Fruit of the Spirit for Marriage Printable {FREE}

Last week, I mentioned exhibiting the Fruit of the Spirit in your marriage as an important way to be a wife when the kids are taking a lot of your energy.

In a few days, Ty and I will be celebrating our 19th wedding anniversary, so I thought now would be a great time to put together a free Fruit of the Spirit for Marriage printable so you could have something to print off and hang on your wall, put with your At-A-Glance Schedule, or laminate and stick in your Bible.  There are 2 sizes – feel free to print off one or both of them!

May you and your marriage be blessed by it!

Download the Fruit of the Spirit (for married couples) LARGE printable here!

Download the Fruit of the Spirit (for married couples) SMALL printable here!

Fruit of t he Spirit {for married couples} FREE Printable! | RaisingArrows.net

Being a Wife When the Kids Take All Your Energy

The day started with a bang.  Literally.  My glass mixing bowl in pieces all over the tile floor.  Next came a whiny child who was certain the multiplication tables were trying to kill her.  Then came the brothers who couldn’t seem to stop jumping off the furniture and knocking each other down in the process.  My teens needed a couple of hours of heart-to-hearts with me, and my newborn needed to be changed and fed.  And the toddler?  Oh no?!  Where was the toddler?!

I know I looked bedraggled when my husband walked through the door.  I couldn’t help it.  It had been a day.  It seems like it is ALWAYS “a day.”

Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to be there for him, but there was no way I could be.  I had spent the entire day in damage control, and there were still several more hours of it to go. Not a chance was my husband going to make my priority list that day.

Sound familiar?

wife graphic

Thankfully, I don’t make a habit of this, but many women do.  Not because they mean to push their husbands to the backburner, but because they are barely surviving their own lives day in and day out, to the point they absolutely cannot see a way to grab a big enough break to spend time with their spouse.

They don’t have enough time to be a wife because it took everything they had to be a mom.

How to be a Wife When Your Kids Take All Your Energy | RaisingArrows.netWhen you have a house full of obligations 4 1/2 feet and under, life is hard.  You often lose sight of how these little people got here in the first place!  But I firmly believe a strong marriage will actually HELP your ability to mother these little ones, so let’s talk…

Keep in touch via phone, text, or email throughout the day.  Keeping in touch with your husband is the key to keeping your marriage at the forefront of your mind.  In this day and age, nearly every wife has instantaneous access to her husband via some form of digital communication.  Try to stay connected during your day and you will find it easier to stay connected when he is home because both of you are aware of what has gone on in your respective domains throughout the day.

Try to knock out the big stuff before he gets home.  Sometimes I have a major blog post I want to write or I need to go shopping sans children, but I try not to take up “our time” with projects.  If you do need to do a big project, try to do it together (or at the very least, in each other’s presence.)  An example of this would be going grocery shopping together.

Take a nap – if you can.  Yes, I know – a mom of many littles is probably not going to get a nap.  This is one of those things that comes and goes, but is such a blessing if you can manage it.  I’ve had some seasons where I’ve been able to successfully implement a Rest Time for everyone in the house, so you might try that first.  You are WAY more refreshed when your husband comes home.  But, if you cannot manage something of that scale, try to get a decent night’s sleep and try to find some time shortly before he comes home to unwind.  Find a place to take a break and prepare your heart and mind for your husband’s return.

Establish a bedtime (or rest time).  We are a Routine Family.  Our life doesn’t fit neatly into rectangles on a spreadsheet, but I do try to have a round-about bedtime set for the kids, and most of the time, we adhere to it.

I will tell you that having bigger kids has made having a bedtime MUCH harder.  Big kids don’t like to go to bed at 8 pm.  What we ask of our bigger kids is that they respect “our time” and take that time to rest or relax.  Yes, they would certainly LOVE to watch the movie we are watching, but they understand that isn’t always feasible.

Have a ritual or tradition that is just for you and your husband.  For us, it has become coffee on the front porch before Ty heads to work.  No one is allowed out there with us.  I have to admit, the younger ones like to call to us through the windows giving their nine million reasons why they NEED to come out there.  (You know, things like they are just checking the weather or they thought they heard us call them out there.)  So, our coffee time isn’t always peaceful, but child training is occurring, and our children are well aware of how important that Mommy-Daddy time is.

Traditions and rituals are signposts for a marriage.  They tell our story.  They keep us connected.  They create memories – not only for us, but for our children who see how important this thing called marriage is.

Make the Fruit of the Spirit the fruit of your marriage.  Ty and I have been talking a lot lately about the Fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.  A lot may divide marriages (and Christians, for that matter), but if our lives, marriages, and homes are characterized by these Fruits, little else matters.

For more great ideas to keeping your marriage a priority, check out these posts:

Frugal Date Nights

How to Make the Most of a Day Out with Your Husband

Marriage-Centered Family – my guest post on To Love Honor and Vacuum

Follow Amy Roberts {Raising Arrows}’s board Marriage on Pinterest.

How to Make the Most of a Day Out with Your Husband

This coming week, Ty and I will be going to a homeschool conference and a wedding.  Most of our “dates” are like this.  We have something we need to do, some place we need to be, and THAT is our “date”.  I’ve learned over the years to make the most out of these days out and about.  I hope this post will encourage you to do the same!

Sometimes the only "dates" you get with your husband are days you have some place to be.  Learn to make the most of them! | RaisingArrows.net

Get dolled up.

One of my favorite parts of being able to go out somewhere with Ty is being able to do my hair and makeup and wear something nice.

Sometimes the only "dates" you get with your husband are days you have some place to be.  Learn to make the most of them! | RaisingArrows.net

(In the photo above, I’m wearing my scarf from Deborah & Co. – isn’t it pretty?!)

My best piece of advice is to save some favorite outfits for those days out.  Experiment with hairstyles that compliment your face.  Enjoy looking nice for your husband!

Enjoy the fresh air.

In the photo above, Ty, Aspen and I were sitting outside eating at Chipotle.  I’ve always found that a day out with Ty is even nicer if we are able to get outside.  Walking, eating, just breathing – it’s all wonderful!

Take photos.

Make the day special by taking a photo!  Even a selfie (or rather, usie) on your phone is a great way to commemorate even the most mundane of events, making them something special.  I like to post my photos to Instagram (amyarrows is my username there if you’d like to follow me) or to my Facebook page.

Sometimes the only "dates" you get with your husband are days you have some place to be.  Learn to make the most of them! | RaisingArrows.net

(This photo was taken on Ty’s phone about a week after Aspen’s birth when he and I went out for coffee.)

Hold hands.

I remember being a kid and seeing my parents hold hands.  It was sort of embarrassing, but at the same time, reassuring.  There is just something lovely about holding hands with your spouse.  Do it often!

Be grateful for the time you have.

So often, we are not grateful for the time we have with our husbands even when it is “just a doctor’s appointment” or “just a shopping trip.”  Purposefully be thankful.  Appreciate the time.  Be sure to tell your husband you are enjoying your time together.  Do your very best not to bring up troubling issues between you.  This isn’t the time.

I’d love to hear how you make the most of your time with your husband!

Looking for some frugal date ideas?  Check out my post Frugal Date Nights.

Our Frugal Date Nights {plus a short rant}

Our Frugal Date Nights | RaisingArrows.net

All the marriage books and seminars will tell you how important it is to have a Date Night with your spouse, but I have to admit I’m a little skeptical of “great marriage advice” that only seems to be relevant to the last 30 years.  Ma & Pa Ingalls weren’t scheduling a weekly Date Night.  They were too busy and too poor.  So, before I go any further with this post, I want to say loud and clear that having or not having a Date Night with your spouse is not going to make or break your marriage.  Quit thinking that Date Nights are going to fix everything.  It’s going to take a whole lot more work than that.

Now that we have that clarified, let’s move on, shall we?

Ty and I do go on Date Nights here and there.  Most of the time it involves eating out and a trip to the store.  But sometimes we just need some couple time that doesn’t involve leaving the house or money.  It’s those “Date Nights” I’m going to share with you here.
{this post contains affiliate links}

1.  Amazon Prime Streaming Movies – Nearly a year ago, we took the plunge and got Amazon Prime.  After Creed was born, we began to use the streaming videos feature (we had actually purchased it to save on shipping costs).  It was only $79 for the entire year and we got a free month.  So, on nights like tonight, Ty and I may snuggle up on the couch and watch a little Duck Dynasty Season 1 for a few giggles.  I actually have some very fond memories of those newborn days, watching Amazon Prime with baby and Daddy late at night as we got accustomed to our new little bundle.

2. Driveway Dates – Oh, how I love these! Ty will call me up when he’s on his way home from work and say, “Meet me in the driveway.”  Now most of the time when Daddy shows up after work, I yell, “Daddy’s home!” and they all come runnin’, but not on these nights.  These nights are just for him and I.  I slip on my shoes and sneak out the door, leaving the baby in the care of an older child (or bringing him along if need be).  Most of the time I’ll jump in the passenger seat of the car and we’ll sit there and listen to music, talk over the day, and talk about things to come.  It’s a time we can have all to ourselves.  Eventually, the little boys look out the window and see Mommy and Daddy just sitting out there and figure we must be lonely without them, but until that moment, it’s a Date Night…in the driveway!

3.  Coffee or Tea on the Front Porch – Another favorite!  This is usually a morning thing and it usually starts with a, “Hey, you wanna have coffee on the front porch before you go to work?”  We have to stress to the little guys the fact that Mommy and Daddy are having some alone time (we usually tell them it is a “meeting” because that sounds super boring and something they would not want to be a part of).  They are slowly learning that they need to refrain from opening the door nine million times to ask us when we are coming in.

If it’s coffee we are having, it is often Starbucks Coffee Blonde Roast, Willow Blend and I have some sort of creamer in mine.  If it is tea, it is a Sweet Cinnamon Orange.  It may not be night time, but it sure is special!

4.  Cook Something – Sometimes a Date Night is one spent in the kitchen together.  I don’t often get Ty’s help in the kitchen, so when I do it is a real treat!  Nothin’ says lovin’ like Ty cookin’!  It could be a recipe of my choosing or something like Elvis Biscuits (one of Ty’s favorites), but no matter what, we have a blast!

5.  A Walk Around the Outside of the House – This has become my new form of exercise.  Taking Ty along makes it twice as fun!

6.  Put the Kids to Bed Early – Don’t laugh, but sometimes Date Night simply means Without Kids Night.  Putting the kids down for some Rest Time and just relaxing in our own company is quite wonderful.  We need a strong marriage so we can be strong parents.  Putting the kids to bed early is a good way to take this time to reconnect.

These are some of our favorites, but I want to hear from you!  What are your favorite frugal Date Nights that are easy to pull off?

In Honor of Our 17th Anniversary {Welcome Home Wednesday}

Ty and Amy

This past week, Ty and I celebrated 17 amazing years together!  We’ve been through so much since we said “I do” all those years ago, but I love him more today than I could ever have imagined back then.  He’s my best friend.

So, in honor of our 17th anniversary, today’s Welcome Home Wednesday is featuring marriage posts from last week!

First up, Katie from Adventures as Mr. & Mrs. offers ideas for those times when you are apart from your spouse.  She and I share deployments as one of the hardships of marriage.  Seeing the photo in her post, brought back memories.

Here’s my man leaving for his first deployment back in 2002:

Ty's first deployment

Lori from Always Learning shares how easily a woman can tear down her home with her attitude.

What-is-marriageRebecca from Mom’s Mustard Seeds shares a beautiful post on the true definition of marriage.

And this post on how Keri from Growing in His Glory met her husband was just too cute to pass up!

Welcome Home Wednesdays
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The Dream Squasher Wife

The Dream Squasher Wife | RaisingArrows.netI am a dream squasher.

Ty will tell me about something he wants to do and the practical side of me jumps up and quickly blurts out something uber-insensitive.  In fell swoop, I squash his dreams.  Sometimes all it takes is a look.  Sometimes I add in words to land the blow.  I react first, think later.

The things Ty is suggesting aren’t outlandish, but tend to be contrary to what I want to do or outside my comfort zone.

Go hunting the entire weekend?

Flabbergasted stare.

Buy a cabin in Alaska and live off the land.

Are you kidding me?

I like to have things my way and I wasn’t raised with an adventurous flair.  My husband, on the other hand, is one of those men who has never been satisfied with mediocre.  Everything he does is full-tilt.  This is fine by me until it directly affects me

like taking away my weekend plans or taking me away my comfort zone.

A couple of years ago, I realized every time my husband came to me with an idea or plan or just something he wanted to talk about, I inevitably came up with some super realistic view of his dream that turned it all on its head.  He wasn’t allowed to dream in my presence because his dreams scared me, and if I could make his dreams look as if they weren’t well-thought out or simply a bad idea, then I wouldn’t have to worry about his dreams affecting me.  What I didn’t know was how much I was hurting him in the process of protecting myself.

When I finally saw what I was doing, I quickly changed how I was reacting and tried very hard to not say anything.  But, just recently, I realized even that isn’t the right answer because silence is still dream squashing.

I need to dream with him.

I don’t dream with him because I’m afraid of encouraging him.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of hardship.  Fear of not having my way.  They all frighten me.  My dream squashing is how I control the situation.  Keep the upper-hand.  Be the one in charge.

Not a lovely picture of biblical submission, eh?

I don’t want to be a dream squasher any more.  In fact, I want to take the extra step away from dream squashing and into dream weaving.

Up scene

Remember Up?  {I cry every time I watch it.}  It’s the story of a dream.  A crazy dream held together by love.  I want that.

None of the stuff we dream may ever come to fruition, but at least we dreamed it…

together.