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Sharing Space ≠ Sharing Life

Our family could not be more happy to welcome March and the advent of Spring.  Although we enjoyed fun in the snow for a couple of days, the entire second half of February was wrought with sickness and cabin fever after MANY cancelled days of preschool and other activities that provide joyful rhythm of life for our family. We endured a cold that became a sinus infection, another cold that led to an ear infection, and a stomach bug that slowly made its way through each member of our household.
Needless to say, we had a LOT of family togetherness.  And though my husband and I had more hours together in the same house than we have in a long time, we ended February feeling more disconnected than we have in a long time.  (Let’s be honest, there’s nothing like vomit to kill the warm and fuzzies of connect time with your sweetheart!)
Our circumstances revealed a bedrock marital truth that is true in every season: intimacy and connectedness do not happen by accident.  On the contrary, it takes much intentionality, planning, time, and attention.  After a “normal” first week of March and a little effort, we feel reconnected.   So, in an effort to encourage you to make the most of your marriage (and to resist the urge to simply “room” with your spouse)… here are 5 things we did this week to re-establish intimacy after a tough season of life.
1.  Turn off the technology.  The first night that everyone in the house was 100%, my husband made his famous air-popped popcorn and we plopped down on the couch, turned our phones off, faced each other, and chatted.
2.  Have FUN together.  I took the kids to the park one afternoon after naptime and my husband met us there when he returned from work.  The kids laughed.  We laughed together.  They played.  We experienced shared joy watching them play.  Win-win.
3.  Have intentional conversations about your marriage.  In the sweetness of His timing, the Lord provided a free marriage event at our church this week.  We ate dinner early, let the kids stay up late, and rearranged our evening to attend.  The speaker’s moving presentation gave us great content to consider and apply as we talked throughout the week.
4.  Go on a date.   This one seems like a no-brainer, but it can be so easy with small kids to forego a date without sippy cups and crayons due to the hassle of finding a sitter or the cost of a meal out.  We had a friend graciously offer to watch our kids for an hour and gift cards to spend.  Ninety uninterrupted minutes face-to-face at one of our favorite local restaurants went far to make up for several days of little communication.
5.  Set aside household responsibilities.  These days it’s very rare that both of our children nap.  But on Saturday we put both of the kids to bed after lunch and resisted the urge to deal with the overflowing laundry basket and the dirty floors.  My husband set aside his email inbox that was screaming for his attention.  We decided instead to seize the moments we had to prioritize us.  The laundry is still only halfway done, which typically drives me bonkers, but we’re ending the weekend in a great place.
I hated feeling disconnected, but I love that both of us felt so discontent in that place.   I’m praying that snow or sunshine, sickness or health, we will be more thoughtful about our moments together.  I don’t just want to share space.  I want to share life.
Ashlee Johnson

Ashlee is the wife of a pastor, mom of two busy little ones, and a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Seminary. She is passionate about communicating the truths of Scripture to women and magnifying Jesus as the All-Satisfying Treasure and Almighty Redeemer. She has lived in North Carolina for most of her life and loves making the most of the sidewalks and parks in her 1940s neighborhood. Ashlee enjoys healthy eating and exercising, but finds it nearly impossible to resist homemade cookies!

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