It’s the 5th Monday of the month which means it’s time for our “Ask the Sisters” post.
We got a lot of great feedback during our April poll. The majority of you asked us to expand on the topic of relationships – specifically relating to marriage, parenting and friendships. We have discussed different aspects of this over these past few months and have plans to continue sharing our experiences, but wanted to briefly answer three questions we are regularly asked.
- How do you prioritize your marriage?
- How do you nurture relationships with your children?
- How do you cultivate healthy friendships?
We have similar views on things but our approaches are different. We will both give short responses to each question.
How do you prioritize your marriage?
- Becky – I tend to default to a small circle of intimate friends, so it makes prioritizing my relationship with Mark easy. He’s my favorite friend. We do life as a team, and we each know that we need to the other to make it work. But there are a few things we do regularly that nurture the friendship side of our marriage. We run together, we meal prep together (Mark is my sous chef – an amazing chopper of all things veggie), and we hang out every evening. Sometimes this means we watch a show or a movie together, but other times we just sit and chat after the kids go to bed. Whether it’s training for a race or decluttering the house, sharing a common goal helps keep us on the same page.
- Cassie – I have talked about my marriage before and just want to emphasize that Dave comes before all, with the exception of my relationship with Christ, other things. We prioritize our marriage by intentionally spending time together. Our friendship is important, communication is critical, and continuing to date is fundamental. Most times this takes place on our living room couch, sometimes it is in the form of a night out and, on the weeks he travels, it means late night texts and calls. Either way, each day begins and ends with us.
How do you nurture relationships with your children?
- Becky – I try to say yes to my kids as much as possible. I think having fun at home is important. As our kids grow, it’s important to me that they want to spend time at home. Right now this means I let them walk with me to get the mail, even though it’s much easier to do it myself, especially in the winter; I let them find rocks to bring home and paint, even if it means I have to carry them while we’re on a walk; and I let them “wash” everything on our porch whenever they want to, not worrying about the water or the stuff getting wet. As they get older, the things I say yes to will change, but I will continue to say yes as much as possible and look for ways to have fun together.
- Cassie – The greatest gift I can give my children is time and affection. Each day Dave and I remove all distractions and sit with them to talk about their day – their joys and hurts, their best parts and worst parts, how God wants them to act and how to ask for forgiveness. Our evenings are spent cuddled up together watching Food Network (our family fav!) and relishing the fact that our older two are still happy to sit on our laps. Every night, as we tuck all three safely into their beds, we give hugs and kisses and remind them that they are special and loved. We spend our weekends and vacations together enjoying new experiences, exploring unique places, and creating a lifetime of memories. Time and affection. (More on this next week.)
How do you cultivate healthy friendships?
- Becky – Meaningful relationships take a long time for me to build, and sometimes I feel like I have precious few friends. But I do try to let the people around me know that they’re important to me. I’m learning to step out and take the initiative more, to take the time to reach into someone else’s world, and to spend less time cut off at home or simply checking items off my to-do list. For me, this means I ask other people to join me at a park or at my house for a play date. It also means that I ask more questions. I don’t want to be annoying or pry into people’s lives, so I generally don’t ask a lot of questions, but I’ve learned that sometimes you have to ask questions to let people know that you’re interested in them. So when I see someone, I ask about different things and try to block everything else out so I can sincerely listen.
- Cassie – If you read my Extroverted Introvert post then you already know authentic friendships do not come naturally. It takes time for me to build trust and confidence in these kinds of relationships but, as I’m always reminding my kids, in order to have sincere friends you must first be a faithful friend yourself. I like to cultivate healthy friendships in tangible ways like watching their children or bringing their family a meal. Dropping off tiny gifts of encouragement at their front door or sending them home with those popular cookies that are always stashed in our freezer. To be a listening ear, a crying shoulder, a laughing voice, and a trustworthy person who will keep confidence and act lovingly regardless of the situation.
Hopefully we were able to answer your questions. If not, let us know. We love hearing from you and talking about how God is at work in our hearts. Love fiercely and live deeply, friends.