We press in. When we have hard days, weeks, months, yeaaarrrsss. We press in. Which is not our natural response. His natural response is to find solitude and quiet. To withdraw by himself until the hardship blows over. My natural response is to avoid even acknowledging that there is a hardship and instead pour myself into the next project.
But we’ve learned that our natural responses are not what is healthy for our marriage. It’s not healthy to withdraw and avoid. We must press in. To each other. To the hard. To Jesus. And through the trials we’ve learned what works for us (not as individuals) and our marriage.
We stack date nights. Last month we had a little more free time (what even is that) and we went on several dates. An overnight date, a couple dinner dates, a coffee date. We knew looking ahead that this month was going to be crazy busy and stressful and hectic. In order to get through these season we needed to be strong. Like an athlete who trains in the offseason to prepare for the long grueling days when the season approaches. Dating (any time without children asking a million questions is considered a date in my book!) is our training.
We have individual quiet times. Which looks differently for each of us, but it is there that Jesus speaks to us as people and that wisdom pours over to our marriage.
We communicate often. Every other Wednesday after the kids go to bed we have a business meeting. We can talk about budget and meal planning and schedules and new ideas. No one really has control over their lives, but we make sure there are as few surprises as possible. Last year I bought a 3 year journal that has daily prompts. And we both answer the prompt. Some of them are entirely ridiculous. But some prompts bring up bigger, necessary, or funny conversations. We check in throughout the day. Sometimes that just means a note in his lunch box or a quick text. Sometimes that means meeting for a quick coffee or a phone call driving between appointments. The communication is key for pressing in.
This particular week started with a day full of funeral services for our beloved Grandpa and is rolling into several 12-hour work shifts in a row plus some therapy and a bio family visit. Dating is impossible, communication will be minimal, and general lack of sleep makes our irritability higher. But as we work to build a strong foundation, these weeks become bearable. Not easy, by any stretch of the imagination, but doable. We are pressing in. We made the choice to press in. To each other. To the hard. To Jesus.