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Summer has been full of all the things.  Vacations, camps, late movie nights, fishing, swimming, mission trips, concerts and baseball games.  Our family is worn out in the best way and if your house is like mine, then you are ready for a routine again! As summer comes to a close we are feeling the need for consistency and structure. We love summer in our home but going back to school is a blessing we look forward to. It is such a great time to implement new habits and practices with our family.

Somewhere in between the beach bumming of Summer and the hit the ground running of Fall, my wife and I have found that making our marriage a priority seems like more of an afterthought.  However, back to school is a great time to implement new habits and practices in our marriages too. Here are a few simple ideas to leverage back to school to strengthen your marriage.

1. Take a day off work to play.

During the first few weeks of school, if you can, skip work. Take one day where you drop the kids off at school and then you spend the rest of the day together. Go grab lunch, go shopping or take a nap. Whatever you like to do together, do that. This uninterrupted time will force you to talk, dream and just be together. If your day off is successful, what would it look like for you to take a day off each month or every other month? It could be a fantastic new routine that you can put on the calendar and look forward to.

2. Sit down and walk through the calendar.

We recently went through our calendars, week by week, to discuss our schedules and events for the new school year. While you are doing that for the kids and family time, make sure you are making space for your marriage. Schedule your dates, away or at home, and set reminders on your shared calendar. While you plan your kids sports and activities, there is no reason not to plan time for the two of you. I have heard from too many couples who are now in the empty nest phase of life about how hard it is to spend time together because they were so focused on the kids and forgot to schedule intentional time together.  Prioritize your marriage on the calendar!

Additional Resource: 5 Tips to Discovering Mission and Values for your Family

3. Sign a Fun-agreement.

I love to set goals with my kids before back to school. If they meet their goals or exceed them, then they get rewards for their hard work. We create agreements and they sign them. You can do the same thing with your spouse. I know fun-agreement isn’t really a word BUT here is an easy one: make an Fun-agreement that every day you will kiss each other and say “I love you.” Write it down on a sticky note, sign it and hang it on the bathroom mirror. It’s silly but it also challenges us to be committed. Make an agreement on the number of dates for the year, a weekend getaway or anything you love to do together.

4. Bless your spouse daily.

Do you know what blesses your spouse?  Maybe it’s words of encouragement or doing the dishes.  Perhaps your spouse needs 30 minutes alone each day or a good workout after a long day.  Make it a point to encourage your spouse with the things that bless them!  If you don’t know what blesses your spouse, start by sitting down and each writing out five thing that your spouse can do to bless you everyday.  Then make it a point to practice blessing everyday!

Additional Resource:  The Blessing: Podcast with John Trent

Bobby Cooley
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