In the craftsman’s shop you’ll find a can or bottle of “wood glue” on the shelf. He carefully uses it to bond specific pieces of wood together. This enduring bond allows for these two glued pieces of wood to become one.
“Togetherness” is like a glue that bonds a couple through the thick and thin of everyday life in marriage. Though it looks different for each couple, here are seven key factors to help craft a stronger bond in marriage, increasing the ‘togetherness’ bond of doing life together:
- Carve out opportunities for two
The busyness of work, various on-going commitments, and simply seeking to “get things done” can squeeze ‘couple time’ to the fringe of your relationship. Be intentional about the value you put on being together and time invested in that. Quality time can rarely be scheduled; often it grows out of quantity time. Carve out time for the two of you and value those moments you get to be together making the best of them. Acknowledge them. Appreciate them. Highlight your appreciation of being together, even if just by a quick hand squeeze over the armrest as you drive, and experience your bond strengthening.
- Be interested
You don’t need to have all the same interests, but it is important to be interested in the interests of your spouse. My wife and I have quite different interests and sometimes even quite different ways of enjoying the same interests, yet we make a point of being interested in what draws in the other. Listen, ask questions, share the experience in whatever way when you can. A simple ‘How was your day?’ or sitting with your spouse while they do something goes a long way. And celebrate each other in your differences. Being interested in what your spouse is interested in can be part of the glue that bonds your marriage rather than something that takes you in different directions.
- Have friends in common
Seek out couple friendships that you can share together. Friendships are key to quality of life. Make sure you incorporate friendships that you can enjoy together. Friendships in common help build a bond of support in your relationship as a couple.
- Keep growing
A healthy couple relationship is one in which both spouses keep growing and learning. Of course, keep growing in your own areas of interest, but also nurture the marriage with growth together. Perhaps plan exercises together, or a cooking class, maybe attend a concert, or a seminar or a marriage retreat together, enjoy a class at a church together, whatever – anything that could be mutually enjoyable and would enrich your growth and conversations with one another.
- Take time to refuel
Everyone refuels differently. Some need quiet time alone after being with people all day. Others need people to stimulate them after a workday at a desk. Some need to create, or work on a project or read. When life is particularly hectic make sure you and your partner both take some time to refuel, to gather strength, to refresh, and refocus on your priorities and your marriage. Talk together about how you each refuel and work together to help make it happen for each other. Refueling will stoke the fire of your marriage.
- Share life
Be intentional about sharing life together. Share the tangible things of life but also share the inner spaces of your thoughts, feelings, faith and fears. If it is not happening maybe start with something small and ask, “What did you enjoy most in your day today?” Prime the pump of conversation. Share walks and talks and all of the nitty gritty tasks around the home together. And if your spouse does many and regular tasks around the home, thank him or her for that. Verbalizing appreciation goes such a long way in bonding your relationship.
- Worship together
Few things enrich a couple’s bond more than alignment in faith and spending time in personal and corporate worship together. Personal worship takes on different forms including praying together daily for each other and your marriage and acknowledging a higher authority in your marriage through Bible reading and meditation. Corporate worship includes agreement on where and when to worship and participation in a local church.
Marriage is intended to be the best place to do life together. Be intentional. Craft your marriage with the glue of togetherness, maybe beginning with these seven key factors or maybe adding in some of your own. Either way, carefully use togetherness to strengthen the bond between you. It’s well worth the effort.
Derived from Family Life Canada material