Here are three little things for marriage that I started using around Christmastime. Two were Christmas gifts, and the third was a podcast episode I listened to just after Christmas. I hope you take a look at them and use them as well to enhance your marriage!
The first is a novel, pictured above, by the Five Love Languages guy, Gary Chapman, and a coauthor, who I’ve never heard of before, Chris Fabry. I found this book used for 50 cents at my public library’s book sale. It’s a remake of the Christmas Carol, but with a couple, named Jacob and Marlee (get it?) who are about to get a divorce on Christmas Eve. That happens to be their anniversary. On the way to the divorce lawyer something happens to detour them which causes them to confront the ghosts of marriage past, marriage present, and marriage future. So far it’s a great book! I read aloud as much as I can at bedtime when my husband’s head hits the pillow, after I ask him a question from the book pictured below.
The book above is a journal filled with one question a day to ask your spouse and yourself for a year. Then there is space on the page to write your answers, on that day, as well as for two more years in a row, when you revisit the question a year and two from now. That way you can see how you change. There’s space for each spouse to write, with different colored lines. My husband’s answer goes on the black lines and mine go on the red lines. It’s a great way to meaningfully connect with your husband so that you talk about something everyday that isn’t the ordinary business of running a home, like the kids and the bills. I love not having to think about what to talk about. Instead of the boring “How was your day?” I ask the question of the day from this book. It totally helps me create a ritual of “Pillow Talk.” I’ve always loved the idea of Pillow Talk but most times I have felt at a loss for what to say, because no deep conversation has organically evolved yet. Most days are like that, but there was one moment when he said, “Remember when we lived in Provo and so-and-so said this about marriage during church. I came home and told you about it and we both laughed.” Then we got interrupted and he couldn’t finish telling me the rest of this mysterious story that I had no memory of. So for the rest of the day I was left wondering what this memorable quote was that had my husband still thinking about it years later. Most days aren’t like that though, we usually have a hard time thinking beyond the problems of the ordinary day. Well, now my problem is solved! I read the question of the day from this book, and then as much as I can of the Chapman book before he falls asleep. When we finish the Marriage Carol book I will get another book that relates to marriage. (Suggestions anyone?)
So far I haven’t encountered anything racy. but we are only in January! It remains to be seen if this will be something I can pass on to generations without blushing or keep it under lock and key. I can’t vouch for the whole thing being G-rated because I haven’t read all the the questions yet. So if you are sensitive to that then please beware.
The third “Christmas/New Year’s” gift I am enjoying for my marriage is an episode from Linda and Richard Eyre’s podcast, Eyres on the Road. This episode is about “New Year’s Marriage Resolutions.” They suggest the following challenges:
Sit down together and ask,
“What can we do together to make our marriage stronger?”
Then go off by yourself, and ask, “What can I do secretly, individually to make my marriage stronger?” (For those of you who have taken my Eternal Warriors/Mothers Who Know class, this would make a great Girl Goal.)
I love to listen to this podcast on Sunday evenings as I am getting ready for bed, i.e. brushing and flossing my teeth, etc. The Eyres are so gentle and soothing and encouraging that their words just set a great tone for the end of my Sabbath and the start of a new week. I’ve been reading about them ever since I was 9 and discovered an article about them in a magazine for LDS readers. I have grown up learning from them, by reading their books and listening to their interviews. They are like an aunt and uncle to me, full of so much wisdom. One suggestion they give is to set a New Year’s Resolution of giving one compliment to your spouse a day.