As I was debating/praying on what topics to feature again during this blog series, I contemplated not repeating the topic of spending time with your husband. But God definitely impressed on me that this is a crucial issue. While I know that this is not for every mom in our group, I do think that this pertains to enough of us to write about this topic.
On the surface, Christmas seems to be the most magical time of the year. The time of the most family togetherness. Even the most “romantical” time as the majority of commercials seem to feature jewelry, even during football games. Yet despite the happy scenes that are shown, I think that Christmas can also be one of the most isolating times. This is definitely true if you happen to be single, as all of the traditions are up to you. But I also think that the true for those of us who are married – we can be so busy making Christmas happen for our children, that by the end of the day we are spent – no longer in the mood to have meaningful conversation or times of connection with our husbands. Either situation – being alone alone or alone together- is heartbreaking, but for this blog edition I am going to focus on the second, since that is where I am at currently.
I had a startling dream the other night where I was single, yet my husband will still there. Except instead of being married, I was simply living with him. But I decided I was going to walk away because I had found someone more interesting. He was heartbroken in the dream, but I remember feeling apathetic – I really didn’t care. I woke up feeling relieved but also sad. I feel strongly that God sent that dream not only to challenge me personally but also for me to share this thought with others.
Especially during this season full of nightly romantic Christmas movies, we woman can struggle with shades of discontent. Rather than the shows causing us to look with fondness toward our husbands, we can look at them with frustration. How come he never makes me dinner like that? How come he never buys me chocolate diamonds? Or even just plain chocolate? Not that there isn’t a place for reading an appropriate Christmas novel that happens to have a bit of romance or even watching a Hallmark movie or two – in fact at the end of this I am going to recommend several that you could watch with your husband. Together! But if we feed ourselves a steady diet of seeing relationships that are casual and temporary or even that only show good times with the goal of personal pleasure, we will leave feeling empty.
God brought a passage in II Timothy 3 to my mind. Not your typical December verses but powerful nonetheless. The first verses talk about people in the last days – a pretty accurate description of many today unfortunately. I am starting with verse 2 and going through verse 7 – the first verses are included as a reference, but in particular I was struck by the last verses.
2For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
6 They are the kind who work their way into people’s homes and win the confidence of vulnerable women who are burdened with the guilt of sin and controlled by various desires. 7 (Such women are forever following new teachings, but they are never able to understand the truth.)
Women are definitely vulnerable today. We can spend too much time watching the latest films or reading the latest novels that are full of “happily ever afters” that would be hard to recreate in real life, especially since movies tend to gloss over problems. They show couples who walk away from each other, rather than sticking with each other. Or they glorify the “knight in shining armor” who comes to rescue you from life, rather than showing the steady man who goes off to provide for his family then comes home to go through life with you. One can seem exciting while the other can seem dull. These mixed messages of idealism can definitely take away our confidence and can make us falter in pursuing what we are called to do. Having daily relationships with our families, especially our husbands, rather than just seeking to create the next great experience, is important. While occasionally there might be fireworks, a daily dose might be a bit noisy (not to mention expensive).
Having time with our husbands to truly connect, rather than just wanting to collapse on the couch at end of a long day, is challenging. This is very hard to do during the early preschool years. When you are needed ALL day by little people who do make you smile but also cry and fuss at you to get your attention. Being a care giver is challenging! There is definitely a need for moms to find time alone to be refreshed. This has been a struggle for me lately, as we are gradually moving out of the nap phase at my house. I am discovering that unless I still manage to get a bit of time alone throughout the day, I tend to be crabby at night which isn’t fair to my kids or my husband. It also doesn’t make for a great time when the kids go to bed. My personal challenge is to find ways to have enough of “me” left to be a part of “us.”
The desire to have romance is not wrong, but to only have that aspect definitely limits our marriages. When we leave space in our schedules for time alone together, some of that will come. More importantly, when we do take time for us, our families will also be strengthened. The question I am asking myself – what can I do during this busy month to protect time with my husband?
We have music on all of the time around here. So for me, I created a “My Kyle Christmas” list that I will try to have on as background music a few times this season after the kids are in bed. Here are some of the more “romantic” songs that are on my list.
“Christmas Dreaming” by Harry Connick Jr.
“364 Days to Go” by Brad Paisley
“The Gift” by Jim Brickman (vocals by Collin Raye & Susan Ashton)
“It Really Is (A Wonderful Life)” by Mindy Smith
“Christmas Kiss” by Steven Curtis Chapman
“Hibernation Day” by Jars of Clay
“Merry Christmas, Baby” by Nicole C. Mullen
“Christmas for Two” by Sixpence None the Richer
“I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” by Dean Martin
“Baby, it’s Cold Outside” by Jill Phillips and Andy Gullahorn (a funny one!)
There are also a few movies that I may manage to sneak in this year. A few of these titles are obvious, but sometimes we forget from season to season. Any of these titles would be good ones (and some are available at the library) …
“The Christmas Card”
“The Christmas Child”
“Christmas in Connecticut”
There are obviously many more movie titles – if you have one to suggest that is one encouraging toward marriages, please leave the title in a comment.
I tend to like Christmas music and movies far more than my husband, so my biggest gift to him this season will be a few nights just sitting by the Christmas tree with him, allowing conversation to happen. Just sitting there is hard for me, but I am learning that is exactly what I need sometimes. I have been know to serve the kids a quick supper and send them down to watch a Christmas cartoon. Then I reheat a nicer frozen meal, and we have a dinner for two upstairs. This way we can enjoy time together when we are more awake, rather than trying to communicate when we are both exhausted. A date night in our dining room! (If I do not have a good meal in the freezer, I might make something simple for us, so I am not stuck later cleaning the kitchen from a gourmet meal that ended up being cold due to possible interruptions!)
How are you going to find time to spend with your husband during this busy season?