Marriage is a total yet daily commitment. Add the joyful privilege (yet often stressful life) of adoption, foster care, or special needs parenting to marriage, and it can be easy to lose focus.
Following are my 8 suggestions for marriages with adoptive, foster care and special needs parenting (just for fun, I added Top 40 song titles as headings):
1. Right Here Waiting
Make time for each other, even if it is a few minutes a day. Time for a back rub, or simply time to actually look each other in the eye and asking about their day. Appreciate each other. We can find the time. It’s making it a priority that we often struggle with.
2. It Takes Two, Baby
Always remember that you are a team. It is not just you or only your spouse. You are of one flesh now; it is the two of you, together and with God, that takes on whatever the day may bring. When you focus on facing what comes together, as a team, you will gain strength.
3. Laughter in the Rain
Finding the humor in situations many would gasp at is part of being in relationship. Jahn and I have so many “inside” jokes. The most stressful moments can bring about howls of laughter. Laughter is a natural stress-buster. We may look crazy, but it is balm for our weary souls.
4. Let’s Get Physical
We need to be good to ourselves. Get up and go to bed at the same time each day (as much as you possibly can). Take your prescription medication and vitamins as directed. Exercise, even if it means with the kids in tow. Get outside at least 20 minutes a day. We all know this stuff. Make putting it into practice a priority. Keeping our body healthy spills over into our mental and emotional selves, and helps us keep balanced.
5. Keep Our Love Alive
Keeping romance in your marriage takes work. So, get out the candles, your favorite CD (or dare I say, mix-tape?), and lower the lights. Acknowledge what you have always found attractive about each other. Regardless of how you are expressing your physical affection for each other (yes, cuddling is great and can be an endgame), acknowledging that part of your relationship in a number of small ways throughout your day is a great way to keep romance alive.
6. Blame It on the Rain
We can blame the rain, but never blame each other. We need to bite our lips, and not let those “I told you so’s” out. Blame is completely destructive. We need to save the sarcastic humor for time with our girlfriends, and use every word to build up our spouses.
7. The Heart of the Matter
One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn in my marriage is to practice forgiveness. I had to learn to forgive even when I was in the right. To allow unforgiveness to creep into our most intimate relationship will erode it from the inside out. To be able to forgive is to touch a bit of the divine. We who have been forgiven so much by God himself, must learn the act of humility that is forgiveness and practice it always.
8. Livin’ on a Prayer
Make time in your day for each other and use it wisely. Praying together is a great investment in your marriage relationship. Pray for each other aloud. Whatever is important to our spouse is important to us. It is amazing the intimacy praying together, and for each other, builds.
God’s love for us models the marriage relationship for us. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 isn’t just for our wedding ceremonies (wink). This Bible passage serves as a great reminder for us in the journey of marriage, as well.
Peace & grace,
*This topic was suggested by Stop! Hammock Time with Katie M. Reid (Facebook Page). Be sure to look for our interview there:)