Recently I rediscovered a book I brought home with me when I retired. It is titled Public Lives, Private Prayer by Mary Reath. It is a compilation of prayers or insights by public people. After spending a few minutes paging through it I came across the page written by Don Nickles, former U. S. Senator from Oklahoma. While his Seven Steps to a Better Life are aimed at people in general we think they could be thoughts for married couples.
1. Get up a half hour earlier than you normally do. In the very busy years of our lives filled with family, careers, homes, and raising children we always had the good intention of taking time for us. We at times even put ourselves on the calendar. Sometimes we were more successful than others but often by the time we were finished with all the things we had to do it was easy to postpone time for us. While I know getting up earlier is not something to do often perhaps once in a while it might just be the solution to having time together for a chat, to laugh about something, to snuggle or to make love. Give it a try and see if it works for you.
2. Get on your knees and have your quiet time. Express gratitude. On our wedding night and for many years after, we knelt by the bed each night to pray. While we no longer kneel, prayer to end the day is important to us. Find time to collect yourselves at the end of the day especially to give gratitude for what has happened that day and for the people who enrich your lives.
3. Read something positive—the New Testament, Psalms or Proverbs. Our world today is overrun with negativity. The headlines on my browser, the morning newspaper, the evening news and many of my personal conversations with people reference all that is not good in their lives and the world. Take a little time together to reflect on what is good. We were speaking last night with a friend about the mystery and awe of being married. Try together on a regular basis to read something positive or at the very least have positive words about something in your life. It will likely influence how you live your marriage.
4. Go outside and look around. Breathe deeply and see the beauty. Meditate. There is nothing like the changing of seasons to fill us with awe and the beauty of God’s creation. We suggest that you go outside together and with all your senses experience nature together. Take a look at the moon. It has been especially beautiful in the sky this fall. Consider the changing phases as cycles in your life together. Take in the colors of the leaves and their smell. Fall has a different smell than spring. There is a crispness and briskness that is not in the spring. It reminds me to not let things go unsaid or undone in my relationship with Bob. Hear the sounds. Often in the fall we hear the sound of migrating birds. It reminds me of the people who have been part of our life this year and have moved on to other things in their life. It calls me to be thankful. Taste is more than what we put into our mouths. But like the smells of autumn there is a taste of autumn as well. Savor the “taste” of your relationship. Touch is a wonderful sensation. While we most often think of touching, hold hands and let the autumn air touch you both. Speak a little of your thoughts about your time together or just be quiet and be aware of your spouse and how your life is better because he/she is in it.
5. Get some exercise and take a quick shower. Try both together. J
6. Eat a good breakfast. One of the most difficult things to maintain for many people. Think of ways to feed your life and marriage that day.
7. Greet everyone you see with love in your heart. Start your day with doing that for each other. While I always try to greet everyone with a smile and love, see who can remind you of the love and smile you saw in your spouse when you parted in the morning. Maybe it is in the cherubic smile of one of your children, a twinkle in someone’s eyes, a gesture someone makes, or the words someone speaks. The beauty in this is that you will be aware of others in ways you otherwise might not be and it will likely change the way you interact with them but it will also keep your spouse in your mind more of the day. The reward—all aspects of your life will be better.
Give Senator Nickles ideas a try. See how your life is enriched.
I was going to add to this, but Rita said it well, so I’m going to take a break this week.
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Our book: Forever and a Day: An Invitation to Create a Marriage that Lasts a Lifetime is available in paperback on Amazon.com. Also available for Kindle and Nook.