Keep Your Love ALIVE
Love is a loosely used term. The same word we use to say that we love our shoes is applied to loving our children and our spouse.
Falling in love
Fifteen years ago, I fell in love with my husband. Falling in love was fun. I’d even say it was fairly easy. There was so much to discover about him, so many things I loved about him. Just by being in his presence, I was filled with many excitable feelings. Simple things like receiving a text, the touch of his hand and hanging out together sent a rush of anticipation throughout my entire being.
This kind of love as many of us know is short lived. I don’t get the same excitement I once had from the little things. Today we hurriedly kiss one another on our way out the door. Some days we even partly push each other aside. We’ve got a schedule to meet and can’t be late.
In the beginning we didn’t want our moments to end. We hugged longer. Kissed longer.
Everything else could wait. Now nothing can.
less and more
I tend to take it for granted that our love will always be there. Months can pass by where we’re caught in the hustle and bustle of work, school, sports, church, friends and more. We talk less. Hug less. Connect less. In these times, we eventually become more silent. More distant. More irritated. Then comes more fighting
One of us will thankfully recognize that how we’re living is not building our future. And so, shifts must be made.
like a vessel
The course of a marriage can be very much like the course a vessel sets out upon. It knows its destination. However, it doesn’t start in the right direction and then hope it somehow finds its way. There are continual adjustments made to help it stay on track.
When our marriage is at its best, here are the things we are intentional about to keep our love ALIVE.
1. We set guardrails. Guardrails protect and they direct. When you travel through the mountains, guardrails are in place to protect you from driving over the edge and they help direct you to stay on the right path. Jason and I did a series titled Guardrails years ago by Pastor Andy Stanley. It was a game changer for our marriage. We talked about our fears and insecurities. We talked about things that could build or break down trust. This is a series you can find on YouTube that every single couple can benefit from.
2. We date. Each other. My husband and I are not great at typical dinner and movie dates. We find other ways to date. We go for walks. We have a glass of wine in our hot tub. We go to hockey games. Between work and sports, our evening schedule is full. This leaves us to lunch or coffee dates. Some of my favourite dates are when we send the kids away and simply stay home for an evening together.
3. We get away. At least once (preferably twice) a year my husband and I get away together. I used to think a getaway had to mean a week at the beach. Due to time and financial restraints this isn’t always realistic. Then I discovered how much rest and connection 24hrs together can do, even if it’s just an overnight 30 minutes away. Some of our favourite memories have been short one-night trips. You have no choice but to make the most of your time together.
4. We connect with others. Our church highly encourages being a part of a Connect Group. Our Couples Connect groups are a safe place to build marriage and faith, navigate parenting struggles, and to gain wisdom from other couples. Without a shadow of a doubt our marriage flourishes when we are a part of Connect Group. It eventually struggles when we are not. If this is new to you, check out CTY.LC /CONNECT/ You can join one of our Connect Groups even if you don’t come to our church.
5. We share common values. We value family time. We value our community, giving back and volunteering. We value serving in our church. We value relationship, especially when it comes to raising kids. We value communication. Though hard and sometimes confrontational, the benefit communicating brings is worth it! We value honesty. Integrity. Fun and Laughter. Health and Sports. We don’t always agree on things. Sometimes it’s even better when we don’t agree. Trust and loyalty are built when we can say, “I don’t love the idea. But if it’s important to you, it’s important to me. I want you to have it, do it, try it, etc.”
There have been so many things Jason and I have discovered over the past 15 years that have helped to keep our love alive. We discovered that at one time in our lives we worked well together, and at another time we didn’t. Some things are beneficial, but only for a season. That is OK. It took us about 12 years to discover that we are very different and that too is OK!
the power of God
We know the power of reading God’s word together, praying together, setting our hope, trust and faith that no matter what difficulties we face God is with us and He is for us. He always has an incredible plan and purpose ahead no matter how good or bad the moment feels.
Many times, Keeping Our Love ALIVE comes down to grace, acceptance and forgiveness. We are all so far from perfect, yet it can be easy to expect perfection from those we love. Every single one of us is going to miss the mark. Perhaps even daily. What difference might it make if you made allowance for one another’s faults? (Colossians 3:13) What if you were willing to love and accept them, as they are, where they are?
who you become
Keeping your love ALIVE is not about what you get from the other person, it’s about who you get to become. Love. Fully. And Completely. Embrace their flaws. And your own. Be patient. Pursue him (or her) like you did when you first started dating. Remember the things you used to love doing together. Make time for them again. Be kind and gentle. Forgive each other, as you’ve been forgiven (Ephesians 4:32). Encourage one another. Build each other up. (1 Thessalonians 5:11) Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honouring each other. (Romans 12:10)
Committed to you!
Master Health Coach, EmpowerWays
Kristine Rustand is a Master Health Coach with EmpowerWays. Everything we do is about empowering you to live a healthier, happier life. You can follow EmpowerWays on Facebook and Instagram. If you want to know how Health Coaching can help you live a healthier, happier life contact Kristine today. EmpowerWays@gmail.com