My desire in starting this blog was to encourage women who are in an odd season of motherhood due to the long/ unpredictable work schedule of their husbands. But I realized today that while motherhood is difficult in those seasons, building a strong marriage is harder.
The Struggle is Real
My husband worked the night shift for four years. This meant that getting time alone was hard because when he was home, one of us was sleeping. Add to that the fact that we had two children. This made alone time nearly impossible. Furthermore, there were seasons (pregnancy and newborn seasons) were I had no physical energy to do ANYTHING. In this day and age, this combination can be deadly to a marriage. But thank God for His goodness in providing ways to have a strong marriage during times of distance whether that’s distance of space or time.
Choosing our Marriage
Creativity. In order to get any time to ourselves and focus on our marriage, we had to be creative. For example, a lot of our conversation took place (and still do) while he is in the shower and getting ready for work. Yes this might seem awkward, but seriously, it’s the one time the boys aren’t trying to bust through the bathroom door.
Flexibility. This is necessary if you’re going to hone into any creativity. Shower talks were not what my idealistic self envisioned for my marriage. No, in my mind important conversations happened after the kids went to bed and we were snuggling on the couch. But as always, reality doesn’t live up to those ideals and I had to learn to be willing to change my relinquish my visions of candlelight conversations and adapt to my reality.
Zeal. We have enforced a very strict bedtime ever since Paul M was a baby. This was crucial not just for my mental sanity but also for the sake of our marriage. Every extra minute the boys get to stay up is one less minute Paul S and I get alone together. I know this completely contradicts the flexibility point but if you are going to ensure some form of time together, you must zealously protect that time, This may mean disappointing your kids. It may mean the dishes sit in the sink til morning. But if it means a strong and healthy marriage then it’s worth it.
The Foundation of Marriage
Marriage, like any house must be built up and maintained in order to stand strong in the storms of life. Sadly, many try to build marriages the same way the foolish man attempted to build his house in Matthew chapter 7.
And everyone who hears these words and does not do them will be like the foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, and it fell and the fall was great.
Matthew 7:26-27 (ESV)
The man’s house fell because he didn’t have a solid foundation. Similarly, many marriages today fail because they aren’t built on a good foundation and as a result they experience a great fall when the storms of life appear.
I realize this might sound a bit preachy, but it’s a point that must be made. If all you are relying on to get you through these times of distance in marriage, you may as well build a house on sand. Because if Christ isn’t the solid foundation of your relationship, you have little hope of weathering life’s storms.