May is a busy month for us. There's Mother's Day, our anniversary, our church's spring carnival, and a few other family functions thrown in there. But with this month being our anniversary (nine years!!!), I thought that this would be the perfect month to really try to focus on relationships and our marriage as my Simple 2016 goal for the month.
I used to think that marriage books and counseling and all of that was for people with marriages in trouble or on the brink of divorce. It wasn't until I starting to follow women in The Influence Network that I saw that a lot of Christian women used counseling and books on marriage as more of a tune-up and maintenance. And especially after reading last month's book for book club, and talking with the ladies in our group that I really bought into doing readings and things as a couple to build a stronger marriage and not waiting until it was to repair a marriage.
Up to this point, most of my Simple 2016 month goals have been about the physical aspect of simplicity, but behind wanting to live simply is also a desire to live intentionally. And I believe an intentional life is about focusing on relationships even more than it is about focusing on our physical surroundings. So I've bought a few books and have a few plans to make this month about relationships.
I bought the 31 Prayers Bundle from the Unveiled Wife. It is a husband-wife set with a book for each that include prayers to pray for each other. We started the prayers yesterday. I'm trying to replace "my husband" in the prayers with my husband's name. I think it will make the prayers even more personal.
I also ordered The 5 Love Languages after having a fellow book club member suggest it last month as a book to read with your spouse. She said that since we usually give love the way the we want to receive love that sometimes our spouses don't pick up on our gestures if we are presenting them in a way that they don't really perceive as love. For example, if you feel loved by receiving gifts then you may give gifts as a sign of love. But if your husband really feels loved when you speak affirmation into his life, and you don't do that very often, he may not feel loved despite you trying to show it via gifts.
And because Amazon always gets me with the "You might also like..." I also bought The 5 Love Languages of Children. I truly believe that children that feel loved (but also have boundaries) behave better and will be more successful and have more perseverance in struggles, so I think that learning how they want to be shown love is also important.
As far as activities to focus on family more, yesterday we had a family day and went to the Children's Museum. I had a great time and it was a fantastic day for the visit. It was the least crowded day we've ever been, so there was so much less stress and L and J got to play a lot more. I'm planning on a date night for our anniversary as well this month. I know that I don't make time for my husband like I should. I allow myself to deplete during the day with the kids and then, as an introvert, need time alone to recoup to do it all over again the next day. I read a great post by Joshua Becker about how we allow too many activities get in the way of our marriages and I completely agreed, so maybe a monthly date night will start to become part of our routine.
Besides the books I've listed above, here are a few other resources mentioned by women this past month in my book club to help you spend time with and focus on relationships with your kids and husband. I haven't read or done all of these yet, but I'm definitely adding them to my GoodReads list!
How are do you make time for a spouse? Do you have any great couple's books or books on parenting that you can share? I would LOVE to hear from you! Leave me a note in the comments below.