After I wrote this post, this title came to mind and it made me think of the song, “Summer Nights” from the musical, “Grease”. There’s something magical and exciting about summer love. In movies it’s presented as something short-lived and fleeting, but it doesn’t have to be.
As summer quickly approaches, I hear the list of things people are looking forward to. Anticipation is building for school to be out, work to slow down, and trips to be taken. I hear hope about having a summer different then last year - one filled with more - more activities, more projects, more engagement with the world at large. These are all good and exciting things, but there can be unintended consequences too.
Throughout the past year, it’s no surprise to hear how people’s marriages have been impacted by the pandemic. Spouses were forced to spend more time with each other at home, and it seemed this was either really good or an added stressor. Those reporting positive experiences shared stories of healing, reconnection, and hope for a lasting marriage. So when I hear about everyone’s summer plans to go out and do all the things, I worry about marriage being knocked down a peg on the list of things that are important.
Like most things in life, we’re really good at reacting. When we have a physical ailment, we see a doctor; when we’re gaining weight, we get a gym membership; when we’re feeling lost and overwhelmed, we pray; when we’re struggling in our relationship, we see a marriage counselor. Again, these are good things. But what would it be like to prioritize these things from the beginning and be proactive? Instead of waiting for problems to arise, what if we made our marriage, spiritual life, and physical health a priority to nurture and care for?
This summer I challenge you to add one more thing to your list of goals - summer love! I challenge you to nurture your marriage. Create bonding rituals and find moments of connecting on a daily basis. Plan a date night out/in with just your spouse. Talk together about areas within your marriage that you want to strengthen. Reflect on what’s working in your marriage and share these things in gratitude with your partner. Take a proactive approach to nurturing and prioritizing your relationship. Remember the good that came from a slower pace of life; we don’t have to do everything this summer. It’s fun to vacation and explore and build, but ultimately that’s not what is going to make your summer great. It’s when we slow down that we have space for connecting with our lover. Having summer love - a strong, close relationship with your spouse - is a perfect way of kicking off your summer right.