Today, we welcome new columnist Erika Marie to the CatholicMom.com family of contributors. Erika shares her writing at her personal simplemama blog and will be joining us here monthly. Welcome Erika!
"Couples with young children especially yearn for sacred moments together. It can be practically impossible for these couples to get out on their own, even for a quick coffee or stroll in the park. Creativity and a willingness to lower the bar of entertainment can easily solve the intense need to stay connected and keep married life interesting."
"Air ball, air ball, air ball!" My husband’s booming voice chanting along with the ten thousand some basketball fans rang loudly in my ears. It was exhilarating being there in that stadium with all the charged-up fans watching the game play by play. We yelled along with the crowd, "De-Fence! De-Fence!" and booed in disgust at lost points or scoring chances. I looked over at my husband who was holding our three-month old son. The excitement in his voice and the glee on his face was extremely contagious. Seven years and three kids later, it was great to know my husband and I could still make time for fun together.
I thought back to one of our marriage preparation sessions when our pastor took out a piece of paper and drew a circle on it. He then wrote both of our names in the circle. He proceeded to slice up the circle like a pie, explaining that each new child, work and home responsibilities and other unexpected events would inevitably become part of our lives. Though those ‘slices’ would be important parts of our marriage it would still be up to us to make time together for us as a couple. I remember nodding my head as if I understood. Silly me.
Like a basketball game; marriage is full of defensive opponents and constant distractions. Couples in pre-marital and newlywed bliss, look at each other clearly and with certainty. However, as our pastor tried to ‘warn’ us, over the years and with each new blessed child, the view gets a little blurry. It becomes increasingly difficult to find an opening for each other through all the demands of family life. Without a good game plan, couples can grow apart, lose focus on their spousal relationship, and sadly end up walking off the court in defeat.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Initiative For Your Marriage encourages couples to take the time to nurture the relationship of man and wife by blending personalities and building on common interests and goals. For Your Marriage shares some simple and even free ideas for couples who enjoy monthly or weekly ‘date nights’. My friend Debi and her husband have been very happily married for fifteen years and are blessed with five children. They both understand that marriage is a gift. With heaven as their goal, they make sure to pray together every night before bed, thanking God for each other. Every now and then, they sneak away to Adoration together to nurture their individual and united relationships with God.
Couples with young children especially yearn for sacred moments together. It can be practically impossible for these couples to get out on their own, even for a quick coffee or stroll in the park. Creativity and a willingness to lower the bar of entertainment can easily solve the intense need to stay connected and keep married life interesting. I know a friend of mine who, despite her lack of personal interest in gaming, will stay up late with her husband some nights to storm the enemy gates or speedily maneuver cars through virtual race courses; showing each other who’s got the power.
When I keep stand by my husband as he blasts away at his computer monitor, I learn that a great way for me to stay connected with my him is through his nerdy side. I love to listen to him talk about what excites him. Even though most of his techno-jargon flies way over my head, I know it means a lot to him when I attentively listen without necessarily understanding. If he has work to do on the computer, I’ll nurse the baby there or take out my knitting or a book and sit with him knowing he appreciates the company. This usually opens up the air for random communication concerning our days and the kids, current events, and future activities.
Quality time together does not always have to involve anything super intellectual or productive. While many modern television shows and movies are indeed filled with immoral images and values, there are still some that offer relatively decent entertainment. Thanks to modern recording technology, we often enjoy sitting down together after the kids are in bed to watch one of ‘our shows’ or latest rental. It is a great way for us to bond and wind down from our busy days. For a few hours, we can forget about our stresses and involve ourselves in the affairs and entanglements of other people’s nonexistent lives.
I’m sure there will come a day, when the kids are all grown up and living their lives. New strife and drama will dominate our lives and prayers. We’ll move past spontaneous ping pong matches, Frisbee and competitive soccer games in our backyard to more extravagant things like Dinner and a movie or exotic Caribbean cruises. I’m sure that season of our life will be beautiful in its own way. When that wind does blows in though, I’m sure I’ll look back with a nostalgic heart at these good ol’ days.
Copyright 2010 Erika Marie