by Laura Hoffpauir
The thing about investing in your marriage is that you have to keep it in mind and keep making the effort. Situations change, schedules change, your spouse changes, you change, and so you need flexibility in your marriage investment strategies.
Sometimes it’s a big change, and you need to be creative and step outside your comfort zone. About six years ago, my husband finally got his band started. This was a lifelong dream of his, but after decades of him talking about it and not taking any steps to make it a reality, I was surprised when it actually happened. I knew at that moment I had a big decision to make. I realized the band was very important to him and was going to take up a lot of his time. I knew myself well enough to realize that I was going to feel jealous and left out. So I made up my mind to get as involved with the band as a non-musician can. I help as much as I can with loading and unloading equipment. I run to the store when someone forgot batteries or needs a particular electrical connector. I run home for a spare when a glass guitar slide gets dropped and broken half an hour before the show starts. I try to make sure the band members get food and drink. I try to help with promotion. And here’s the biggie: I attempt to go to every gig, even though it’s a challenge for me because I’m not an extrovert or a night owl by nature.
I take a nap in the afternoon, and I psych myself up to try to make sure everyone else feels welcomed and is having a good time so that I’m not thinking about myself and how awkward I feel. It takes a lot of mental energy to make myself go, but I always enjoy it once I get there.
I’m glad I made the decision that day to do everything in my power to support my husband’s
dream, even though my motive at the time was selfish. Now, six years later, I’m doing the same things, but for a different reason. I have seen how much he loves performing and giving joy to others through his guitar playing. He is using his gifts and growing as a performer. My husband is always so supportive of me, and he deserves my support in pursuing his dreams. I’m happy to see him happy.
Sometimes only a small change of habit is necessary. At some point after my husband had been working from home for over a year, I realized we were having lunch together (at home) every day. That was great, don’t get me wrong, but we no longer had our special “date” time of meeting for lunch once a week. This was something we had started doing years before, once the homeschooled children were old enough to be home alone. We’d meet halfway, to maximize our time together (still only 30-40 minutes). The only rule was no talking about work or the kids - a real date just to enjoy each other’s company.
We decided to start going out one day a week for lunch, and even trying out new places using coupons. Now that the school break is ending, I won’t be available for lunch, so we’ll have to come up with something new again, like maybe a Saturday morning breakfast date :)
Maybe you’re still in the stage where watching a movie after the kids go to bed is your only date opportunity. That’s fine too. Just make sure you keep brainstorming ideas and keep dating throughout the seasons of your life and your marriage and your family.
Laura Hoffpauir is passionate about learning and teaching. She has homeschooled her 6 children, taught small classes in homeschooling co-ops, and continues to provide tutoring services. She also enjoys crochet, crafts, birdwatching, word games, and live music of all kinds, from her daughters’ church choirs to her husband and son’s rock cover band, The Lakeshore Drivers.