the whole family to spend time together, just like it is important to spend time with your children.
Depending on what hours he’s working that day, Jimmi could get off at midnight or 4 a.m…there’s just no telling. If he is supposed to get off a midnight, then I will make an effort to stay awake so I can spend a few minutes with him. It’s normally nothing spectacular. We just talk while he fixes himself something to eat (or while I fix him something to eat) and while he’s winding down. There are times when I’ll rub his back or he’ll rub mine while I go to sleep. It’s 15-20 minutes tops that I wouldn’t get to spend with him otherwise. It’s equally important to have emotional intimacy in marriage as it is to have physical intimacy.
When I don’t get a chance to spend a few minutes with Jimmi just talking or watching TV together, I can feel the difference. When several days go by without me being able to have
a private chat with Jimmi because of work, church, or Josiah, I can feel a strain.
I love the movie, “Fireproof.” One of the key points it brings up is that once people get married, they give up courting each other. They give up dating each other and flirting with
each other and all the other things that couples do when they first get together. Most couples couldn’t spend enough time with each other when they were dating, but once they get married and once they have children it seems to all go away — it’s like they’ve achieved their goal and reached their plateau and now it’s time to focus on something different.
Do you know how many survival shows I’ve ended up watching (and enjoying) that I never would have watched all because Jimmi was interested in them? Do you know how many shows and movies Jimmi has watched with me that he might not otherwise watch or enjoy if it wasn’t for me? Before we got rid of our Playstation 2 we spent a few hours in the evening after Josiah went to bed playing video games together. Now that we have our PS3 we have a few games that we play together on there.
We’re a one income family with two children. We can’t go out and eat dinner whenever we want or go run out on expensive (or even cheap) dates all the time. Sometimes all we need is a night when Josiah is at his grandparents and we stay up until 2 a.m. laughing until our sides hurt as we watch MythBusters (yes, we’ve done it). Just like with our kids, it’s not necessarily about the minutes or hours we spend together, but it’s about the memories we make together.
I (along with most parents) want to spend time with my kids because I only have a limited number of years with them. I want them to know that I love them and I enjoy spending time with them. The fact of the matter is, I am raising my sons to one day grow up and get married and leave my home. I’m raising them to move out and have their own lives with their own wives and children. One day, both of my boys (and any other children God may bless us with) will move out and it will be just me and Jimmi. I don’t want to wake up on that day and realize that Jimmi and I haven’t spent the past 18+ years together other than when it involved the kids.
I want to spend time with Jimmi because all of our days are numbered and we don’t know when God is going to call us home. I want Jimmi to know that I only want him by my side. I want Jimmi to know that I love him and enjoy spending time with him because on the day that my children leave my home, Jimmi will still be there. He’s my husband. That’s the way God intended it to be. Josiah, Samuel, and any other children we may have will be loved and cherished always, but they will grow up and move on because that was God’s design. God’s design for my marriage was for Jimmi and I to become one flesh, always and forever. In order to do that, I have to spend time with my husband.