Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another. –Hebrews 10:24–25 nlt
Some people dread meetings. But in a marriage, we think three types of weekly meetings can help a relationship grow more than you might imagine: a regular date with each other, a business meeting to tackle the family needs, and a time to grow spiritually together. You may not actually call them meetings, but we have never had a couple try our experiment and not say it was helpful. Yes, life is busy. Work and children can take lots of time and energy, but that is exactly why we believe three intentional meetings with your spouse each week can do wonders for your relationship.
The nonnegotiable date. Earlier in this book we talked about nonnegotiable dates (see page 27), so hopefully you already are having a date each week where you are focusing on each other and spicing up the romance. Spontaneity is great, but romance often takes intentionality, so make your date a sacred part of your schedule. The date doesn’t have to be expensive, and if you have kids, you can always trade baby-sitting with another couple. Your kids won’t miss you, and actually, it will give them a sense of security and a role model to see that their mom and dad still court each other. It may not be healthy for them or for you if your kids think they are the center of your universe. A weekly date is good for everyone.
The business meeting. With or without kids, life together can resemble a family business. There are bills to be paid, decisions to be made about insurance, home improvements, and how time is spent in and out of the home. We have found that many of those decisions can be made in a weekly meeting that takes less than an hour. Hey, splurge and have the meeting over a grande Frappuccino instead of late at night when you are both too tired to really care about the issues to be discussed. Our personal testimony is that we don’t do well late at night dealing with money, schedules, kids’ homework, or when the relatives are coming to visit. When family business issues are brought up in between meetings, we simply ask each other, “Can it wait until the business meeting?” Usually it can, and the meeting actually gets us in the mood to handle that kind of stuff.
The spiritual growth time. By now you have figured it out: It’s important to set a time to grow together spiritually. We must confess that this devotional comes out of our many times of trying every devotional experience known to humankind and mostly failing. Finally we felt the freedom to meet only once a week. We try to pray together more often, but an intentional time of spiritual growth once a week will do wonders for your togetherness. If you already do it more often, please keep it up. If not, start a weekly meeting and add more if you want to. We find the best experience is to schedule this time when there are few distractions. And because it can be easy to postpone, we have an appointment to make it happen. You can keep the time short, but try to incorporate inspiration, sharing, and prayer. Those three ingredients make for a great time of growth spiritually. And if your time falls at a moment when you are having some difficulties, do it anyway. Who knows? With God’s help you may just be able to turn a corner in your relationship.
Today’s Scripture from Hebrews is really meant for the church and not for couples per se, but if you read it again, the truth found in it for a marriage is incredibly powerful. A nurturing, loving relationship is often spelled T-I-M-E, so don’t neglect meeting together. Our experience is that if you don’t put it on the calendar, it won’t happen.