Tuesday, April 19, 2011

04/19/11 - Leaving and Cleaving (part 3)

Cleaving with your mate is not just the physical act of becoming one, but becoming emotionally and spiritually "glued" to your mate.

When you are intentional about becoming emotionally and spiritually "glued" to your mate, that bond will help you as you face life's "storms", which come for every married couple. And this bonding requires a lot of emotional energy.

In Deuteronomy 24:5 it says: If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.

I think there is such wisdom in this passage. I don't want to make something out of it or try to just make this fit my point, but that first year of marriage should be a time that a couple is intentional about focusing on one another.

Many people told us, "Oh that first year is the hardest!" or "If you get through that first year, you'll be good!"

It's true...not that the first year, for us, was filled with fights and arguments (honestly most fights couples have that first year are because someone is being selfish or has unmet expectations) but it was filled with a lot of emotional and spiritual complex bonding, that required a lot of energy!

Way more energy than I could have ever even possible imagined!

Can I make a couple of suggestions to new couples:

Turn the TV off at night (or Internet, ipad, ipod or anything that becomes a distraction) and focus on each other. John and I played this card game Hand and Foot almost every night as newlyweds. We loved just talking and getting to know each other. It will take intentionality to bond with each other.

Read one chapter of the bible and prayer together daily. I wish I could say that John and I have been doing this since day one, but it took us a few years to get our act together and we've had to be very intentional about growing this aspect of our marriage.

When you want to plan an outing, or have company over...make sure you run your plans past your mate.

Go to bed at the same time.

Go away at least one weekend every three or four months (if this is in the budget). Once you have kids getting away will be harder and those intentional times of stepping outside of your normal routine will grow and bond you.

Try to eat at least one meal together each day, at the table, with the TV or computer off. Family dinners rock!

If you can, step down from outside commitments for that first year.

If possible work in ministry together!

Don't let people make you feel bad for taking that first year to just bond! You'll come out of the bubble and into real life soon enough!! ;-)


Roxana said...

Thanks so much for these teachings. By God's grace, we'll need them in practice soon enough :)
So may I assume from this that even thinking about having children immediately, before the end of the first year, isn't that "wise" since children change averything in life (priorities, resources, etc)? Of course God is Lord over having children, but can we focus on each other the first year, and use natural birth control?

Heather Patenaude said...

We got pregnant within about 7 months of marriage (then miscarried and got pregnant just after our one year). Yes children do change everything, but for the better!! If you allow them to mold you more to Christ children will bring a great blessing to your marriage. When you have children is TOTALLY between you, your husband and God!