If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married. –Deuteronomy 24.5
Note to employers: If you’re looking for a great recruiting tool for young talent, try this one. Give your workers time for an extended honeymoon after they get married.
Let’s be real. That’s never going to happen.
And, since most of us aren’t theologians, we don’t really speculate on the entire context of this Scripture. What we see is that in ancient Israel, when you tied the knot you spent the next twelve months focusing your marriage. Now that’s a honeymoon!
Having worked with more than 75,000 couples, Marriage Dynamics knows how important it is for couples to invest intentional time in each other. Think about how important this concept in Scripture really is for couples just starting out. Getting off on the right foot in marriage is essential to staying the path.
But, there are also things in this verse that couples married for any amount of time can consider.
The principles that get you going will keep you going. It’s like the old saying, “If you want what you had you have to do what you did.” In other words, to get back that newlywed spark apply these three principles in your marriage now.
- Focus on getting off to a great start. Like we said, the beginning of a marriage- the honeymoon phase- is an ideal time to get things going in the right direction. But, so is the beginning of each new day. What’s your routine like in the morning. Are you rushed and hurried because you stayed up late and slept in too long? Did you really need to take in that last rerun of MacGyver? What did you do first thing when you woke up? Did you discuss the day with your spouse and consider how you might help each other do what needs to be done? Did you pray together? Or did you grab your phone first thing to check what happened overnight on social media?
- Practice intentional presence. The Bible verse said that the newly married couple made it a point to “stay at home.” This might simply be talking about the fact that going off to fight in a war isn’t required. But let’s look at the principle and how it applies to us. Today almost everyone seems very busy. Daily obligations can keep us from making investments in our most important relationships with spouse and family. It’s gotten so bad that even when families are together they’re really not. How often do you go to a restaurant with your crew and see families at tables with their phones out each doing his or her own thing? Don’t be that family. Take time to be present with each other each day. This is especially important with your spouse. Don’t know where to start? Instead of watching a whole episode of that show you’re hooked on, spread it out over two nights. Spend the extra time reviewing your day together. Talk about your plans for the next day. Say a short prayer for each other.
- Bring Happiness. These two words conjure images of heading to a party bearing gifts for your hosts. If you’re bringing something, you probably thought about what it is you have to offer. If your job is to bring happiness to your spouse, think about the things you can pick up that will bring them great joy. These can certainly be tangible things you buy at the store, but they can also be emotional gifts that are likely to leave a lasting impression. How about some deep conversation? Time spent in recreation? Helping clean up the house or do work in the yard? If you want to bring happiness to your spouse become an expert in the things that make them happy.
If you get off to a great start each day, be intentional about staying connected and practice doing things you know make your spouse happy, your marriage is going to move in the right direction long after the honeymoon is over.
Even if you still have to go to work.