I have been stressing the importance of getting away- just the two of you, and growing as a couple. But, I wanted to include some “family dates” ideas, too.
Wait? Is it possible to grow with your spouse on family dates? It indeed is. It does not have the same level of intimacy, and will not replace time alone with your spouse, but they are indeed growing. Growing as a family also means growing as a couple.
Let us pretend your family is actually a “family tree”. You have the roots, the source of nourishment, that would be the your relationship with God. Then you have the trunk, the base of the family tree- that would be you and your husband. Then you have your branches, those would be your kids.
If a trunk were to forget about its roots, and refuse nourishment from it, that would not be a very strong tree, would it?
If the trunk were to forget about itself and just pump everything into its branches. It would not be a very strong tree.
If the trunk were to think of only itself and refuse nourishment to its branches. It would not be a very strong tree.
Last, if the trunk were split down the middle, it would not be a very strong tree.
The strongest tree would be one with big strong roots, a sturdy trunk, and well fed branches. So, growing into a strong family involves putting God first (more on that tomorrow), then our relationship, and investing in our children. All are necessary.
So, what are some things that help you grow as a family?
- Not forsaking our relationship with God, or our spouse.
- Keeping our evenings free, for the most part, so we can spend them together. For me this means I need to be better about getting dinner on sooner.
- Doing activities as a family- simple often, more complex activities for special occasions. I remember traveling as a family growing up, and I loved it, but do you know what else I fondly remember? Taking a walk as a family to our gas station and picking out treats from the Ice Cream Freezer. Eating dinner as a family. Reading and praying as a family. Simplicity. It is beautiful.
- Sitting around the table as a family for meals. What a perfect time to fellowship as a family!
- Not always running back and forth- if every family member is always doing their own activities when do you have time to grow as a family?
- Family worship. Basically, don’t be a Sunday Christian Family. Personally, we are trying to establish a prayer, Bible reading, and singing time in the evenings.
- Reading as a family- some of my favorite memories are of my mom reading to us.
- Playing games and doing puzzles. Gather around the table and laugh.
- Going for family walks.
- Go to the park.
- Day trips to a pretty place.