This past year I had to cut all soy and whey protein from my diet for my infant son’s immature digestive system. You know the secret to success for this lover of cream, milk and all things cheese? Bacon.
I didn’t miss the dairy so much if I had a piece of bacon. This has changed my outlook on most self-improvement plans. Not that we should avoid things that take discipline, but finding the “bacon” that helps us succeed with big changes that are needed. Well… lets be honest: it brings bacon and bacon = happiness.
So here are some resolutions for 2015 which focus in on the vocation of Marriage and Parenting in ways that will increase the joy and happiness of our homes. They’re based on the S.P.I.C.E. model, taught in my NFP sessions with the Pope Paul VI Institute. I hope you enjoy.
- Pray together and for each other. Prayer is tough, but such a joy to know your spouse has your back and you are unified. Some simple ideas to start are find a prayer you both love and pray it once a day together or separately. Pray together however often you decide. Open that time with a simple prayer, swap intentions that you would like the other to remember during their prayers that week (write them down so you don’t forget!), and close with something simple but meaningful like an “Our Father” – take the pressure off, schedule it, and watch it grow!
- Pray, read, sing, act out Bible stories, play. Do so intentionally and with age appropriate expectations. Have fun and set it for once a week/daily depending on how much time you get daily with your kids. Don’t make it a chore, make it fun.
- Find an activity you both enjoy and get better at it. Tennis, golf, bowling, ping-pong, frisbee golf, laser tag, running, lifting, hiking, camping, cooking, etc. etc.
- Two words: Dance party. I don’t care who you are or your personality, all kids love to dance.
- Take a class together, read a book together, talk/learn/apply. Extra points if you can enjoy the hobby, actually learn something, become experts on it and then actually do something to improve your community/world with it.
- Talk about the books as you read/when you are done reading. Help them apply and interact and improve the world around them with it.
- Socialize your kids with people of all ages
- Have a SPICE date! Here is where that creative side comes out! How can you do all five things in one date? Or spread them over the day. One couple I know devoted the evenings to one letter a day and had a SPICE week. You can even devote a series of date nights to be focused on one area a date. Be intentional and present. Set rules that date night is not for work/problems/kid talk. That is for a different outing or if needed, a specific amount of time and then done.
- Family day! Drop anything that does not need to be done and focus on your family! Go do something, stay in and watch movies, make something as a family that will be displayed.
- Find out what makes your spouse and kids feel loved as individuals and do it. If you haven’t ever taken the love languages test, try it and swap scores with your spouse. This isn’t a one-time test, various stages of life and various times these will switch up. Study your spouse and take interest in their interests.