Welcome to my little slice of heaven smack dab in southwest Michigan…also known as my front porch. It is my happy place but I haven’t always had such affection for it. You see, we decided to downsize and move to the house we are now living in while we had all four (almost grown) kids still living at home, knowing that they would soon be leaving the nest. While it seemed we were tripping over each other at every turn, my husband tried to convince me that small houses brought families together but I wasn’t buying it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for families being close but too much of a good thing isn’t always a good thing…if you know what I mean! So, in search of solitude I would head outside to the front porch.
On summer days, you could find me basking in the warmth of the sun’s rays as I relaxed on the swing. My front porch became the perfect place to observe thunderstorms move across the western sky and watch for rainbows that peeked out from behind emptied storm clouds. Cardinals and blue jays noticed my visits and became frequented guests as they perched in the pine tree just a few feet away. The concrete beneath my feet shared its strength as I sat and read letters from my son who was away in boot camp and prayed for family members in need. It became a safe and sacred place for me to sense God’s comforting presence while He also delighted me with the beauty of His creation. Over time, I began to cherish my front porch because of all the experiences we shared.
The same thing happens in our marriage when we share experiences together. We form emotional connections that deepen our intimacy. We learn new things about each other and we create lasting memories. Shared experiences provide opportunities to understand each other in a different light where we can appreciate and embrace our differences rather than become frustrated and distant. Yet, even more importantly, doing things together helps us learn to cherish our spouse and see them as the valuable treasure they are.
What is something your spouse really enjoys doing? How could you involve yourself in that activity? Not sure? Ask! You might be surprised with their answer which might be as simple as, “I’d love for you to walk the dog with me after dinner”. Consider stretching yourself a little bit, too, and try something that seems challenging. Is your spouse active? Perhaps working out together, training for a 5K, or taking your bikes and discovering some new trails would be great experiences to share together. Maybe it’s reading the same books, watching a movie, or tackling a project…whatever it is, the key is that you’re doing it together.
Let me encourage you to take the next few minutes to think about how much time you spend during the week doing things together. How is that compared with the time spent doing things apart? You can bet that I am going to ask myself the same questions and after that I think I’ll invite my hubby to join me…out on the front porch.
“Two are better than one because they have a more satisfying return for their labor…” ~Ecclesiastes 4:9 AMP
Chad and Kristen Cottingham