We recently got back home from a few days of camping- the first time this season. This is something we love to do as a family. Our two older boys get so excited to camp in the trailer. They just love everything about it from s’mores to camp fires, staying up late to glow sticks. Camping means indulging in snacks we don’t usually have like hot rods, s’mores and mini boxed cereals to name a few. There is just something so peaceful and relaxing about being in nature, minus the mosquitoes.
I know this is something that is so good for my family, but I always forget just how good it is for my marriage. We often do not take vacations or trips during the winter, and in Alberta winter is so very long. We are always re-energized with the approach of summer and the prospect of exploring our surroundings. There is something about being together as a family, away from work yet working together for a common goal that is so unifying.
There are a few things my husband and I do exceptionally well at together and one would definitely be camping. I don’t know if it’s just part of being at peace in nature, but we seem to just know our roles. My husband sets up the exterior of the trailer while I tackle the interior. He starts working on a fire, while I assemble the meal. He mans the BBQ while I dish up the plates. He entertains the kids while I clean up our mess. We work well as a team and camping really draws that out of us.
When we are at home, he works and I manage the household. We each have our own domain that the other isn’t a part of. There is nothing wrong with this; it is how our family operates, yet it leaves no room for cooperation and team work. I’m realizing, even as I write this, that partnership is so vital to a successful marriage. Just from this camping trip alone, I’m feeling such a renewed sense of joy in my marriage.
When we look at Scripture, God made it very evident that man must not be alone. After He had made man and put him in the Garden of Eden, He looked to him and said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). The word helper is the key word here. Many people look at the word helper today and view it negatively, but it is completely the opposite. Eve was made equal to Adam and they were given equal authority over the land and animals. They were created to work alongside one another as partners, companions and teammates. God makes it clear that we are to be united and to become one flesh (Genesis 2:24).
So how do we get to this place in our marriages where we feel more like roommates rather than teammates? We allow complacency to set in and forget to make time for each other. We become independent rather than dependent on each other. We believe that just because we are managing our own domains well that we do not need togetherness, but this is so far from the truth. We must remember, “it is not good for man to be alone.” We must make time for each other and allot time specifically for togetherness in order to maintain and nurture our marriage.
This may look different in each marriage, but for my marriage, I need to do the following:
· plan date nights that have us work together to do something or learn something new. Some ideas may be golfing or dancing, geo caching or the escape rooms in the city.
· plan a two or three-day trip away where we can reconnect as husband and wife rather than roommates cohabiting and conversing briefly in passing.
· plan family nights where we come together as a family to create memories and traditions. Some ideas may be games night, movie night, camping, picnics, playground, baking, crafts or building
What this all comes back to is intentionality. I need to be intentional with my time and my plans. It is just as important to carve out grander plans for togetherness that take place every so often, but each day I must carve out togetherness with my husband in simple ways, such as, unwinding on the couch after the kids are in bed, offering to rub his back, waking up early before he goes to work to eat breakfast alongside him to name a few. When we carve out this time together we welcome God into our marriage. When God takes center stage, Satan is unable to weasel his way in. There is nothing Satan wants more than to tear us apart. I pray for togetherness and unity to be at the forefront of your marriage and a willingness to welcome God in with open arms.