Spring is coming! This week in my hometown we finally saw the sun, and have been getting rain storms instead of snow. So that’s progress, right?
Spring is my favorite season. It is full of hope: hope I will get to the end of the semester, hope the sun will come back, hope for the summer, and hope that things will continue improving. Spring is the season of rebirth, capped by our Easter celebrations of Jesus Christ and his victory over death. It is usually in the spring that we clean our houses, revive our gardens, and hopefully get a spring break.
In the spirit of spring, we are going to talk about “spring cleaning” our marriages. Often in our modern society, many of us suffer some level of seasonal depression. Simply put, this means we can start to exhibit symptoms of depression (like apathy, low energy, too much or too little sleep etc.) in the winter months when we spend more time indoors and less time in the sun. Because of this, our relationship can also feel like they are declining in the winter months. But the sun is coming back! Let’s take the opportunity to take stock of our relationships, clear out the dust, and make room for hope that things can and will get even better with a little effort. Here are some ideas on how to “spring clean” your marriage!
Spring is the time in nature where new animals are born and plants begin to sprout. Flowers, trees, and animals in hibernation seem to come back to life as the days get longer. Take this opportunity to reflect on the state of your marriage. Have you two gone into hibernation? Some couples thrive in winter; but others may struggle through the long cold months to feel connected. With spring upon us, take a quiet moment to consider where you and your spouse are at. Here are some questions to help guide your reflection.
- How connected do I feel to my spouse?
- What has been going well recently?
- What could be better in our marriage?
- What have we learned since we got married? What have we learned in the last year?
- What good habits have we stopped doing?
- What bad habits have we picked up?
- Does my spouse feel loved by me? How do I know?
- How do I show my love daily?
Like I said, your marriage might have thrived this winter! If so, take this opportunity to celebrate the victory and to give thanks for the wonderful relationship you have. However, if you do feel like things are off, don’t despair! It happens to every couple at some point. Take this opportunity to own your part in the dynamic of your relationship and think about ways you can increase intimacy in your marriage. And don’t lose sight of the good: make a list of the things that are going well! Let’s walk through some things you can do this spring to revive your marriage and make it better than ever!
Most schools have a spring break around this time. Students have been hard at work for months and summer still seems far away, so a spring break gives students and teachers a much needed reprieve. Similarly, most people feel run down this time of year. Winter can take a toll, and the time from Christmas to New Years can be rough (especially for parents). Maybe you need a spring break too.
Before summer starts, it can be a great idea to take a break with your spouse and spend some time reconnecting. Find a way to escape from the daily stressors you face and get to know each other once again. Here are some ideas of ways to take a spring break!
Plan a Vacation
Who doesn’t love a vacation? If you can make it happen, going to a new place with your love can be a great way to unwind and getting to experience new things together is a wonderful way to build intimacy. Consider taking your spouse to a place they loved as a kid, show off one of your favorite spots, or explore somewhere completely new together.
Take a Day Off
It may not be reasonable for you to plan a full vacation right now. Instead, plan a “day off” for you two to explore locally together. Get a day off work or plan a weekend with no chores. Find someone to watch the kids. Explore your town, take a day trip to a neighboring city, try a new restaurant, or whatever you want to do! Take it up a notch by booking a hotel or Airbnb (or planning a sleepover for the kids and getting the house to yourself) so you can also enjoy a night together, interruption and worry free.
Finding time to take a break can be so important. If all of your interactions with your spouse are about schedules and finances and other responsibilities, they can start to feel more like a business partner than the love of your life. Take this time to reconnect, and remember to not sweat the small stuff.
Along with spring breaks, a lot of families celebrate the return of spring with a big deep clean! I remember hating spring cleaning as a kid because my mom always insisted I had too many stuffed animals and would make me get rid of one of them. Spring cleaning is a lot more enjoyable when it’s my choice, and I don’t have pressure to get rid of things I’ve held onto for so long. It can be a really painful experience when someone else is insisting you change. Therefore, your spring cleaning can’t be focused on what you want your spouse to do better. Only you can change you, and vice versa.
If your spouse is willing, you can sit together and discuss what bad habits you want to clean up together. However, make sure you avoid blaming and instead focus on “I” statements (I feel ____________ when ____________ happens; it would help me if you could give a specific and doable action).
Set goals for yourself of positive habits you want to create and negative habits you want to lessen. This could be as simple as sending your spouse a love text once a week, or taking a few hours a week to do chores around the house, or completing your Intimately Us intimacy challenge daily.
Clear out the furniture and dust off the lights. Taking time to inventory and set goals can help your marriage feel refreshed and on a path toward success.
I would be remiss if I didn’t talk briefly about my favorite part of spring, Easter. I love my Savior and the opportunity He has given us to repent and start again. Make God a part of your marriage. Pray for His guidance and you explore what you change about your relationship. Invite His Spirit into your life by praying and studying the scriptures with your spouse. No one can help your marriage as much as your loving Father in Heaven can if you let Him in.
Spring is the time of rebirth, and it can be a great time to perform a check-up on your marriage. Take time to reflect on your marriage, take a break together, set goals to “clean-up” your marriage and deepen your intimacy. Remember to include God in all your changes.
Written by Amanda Severson with Get Your Marriage On!
Inspired by Hayley