Taking Time to Nurture Our Marriages

So, today’s post is going to be a little different. A little rambling. A little all over the place. But I know God works in all situations and I know for a fact that He often shows up BIG in the middle of my chaos. So I pray today that He shows up to bless you. I hope He leaves you feeling encouraged and loved in spite of my possible shortcomings!

My husband and I just got home from a week away in Belize! Yup. Belize it or not!:-)  It was a wonderful trip and thoroughly needed. We are not the kind of couple to take that time for ourselves. When we only had our two little guys, we did get away for a night or two a couple of times.

Then, after adopting our daughter, that changed. Her needs were great and leaving her for any amount of time just wasn’t an option. A year ago, we took a big step of faith and left all three kids in the care of our new, but very treasured and capable respite care worker. It had been five years since we had that kind of time together. And now we took an even bigger step and went away for the whole week. This was the first time since we had become parents. That means 13 1/2 years! And guess what? They were all just fine! Even better than fine!

You Betta Belize It

Let me guarantee, it will not be another 13 1/2 years before we take time for each other again!

It was long overdue. 

Here are 5 important conclusions I came up with while having time to think!

  1. My husband is a pretty neat guy who makes me laugh a lot.

  2. We still love the same things that we had in common when we met 17 years ago! We love adventure and are almost always ready to discover new things!

  3. We both make all our decisions with our children’s best interest in mind and taking care of our marriage is in the best interest of our children whether it feels selfish or not.

  4. It’s not a waste of money to take time for ourselves. It is an investment that gives awesome returns!

  5. We need this.

When hardship falls upon a marriage, our individual weaknesses are triggered. Our thorns rear their ugly heads and intensify the pain of the hardship.

When hardship falls upon a marriage, our individual weaknesses are triggered.#marriage #taketimeforeachother #thereishope Click To Tweet

When our daughter came home to us with more physical, mental, and emotional special needs than we could have ever imagined, our world was rocked. What we had dreamed of would never be and all that we had known was forever changed.

Recognizing our weaknesses.

My weakness is self-confidence. For as long as I remember, in spite of educational accolades and accomplishments, the whisper of ‘not good enough” taunts my heart and mind. Friends, I know truth. I see truth. But something deep in my spirit doubts what I can bring to the table. When it came to my daughter, I tackled all the obstacles with logic and strength, but I heard the whispers that said, “You can’t help her. You are making mistakes.You are not a good enough Mama for this child.” And as my daughter rejected my love and threw every effort back at me, my thorns intensified the pain.

Bryan’s weakness is emotional disconnection. He is a get-it-done kind of guy. I often order nolvadex and clomid tease him that on his headstone, it will someday read “I’ve checked the final box.” Sometimes it is a tremendous benefit and it helps me see situations from a logical perspective instead of an emotional one. However, when hardships strike, he emotionally disconnects and it becomes his thorn.

He couldn’t fix our daughter.

He couldn’t solve the problems.

He couldn’t make it better.

But he could fix things at work so that is where he went.

I was hurting and doubting my worth. He was hurting and fixing things at work. I couldn’t reach him and he didn’t even think to reach me. Our thorns were wreaking havoc. 

But for God.

He kept protecting us. He kept our paths straight. He reminded us of our commitment and His gift of our love. He sent us just who and what we needed in the moments we needed them most. He held us up above the pain.

And got us through to the other side. Our daughter is doing better and our support systems are in place so the fiercest parts of the battle seem to be at peace … for now.

We finally stopped a few months ago to look at each other and say,”We are worth this.” And I am so thankful we did!

Now, Belize is beyond amazing, and I know it may not be that level of “getting away” each time! But getting away is important. Away from work. Away from responsibility.

It is a time to …
  1. Focus on each other and remember why we fell in love in the first place.
  2. Get respite from the stress of the hardship. Over the years, the intensity takes its toll on health, as well. Stress does awful things to a body.
  3. Rejuvenate our spirits. Hardship puts us in overdrive, often leaving our spirits desperately dry.

I was so convicted of the importance of time away I began to feel a nudge from God. I want every couple to have the opportunity to get away to rejuvenate themselves and their marriages. But God rested my heart on the parents of children with both physical and mental special needs.

Getting away is extremely difficult for parents of special needs children. You must have specialized care from someone you can trust and you must have the funds. Most families do not have a lot of extra income because most of it goes to medical bills.

Marriages are crumbling, families are hurting, and they don’t often have the resources to make things better. So what if there was a ministry that raised money to help these families? There are organizations like Make a Wish and HopeKids, but usually these organizations focus on long-term physical or terminal medical diagnoses. Usually they do not include the families of children with mental and behavioral illnesses.

I don’t know exactly what this looks like, but I know it’s on my heart in a big way. I also know I wanted to write it here where others can see it. Will you please pray for this? Pray for the vision to fully evolve and for doors to clearly open or close with the people or resources that are needed? Also, if you have any ideas or connections, I would love to hear from you! I can be emailed at lorischumaker at gmail dot com.

I want to leave you with a few pics of the awesome wonder of God’s beauty found in Belize.

Belize Near Big Blue HoleBelizeAmbergris Caye, BelizeBelize Half Moon CayeIMG_4067 (2)

Bryan and I in Belize


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  1. That is a beautiful vision you have. May God bless and honor the desires of your heart to find a way to bless others with a reprieve as they minister to these needy children so desperate for love. Blessings! Love, Rachael @ Inking the Heart

    1. Hi Rachael,
      Thank you so much! I’m going to keep praying and listening for the next step!
      Blessings and smiles,

  2. Getting away is so important for a marriage! And doing so IS in the best interest of your children! Marcus and I have never been away for an entire week, but we do manage 3-4 nights once or twice a year. Another thing we do when we can’t get away is give the kids dinner early then set them up with a movie in one of their bedrooms to watch together. Then Marcus and I have a quiet dinner together. We have always explained to our kids that we need our time alone together to help us to have a stronger marriage.
    And I love the photos! A beautiful place! I’m so glad you got away.

    1. Thanks, Aimee! You are so right!

  3. Getting away is important and hard to do. I’m glad you got your week away. Thank-you for sharing!!!

    1. Hi Candice,
      Thank you! I agree! I am so glad you stopped by to visit!
      Blessings and smiles,

  4. I’m new to your blog but really enjoyed reading. I’m so glad you and your hubs could get away – what a beautiful place! May God bless your daughter and may he use the renewed strength he gave you on your getaway to pour back into her.

    1. Hi Melody,
      Thank you so much for visiting my little corner of the blog world! I am so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for your kind words and prayers!
      Blessings and smiles,

  5. I enjoyed reading your post, I totally agree with #4 Your photos are beautiful, that water is so clear!!! Thank you for sharing on the Oh My Heartsie Girls WW this week!
    Hope you have a great weekend!

    1. Hi Karren,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by! The clarity and calm of the water amazed me. I never expected to see ocean waters that calm – like a lake on a completely still day! Thanks so much for hosting each week!!!
      Blessings and smiles,

  6. Lori, I love this! I pray that your vision is fulfilled. I have a close friend and her husband who would benefit from an organization like this. I don’t believe they have been away together since before their oldest was born. She visits her family with the other children while her husband stays with their son and vice versa. There IS A NEED for such an organization. I love the pictures and I’m glad you and your husband had a wonderful trip. Thank you for linking up with Thankful Thursdays, my dear friend.

    1. Hi Lori,
      Thank you so much for sharing this with me. It is such a sad, but true, situation. For the longest time, our family nucleus as well as our marriage suffered greatly because we couldn’t all share experiences together. One of us would stay with our daughter and the other go with the boys. Always apart. It took its toll. There are state programs that, once your child is qualified, will provide hours of respite care. However, your child has to fall into very specific categories of disability. It has taken us until recently to get a true and full diagnosis that would qualify. We will start to see some of those services in probably about six months. However, about a year ago, I took a stand that my husband couldn’t see at the time. I insisted on investing in hiring a qualified person to spend a certain amount of hours each week. It helped immensely. If this wonderful young woman hadn’t come into our lives, I am not sure where we would be right now. And, on the back side of this, my husband gets it and sees its necessity!
      Thank you for your heart and friendship!! Much love to you!!

  7. Hi Lori, I love your pictures and I agree that its hugely important to spend time to nurture marriages… I came across your post in “A Little R & R” earlier. I’ve only just stumbled upon this link up party and it’s great to be able to read others post….in fact I’ve just written a blog post called “Mum and Dads Respite Weekend Away” on henibean.blogspot.co.uk if you fancy a read xx

    1. Hi Jade,
      Thanks for stopping by! A Little R&R is a great blog with a great link-up! I, too, just found her a couple of months ago! Although I started my blog over a year ago, it wasn’t until May that I started actively promoting. That is how I discovered Link-ups and am so glad I did. Not only has it helped to share the words God has put on my heart, but I have made new friendships and relationships that have blessed me immensely! I will for sure stop by your blog for a visit!
      Blessings and smiles,

  8. Sounds like a wonderful and much needed vacation. This is such a great reminder that marriage needs to be cultivated and it takes work to keep it where it should be. Thank you so much for sharing. Stopping by from the Fellowship Friday link-up.

    1. Ahhhh … yes, all good things will need hard work! Thank you so much for stopping by!
      Blessings and smiles,

  9. Belinda Letchford says:

    Though I agree with us find a way to carve some ‘us’ time I thought the pearl here was understanding each other’s weaknesses and reactions with that. Insight indeed.

    1. Hi Belinda,
      Thank you so much for visiting! Thank you for your kind words and I am thankful God used my words for insight! At times, his reactions felt as though he didn’t care or he didn’t approve of my mothering skills. So understanding his weaknesses and his wiring in the face of strain, helped me to detach his reactions from me. They were about him and not me just as mine are about me and not him. Of course, the next step, is to bridge that gap. That is where we are now and it is a good thing. We have come a long way and I am so thankful God has been with us each step of the way!
      Blessings and smiles,

  10. What a beautiful ministry vision you have!! God works all things for our good and with Him all is possible so I imagine this is something I just won’t be reading about on your blog. Thank you for sharing your heart and for linking up at Weekend Whispers.

    1. Thank you for the encouragement, Mary! Your words made my heart smile today!!! Keep praying and we will see what God does!!
      Blessings and smiles,

  11. Your neighbor at Fellowship Friday…beautiful pictures, even more lovely post. You are so right about getting away and spending time together. It is so necessary for good communication and connection! Looks like you had a wonderful time, praying about your new ministry. ♥

    1. Thank you for praying, Nannette! I’m so encouraged to know I’ve got prayer warriors paving the way!! I’m so glad you stopped by to visit!
      Blessings and smiles,

  12. debwilson2 says:

    Beautiful pictures, Lori. Liked how you brought out that nurturing your marriage is in the best interest of your children.

    1. Thank you, Deb! It’s so difficult to wrap our brains around that because in each moment it feels selfish to take time away!It is a difficult balance to hold onto.
      Thank you so much for visiting!
      Blessings and smiles,

  13. I think #3 is especially important: “taking care of our marriage is in the best interest of our children.” Changing your mindset that it’s not selfish opens your attitude up to enjoy the time together.

    1. That mindset is a tough one, though, right?! It took us awhile to really grasp that. Thank you so much for visiting!
      Blessings and smiles,

    1. Thank you, Trista, for visiting! I am so glad you felt encouraged by this post. Now … go make those plans for that time alone with your hubby!!! 🙂
      Blessings and smiles,

    1. Thank you, Hope. I love linking up with you at #JoyHopeLive each week! Thanks for being such a gracious host!
      Blessings and smiles,

  14. I agree so much here its so important not to get lost in the mix of life and not concentrate on our marriages and relationships. Great tips and advice here. Thank you ever so much for linking up to Share With Me. I hope to see you again soon. I apologize for my late commenting, just catching up on a hectic week. I appreciate all the blog support. Look forward to reading more of your SWM link ups. #sharewithme

    1. Hi Jenny,
      Thank you, as always for your sweet visits! Know I am praying for your hectic schedule. Your sweets are littles and although it is a wonderful time to treasure.it is EXHAUSTING! I appreciate you tremendously!!
      Blessings and smiles,