Friday, March 1, 2013

Keeping the Spark

Good morning!

The other night I went to a homeschooling mom's night out. Once a month, this group of ladies come together for some fellowship and fun, with some kind of theme in mind. February's theme? Keeping the spark in your marriage while homeschooling (holding a job, amidst daily life, etc.). I was excited for this night because it just so happens that focusing on my husband and marriage is one of my Lenten projects this year.

So here is a random list of ideas for keeping that spark. Some items are what I do, and what I am focusing on. Some are other people's ideas. Sometimes all is hunky and dory in the world of marriage. Sometimes it isn't. I certainly am an utter failure at times in my marriage, but there are great moments too. The biggest thing is to keep on truckin', keep on trying. Hopefully these ideas spark a little fire on your side, whether it be a great big bonfire or a nice little cozy flame.

**My top picks at the moment.**

Pray for your husband. I would say pray together if you can. My husband is not even close to that. So I do it quietly, whenever I can and however much I can and feel I should. Really, he needs prayers all day long. So do I. We all do.

Make time for your husband every night by being available. Does he watch tv? Sit next to him. Computer? Be by him. Want you to chit chat (uh-huh...) - do it. Read? Grab a book. Walk? Get your shoes on. You get the idea. My husband is a couch potato in the evenings so I have made it a point of sitting down next to him and rub his back, head as I know he likes that. I also try really, really hard not to think about all I should be doing. Oh, and I am watching A LOT of Star Trek which I have never seen before. My husband recently decided he needed to watch every single episode and movie that has ever been made.

No negativity. Do not speak to your husband or about your husband in a negative way. I try to be very conscious of this as his parents are quite negative to each other, and my husband absolutely hates it. Though I must admit, on really tough days, this is incredibly hard to do because just as your children love you so much and rant and rave with you, so sometimes I just need to get it all out. ;) By focusing on it, though, I do find it easier to stop myself and even turn it into a humorous situation if at all possible.

Reminding myself of what marriage is. Why did I get married? What does the Church say about marriage? What does it mean to live a Christian marriage? Find resources that help you with that. For me, right now, this is what I am looking at:

Casti Connubii: Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius XI on Christian Marriage - despite longish sounding title, it's been a nice read. I like that is in a numbered format so I can read a chunk here and there and meditate on it while I go about my day.

Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot - written by a mother to her daughter on her engagement/marriage. This is not Catholic but I find it very encouraging and uplifting in my own role as wife, and understanding my place in the marriage, and just my place as a woman, of not being afraid to be a woman. Isn't that a weird thing to say in our so-called "enlightened" era of freedom of being. Does anyone else feel that way? In this age, we are free to be anyone we want to be, but if I want to be a woman, I somehow feel like I picked the wrong choice? Anyone? (Except from my husband - he loves that I am a woman!!!)

Love Letters to My Husband by Blessed Gianna Beretta Molla - I just started this so I cannot say too much about it.

30 Day Husband Encouragement Challenge - this is a little redundant day after day but it's a nice way to "wake up" and get going on staying positive for my husband.

Nice list of resources from the USCCB - I just found as a resource but have not read through all the resources listed.

On my wish list... The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur: The Woman Whose Goodness Changed Her Husband from Atheist to Priest by Elisabeth Leseur.

Other ideas that I have thought about, used at times, or someone shared (at our night out or elsewhere):

  • Realizing there are ups and downs in marriage - in life - and working extra hard during the downturns on MYSELF. I find I nitpick my husband to death when I am most dissatisfied with something about myself.
  • Being polite. Saying please and thank you. Using his name or an endearment. Does anyone else find themselves not using their husband's name at times, and one day come to that realization? Or using it in a loud kind of way versus a sweet way?
  • Do small things for him. What does he like? What can I do for him? What can I sacrifice to make his life better? You'll find that by making these sacrifices, he will in turn reciprocate. Maybe not the next day or even a month but your efforts will not go wasted. At the very least YOU will have changed - and for the better.
  • Keep myself healthy. Exercise. Eat right. This goes along with working on myself. Let's face it. If I take care of myself, I have more time (weird, right?), more energy, more peace, etc. for my husband.
  • A wife must step in as head of family if husband is unable or unwilling. So don't let this situation allow bitterness to fester.
  • Make it a point to say something nice at least once a day.
  • Greet him with a smile and/or quick kiss.
  • Give him time after work to decompress. Or whatever he needs to do. Maybe he likes you in his face after a long day. I don't know.
  • Keep a visible calendar of events and a list of what needs doing (just don't make it impossibly long). **My husband asked for this and still refuses to use the list so also practice patience when changing up routine.**
  • Laugh - a lot and often.
  • Let him know what you need. My husband is not a mind reader. Perhaps you are stressing about something that does not need stressing. Is there something you can relax about to make time for your husband? And turn it around, ask him what he needs.
  • Remind yourself of what marriage is and why we were married (see resources above).
  • Have special moments - from big, ole overnight stays to going out date nights to stay-in date nights to those itty bitty moments throughout the day. Send along a text, an email, give a kiss, a back rub, make sure his clothes are hung up and put away (I really am good about cleaning clothes, just not so much putting them away...), cook his favorite dinner, etc. I personally think all the little stuff adds up to more than one big night together. If I kept waiting for that "big night" our marriage would have fallen through the cracks long, long ago.

That's my own little list. I am still a newbie at marriage with not quite ten years of marriage under my belt. So I ask you, do you have anything to add?


  1. Hey there Nicole...hope you are well! I've been unable to get online lately and just took these last two days to get a tiny bit of writing and reading done. It looks like I chose a good day to check in on you. :)

    What a lovely post! Those are some great books. Funnily enough, I too am reading more books on marriage...though I didn't really plan it that way. I just decided to give up reading non-fiction for Lent and started reading books that would enlighten me instead.

    Right now I am reading 'The Four Seasons of Marriage' by Gary Chapman (I also have his popular book The Five Love Languages) and 'A Faith Full Marriage' by Paul Chappell...excellent books full of truths that I wish I'd known years ago!

    I laughed when I read some of what you said because I can so relate to only saying my hubby's name when I'm angry with him..guilty!

    When I get through those I also plan on reading some parts of St Faustina's Diary and I have the writings of Anne Catherine Emmerich on the Life of Jesus. Lent may not be long enough though!

    I wanted to share with you that Little Catholic Bubble will be going through some of the writings of the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen over the next few weeks. He is incredible! If you are's a link (hope it works!)

    I love what you're doing for Lent...I think its a great idea. Just today our priest said Lent is a wonderful opportunity for introspection and improvement. Looks like you're on the right track...good luck with it!

    God bless!

    1. Lisa Maria, so glad you stopped by! I left a message over on your latest post too.

      Thanks for sharing what you're reading. I will give them a look and put on my ever expanding wishlist.

      And for the link! I will follow along for those little nuggets of his.

  2. This was a great post Nicole!

    I want to do a post on marriage, but my inlaws read my blog....I'd have to be very daring.

    I'd add to your list, because only recently have we been doing this: Make time for eachother every day--EVERY DAY, time without the kids. Alone time with eachother, to read, pray, talk, play a game, whatever.

    1. Thanks, Jamie Jo!

      My in-laws don't read this or I don't know if I could have wrote the post either. Or at least, some of the items anyway. Try writing it the way you want to and then rereading it and seeing it through their eyes and seeing what to change. Maybe??? Or just write one just for you and never publish it. ;)

      I like the idea of making time each day. I would like that. Maybe that's where we'll go from here - I hope! Me taking time for him was my Lenten thing, whether he wanted it or not, haha! But I know my husband and he takes his cues from me so if I want change then I have to be the change.

  3. More resources...

    On Sharing Faith in Marriage (my husband and I are quite unequal so this is nice boost and reminder to not despair):

    And 10 Things that have made all the difference - one couple's experience. Thanks to a friend for pinning!

  4. Great post, Nicole! I should have started Lent with this:) We have the Love Dare book from the movie Fireproof...I'm thinking I should pick that up and get going. Thanks again for the inspiration and God bless!

    1. Tiffany, thanks for stopping by! I enjoyed that movie. The Love Dare book has intrigued me as well. Thanks for the reminder. I will have to add it to my wishlist for the future when we need another boost

  5. Hi Nicole! Great post! I really appreciate your tips and resources. And what a great idea for Lent. I miss you! Hugs and prayers... Katie

    1. Katie, you're welcome. And I miss you and all the Opus families too! What a huge blessing to have had both an incredibly active diocese, but also an amazing Catholic home school group. Treasure it!


Thank you for stopping by. I love to chat. God bless!