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Family Life | Strong marriages make stable families

My hubby and I just got back to our son’s home from a four-day hotel and airfare anniversary gift from our children in dreamy Lake Como! It was a very thoughtful, totally unexpected, awesome gift since we were already in Germany coming alongside our son and daughter-in-love with their newborn baby. We did a lot of walking and hiking to see several beautiful villas and gardens used to be owned by the powerfully rich but are now open to the public. I am glad we are still fit enough to enjoy the idyllic places. The best place for me is the famous Villa del Balbianello where several movies’ scenes have been shot, such as Star Wars Attack of the Clones, James Bond’s Casino Royale, and our local Imagine You and Me. Every aspect of the garden is picture worthy! But before I get carried away, I want to talk about the importance of celebrating special moments to spice up and strengthen marriages.

Younger couples nowadays celebrate weeksaries and monthsaries on top of anniversaries. Some say it is because the relationship may not last that long to count anniversaries, but I think we could learn from the younger ones to seize the moments. The older ones become too practical or become too awkward to be romantic because they have not developed the habit early on in the marriage. That is why it is good to become part of a couples’ HomeBuilders® accountability group to inspire one another to cherish their relationships. We need encouragement, inspiration, role models, and reminders in this area especially for the long haul of married life.

A couple friend of ours who have four active boys aged 2 to 14, manage to have regular weekly dates whence they ask a trusted person to watch over the boys. The hubby also often gives his wife beautiful flowers even when there are no occasions. They are an average family whose children go to public school, but they are being intentional in their marriage and family life. Another couple friend whose husband loves to drive, go out for some dessert or romantic time at a place overlooking the lights of the city when their children are asleep.

Creating special moments need not be expensive. It just needs some planning and creativity, and some friends to help if needed. When our children were pre-schoolers, we had them stay with our dear friends (single ladies who loved them) for a few days so we could take time off for ourselves while attending an out-of-town meeting. One anniversary we had, I just cooked some special food, brought in plants to decorate a corner of the house to look nice, placed a nice cover on the table with formal setting, and had our anniversary dinner while a romantic music was playing. A date we had was just sitting in the lobby of Marco Polo Davao where a musician played some music, or eating Foping’s halo halo at Matina Town Square while a band played on. On a Valentines’ Day, we created a couple’s corners in the garden and some parts of the house for our couples’ group instead of vying for spots in crowded restaurants and spending a lot.

The important thing is to keep on working on the marital relationship, spicing it up once in a while, strengthening it through the different seasons of family life. These examples and decisions communicate the importance of your marriage that somehow children get to pick up. They see that marriage built on Christ, friendship, oneness, can be fun and enjoyable, not just hard work, and they too strive for that in their own marriages.

I admire my daughter who lives in the US with no helper as she has built in their three children to be in bed and asleep by 7 pm so that she and her husband could have their own time to talk and relax at night. Our son, who used to be a homebody growing up, now enjoys taking his wife on trips to scenic places that they save up for.
Creating special moments together is especially important when a big chunk of marital and family time is spent at work, school, chores, and travel time. The remaining few hours at home could be easily eaten up by the pervading influence of screen media (phones, internet, television, all forms of entertainment at one’s fingertips). One has to resist getting into a rut that do not build up but slowly tear down the marital fabric. Celebrating anniversaries, monthsaries, and creating special moments to cherish a spouse should be like icings on the cake of a marital friendship built with good decisions and habits over a lifetime.

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