When a good portion of your life is spent serving other people in the public eye it’s important to take time out to invest your energy in your marriage too. As coaches, pastors, parachurch ministers, and military members you all serve your communities in different capacities. There are several similarities that make the list I’m highlighting below relevant for everyone to consider.
While it’s important for everyone to spend time nurturing their marriage relationship, there are additional elements to consider when you spend a considerable amount of time apart due to work travel. When your weekends are shaped by your spouse’s job obligations it’s not always easy to prioritize socializing with your peers or even finding an hour for a date. When you learn to operate independently within your marriage relationship for months on end it takes intentional effort to continue to commit to your partnership.
Your marriage is worth investing in for many reasons. First, this is the person you chose to partner with for life. Second, your spouse will be around through ever job change and even after the kids leave the house. Finally, when you invest in your marriage both you and your spouse will thrive in the relationship and as individuals.
Here are 7 Ways to Invest in Your Marriage
Invest in your marriage every day. First, make an effort to really understand yourself. Know your likes, dislikes, and the experiences that inform your views. There are hundreds of personality quizzes available. I have found the most informative tool for understanding why I react the way I do both in healthy and unhealthy seasons is the Enneagram.
For others, Five Love Languages more helpful because you need to step outside of your preferences and engage in your relationship in ways your spouse will perceive as love. In addition to the test and books, the team has developed an app to help you remember to love your spouse within the content they prefer. Check out Love Nudge to not only help to remember your spouse’s love languages, but you can add prompts to act. Knowledge is great, but investing in relationships requires active participation.
Looking for something a little more in-depth or intuitive in an App? Check out Get Your Marriage On! While not everything is free, two of the 3 apps have a lot of free content that allows for private dialogue between you and your spouse. The third offers licensed marriage counseling which you can do in the privacy of your home. For couples in the public eye who also move frequently, this is a huge benefit. Marriage counseling isn’t something to avoid. Your marriage is worth the investment because you want it to be a relationship that thrives.
Leaders are Readers
Both Athletes in Action and Fellowship of Christian Athletes have devotionals for coaches. Some are offered through email and others through the YouVersion App. Reading the same thing is a great way to start a conversation about something other than practice! Check out books with DVD series like Tim Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage or Matt Chandler’s The Mingling of Souls.
A Weekend to Remember
Couples attend Weekend to Remember when they’re interested in investing in their marriage and intentionally moving towards oneness. Weekend to Remember states they “help you understand God’s blueprint for marriage so you can create a legacy of greatness.”
The conference organizers say, “Our attendees say their relationships improved on average from a 4/10 to an 8/10 after one weekend.”
ONE Marriage Conference
This conference is sold out for 2019 and 2021. In 2019 they sold online passes allowing people to watch from the comfort of home for $25. Past speakers have included Craig & Amy Groeschel, Levi and Jenny Lusko, and Jentezen and Charise Franklin, the hosts.
It’s likely that there are churches in your area offering marriage focused events. Whether it’s a day, weekend, or small group it’s worth checking out what is happening locally. Many churches also offer ongoing marriage mentoring.
Coaching Specific Conferences
Coaches Time Out
“CTO exists to serve coaches and spouses through annual weekend conferences in multiple cities across the nation. Our hope is to change the culture of sports by ministering to the hearts of Coaches so that they can minister to the hearts of their athletes.” Check their website for this year’s conferences. You can also follow them on Facebook.
Fellowship of Christian Athletes
I’ve written about our local Marriage Getaway before. If you are looking for support from people who understand the unique challenges of the coaching life you need to look no further than your local FCA Chapter. Their Marriage Getaway events are designed to create opportunities to reconnect after the craziness of the season.
Military Specific Conferences
Operation We Are Here lists several conferences for military families. They also suggest that active-duty members ask their chaplain for upcoming opportunities. This list also includes scholarship information!
Weekend to Remember – Military Focused
A wife watches in anticipation for her uniformed husband to walk from the jet-bridge through the gate. She waits eagerly to be in his arms again. It’s been a long year. She wonders what it will be like to be together again in-person. Will it be like starting over?
Marriage has both ups and downs, joys and struggles. But for military families, we understand that your marriage looks different. Deployment, uncertainty, and constant transition add strain and stress to your relationship.
This is why Cru Military and FamilyLife have teamed up to plan special military-friendly Weekend to Remember getaways. The unique military culture requires a unique ministry.
Tips for finding Marriage Conferences and Retreats:
- Search Event Bright
- Check local counseling centers like this one in Colorado
- Contact local churches
- When all else fails Google!
Don’t Forget Date Night!
When I’m feeling the crunch in my weekly schedule or our budget (or both!) it’s tempting to cancel date night altogether and plow through the weeks. But we’ve learned the hard way that when we don’t prioritize time together it becomes too easy to quickly fall into the routine of living in our own lanes.
Scheduling a block of time on the calendar for each other weekly is important. Whether you head out for a walk or dinner isn’t the point. The best way to invest in your marriage is to take time for you and your spouse to focus on each other without interruptions on a regular basis. Quality over quantity time is key to healthy communication in your marriage.
Taking time away for a reset every once in a while is a great way to initiate conversations you’ve put off or simply remind each other that maintaining a healthy and happy marriage is worth your effort.
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This article was originally published on February 5, 2019, and has been updated in February 2021 for freshness, accuracy, and completeness.