Monique & I both love traveling. We love traveling with our families (even if packing, waking them up is a pain) but also at least once or twice a year, we also make it a point to travel by ourselves.
I know for many hands on responsible parents, this is a huge NO-NO! Kids should always come… right? But what if your marriage is damaged, won’t that affect your kids too? Saying No to “time alone” says this — if we focus on being good parents being a good spouse will follow.
May I correct you?
It’s actually the other way around. When you become a good husband or wife and your kids see it, you are actually modeling a good example for them to follow.
So I’ve come up a list of three things that I believe every family should be doing so that your marriage will be strengthened and so will your parenting.
1. Pray together out loud – this may get intimidating at first and sometimes in our family, my kids Ezra and JD would actually even point fingers at each other on who would go first. First of all, I show them that it’s never a burden to pray but a privilege. Sometimes we parents communicate this message to them. How? When we say “What? Why do I get to pray first again tonight when I was already first last night?”. Does this sound like you?
May I add one more? Prayer doesn’t have to be long… but don’t make it general. Pray for very specific stuff and remember to include a little bit of glorifying the Father, sorries, thank you before making your requests for yourself and other people.
Praying together has been a part of our family so much that when Monique or I forget, you can be assured that one of our kids will remind us. And yes, admittedly, we’ve used prayer to correct each other like when one prays “Please teach JD to share..” but it has made a huge impact in our family.
2. Talk about nothing – for many people, you don’t date your wife because you’re afraid of what to talk about. It seems like dead air is sin. It’s a sign of boredom when in fact, one thing I love about my wife is I can come to her tired and I know she won’t make me work or think anymore.
Intentionally set times for just being together physically away from the noise and that includes those that come from each other.
On the other hand, may I also encourage that you also set an environment where you can just talk about anything and everything? That no topic is too shallow or too heavy, too important or too irrelevant.
Lastly, 3. Do things together — I know men need their cave time – a thing that they get to do alone. But before you plan those cave times, do you actually have activities that you do together? Since it’s very rare that both of you actually like everything the other likes, there is a need to be intentional and at least try out some of the things your spouse likes. Does she like watching Telenovela? Why not watch it together? Does your husband play games? Why not try it out. The important thing is important to find something to do together that you both enjoy. Whatever it is, finding shared activities will prove to be beneficial for your marriage. Find something.
We are currently in Guam and last night as Monique and I walked through Gun Beach boulevard, we chatted about how much we both loved traveling. The only difference probably is that sometimes, our traveling worries Monique because she gets to pay the credit card and I told her “If the time comes we need to sell properties, lets do so, because I don’t know until what age I can get to do this.”
Last week, our finance made us sign our latest financial papers and part of it was our Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth. As we chatted yesterday, I asked Monique if she saw it and she said yes. It was an amount we did not know we actually have and we most of the time don’t feel that its there. I said “Not bad right? To think I entered this world with absolutely nothing and we’re not necessarily the stingy types.”
I believe in living within your means (or probably even below) but I am a much stronger believer in not storing so much in this world that you don’t want to leave it. You don’t have to spend so much to do the 3 things I listed above. I do hope and pray that these advices make your marriage stronger.
Here’s a little video that we did while we are here in Guam which is also our first ever Facebook live video http://bit.ly/2bZgEgd.
Read more of John and Monique Ong’s Before I Do articles at www.weddingsatwork.com/category/waw-before-i-do/.