Over the last three weeks, we’ve given attention to strengthening our marriages with daily challenges on communication, money and trust. This week our focus is COMPANIONSHIP. I like to think of companionship as the fun and exciting part that holds our marriages together. Many couples live together for years but are unhappy or unfulfilled. Companionship is being together because you truly love being around each other. You aren’t just marriage partners or roommates, but two individuals who complement each other and enjoy each other’s company.
We all know couples who you rarely see together. They are always off in opposite directions with two different visions or agendas. Then you have those couples who are always together. You rarely see one without the other. I tend to believe couples who value spending time together and enjoy being together have a stronger relationship and one that is less apt to become weakened by distractions. Spending too much time away from our spouse usually does more damage than good. We were created with a desire to be with others and for intimacy with our spouse. Spending too much time a part from your spouse may lead to those desires for intimacy and companionship to be filled by the wrong people.
Companionship includes talking to each other at the end of the day or throughout the day. It is choosing to spend time with your spouse rather than spending every weekend fishing with the guys. It is choosing to plan a date with your spouse rather than taking frequent road trips with the girls. We make time for what is important to us and we will find resources to pay for those things. Don’t get me wrong. Friendships and relationships outside your marriage are important and healthy but they should never take precedence over time with your spouse. We must be careful to value our spouse just as we value others.
Companionship is doing things together not because you are forced to do them. If you’re on a date with your spouse, but can’t stand them, that’s not going to do much good either. Find that place when you were first attracted to them. What made you fall in love with them and feel like you couldn’t live without them? Hold on to those positive images and thoughts (hopefully they are positive) and don’t dwell and meditate on the things you don’t like. Whatever you focus on most, is what you will see and become.
Companionship is getting to know your spouse all over again. We change over time and our interests, goals and desires change. We must be vigilant about communicating these changes and being willing to adapt to the changes. You may have gotten married in your twenties, but now you’re in your forties. Things have changed. Have you kept up with the changes? Is it realistic to expect your spouse’s body to look the same after 20 years and the changes that come with motherhood or daddyhood? Sometimes our expectations are unrealistic and we fall in love with a fantasy of younger women or younger men or the images we see played out in the media. These people are airbrushed and have personal trainers that work with them 24/7. Don’t fall for the trap of thinking the grass is greener on the other side or you’re missing out on life because your “old lady” (or “old man”) just doesn’t have it any more. Focus on watering YOUR grass and it will get greener!
Take time to build your marriage. If it’s not what you want it to be, work on it becoming that. Don’t give up just because it looks hopeless or you feel helpless. As long as both of you are willing to work on it, it CAN and WILL become stronger!
Take the next week to work on building companionship in your marriage using the challenges below. Remember, to share the word and ask other couples to join the Tune Up Challenge! Next week, will be our last week and you don’t want to miss our discussion of sex and intimacy!
Day 1: Read 10 Great Dates or visit their website to get some creative ideas for spending time with your spouse. It may give you a fresh perspective. Dates don’t have to be expensive or take a lot of time. They should be thoughtful, well planned and taken often. Begin planning something special for your spouse that you can do at the end of the week.
Day 2: Make time to communicate with your spouse today. Share your experiences or any frustrations you had. Listen and allow your spouse to share theirs.
Day 3: Value your spouse in a unique way. Take time to make them feel special and appreciated. It may be cooking dinner if you don’t normally cook. It may be writing a special note and putting it in their purse or wallet where they’ll see it. Be creative and don’t expect anything in return.
Day 4: Write a love note to your spouse and give it to them. Take your time and share what you love about them. (This is not the time to share what you want them to change or how annoying they may be.) Share what attracts you to them.
Day 5: Find time when you’re both at home or together, and share a hug, kiss or other gesture that may be out of the ordinary. It may involve sitting together on the couch and watching TV together. Slow down for a minute and enjoy each other’s company even if it’s just for 30 minutes.
Day 6: If your spouse normally goes somewhere by themselves because you have no interest in that activity (fishing, gym, store, etc.), make a sacrifice and go with them. Have a good attitude and focus on getting to know each other in new ways. Remember companionship is being together.
Day 7: This is date day (or if this particular day is not convenient choose another day SOON)! Make your spouse feel special by spending quality, undistracted time together. Have fun!
~Coletta Jones Patterson