Tim and I are approaching our third year of marriage and we certainly don’t claim to “know-it-all” but we would love to share with you some things that have significantly impacted our relationship and how we communicate life in our home.

Preemptively Set Expectations

Having the foresight to see change coming has blessed our relationship by keeping us from unmet expectations and unwanted conflict. About every three months, we sit down and discuss “what’s next.” Do we have travel coming up? Any big work projects that may take more of our time? Does Hunter have needs that we as parents haven’t been meeting? How are we effectively making time to read our Bibles and pray together? We constantly need a reset button in our relationship expectations because we fall into old patterns of individualism, just doing life the way we think it should be done without regard for the other person.

Expressing what we need or what we “think” the next season will look like clarifies what our reality most likely will become. It also gives us each a better perspective of where our time is going so we can choose activities that bring life over activities that just keep us busy.

Craft a Vision for Your Home

Each May, Tim and I sit down and discuss what worked well in the last year and what could be better. We then find a scripture verse for the next year and choose a word that keeps us focused and encouraged. This last year our word was cultivate because previously we had planted a lot of seeds in our family and friendships and now was the time to care for what the Lord had provided us.

Excited to choose a new word this year. If you want more instruction or ideas for choosing a vision word for your home, you can read my article here on Grit and Virtue.

Read Aloud

Story time in the Hurley Home! We had tried to read books simultaneously for a while without much success until a friend mentioned reading aloud to one another. So, we each get a copy of the same book and a few times a week we sit down to read a chapter with one another. Sharing ideas has kept us connected and feeds a part of our relationship we didn’t even know we were hungry for. It also allows us to communicate the vision we have for our family, home and community on a regular basis.

Some suggestions to get ya’ started:

Parenting with Love and Logic

The Lifegiving Home

The Lifegiving Parent

Choose to Create Simple Fun

Our marriage has changed since having Hunter and the activities we use to share together have changed too. Sometimes, I get nostalgic thinking about our past weekend trips or even the ability to sleep in and cuddle. So, over the last two years we have focused less on what we are missing out on and more on how we can create more everyday fun. This can include jumping into bed with our favorite Callahan Ceramic bowls filled to the top with ice cream and enjoying a board game together. Other times, it is taking in the beauty of an after-dinner walk, catching up on life.

No matter what is looks like, we try to enjoy what we have instead of wishing for what we don’t have.

Open Your Bible

I have always read my Bible diligently every day and some seasons its life giving and other seasons its just routine, but recently we have experienced God’s truths as a powerful weapon to use against the enemy. Whether we are reminding one another of God’s promises or using the truths to cover the lies that harm our marriage, Scripture has equipped us “for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17).

Each morning we read God’s Word together and pray. Some days its life giving, other days its routine, but it is a daily discipline that provides our unshakeable foundation we can always come back to as the life and hope of our marriage.

We know there is so much more growth and learning to be done and that can be daunting but also thrilling to be a part of someone’s journey to become more and more like Jesus.

What are your creative and simple ways to build your relationship with your spouse?