The Importance of Cultivating Daily Rituals with Your Spouse

Every day at 3 pm, my grandparents had a date. They sat down at their white formica table with their glass bowls and ate ice cream with homemade chocolate syrup together.

It dawns on me.

The importance of a daily ritual with my spouse.

Over the years we’ve had our own rituals. Drinking coffee together in the morning and snuggling on the couch at the end of the day watching crime documentaries are several current rituals. Over the years, they’ve ebbed, flowed, and morphed.

Years ago, when my husband first got sober, we’d buy countless cartons of ice cream and eat several scoops in bed every night.

We went through a phase of telling each other 5 things we loved about the other every day.

For a while we took turns reading chapters of the Bible to each other.

After we got a dog, we were religious about going for a walk every day together (except when it was wickedly Minnesota cold).

A small ritual that has withstood the test of time is daily intentional touches. A passing kiss. A long embrace. Hand holding. A butt slap. A back tickle. A finger-comb through the hair. A foot rub.

There isn’t a day that goes by without some form of touch.

Another ritual is just being around each other as much as we can. When we are home, we follow each other around. We are never in separate rooms for long. When one goes to run errands, stop to get milk, go grocery-shopping, or pick up the kids, the other goes with. It is almost unspeakable for one of us to go someone alone.

It just so happens we not only love each other; we really, genuinely like being around each other.

-Melissa Neeb

He is my counter-weight, my ying, my gravitational pull. My home isn’t a place; it’s him.

These rituals we share might not change the world. But they fortify us. When our marriage is strong, those in our orbit can’t help but be affected.

So I guess we really are changing our little corner of the world after all.

-Melissa Neeb

Faith in the Mess by Melissa Neeb


Finding God at Rock Bottom

I couldn’t go on like this anymore.

My husband had another relapse, a pile of relapses, years of relapses. Once again I didn’t know where he was. I didn’t know if he had been in a car accident, if he was holed up somewhere waiting out his high or simply hiding from me, or if he had overdosed and died.

Any, ALL of these senarios were possible. I was left to my lowest common denominator, empty and hopeless, waiting for a phone call to solidify my fears.

There were countless night like this. This is the life of loving an addict.

You never know.

This was the last time. It may not have been the last time for him, but it was for me. I was at rock bottom. My heart couldn’t survive this anymore.

I dropped to my knees by the side of the bed, wailing, broken, defeated, desperate. Desperate for change. Desperate for my husband to finally get it. Desperate for our marriage to live up to its potential. Desperate for my husband to live. Yet everything I tried failed. All I had left was to beg for help.

I unleashed all my prayers in one breath and cried out to God. I let it all out: my fears, my frustration, my despair, my agony. And then I felt a wave of calm come over me. I dried my tears, got up, crawled into bed, and fell asleep.

God didn’t answer my prayer the way I thought He would.

See, God’s had a plan bigger and better than mine.

God didn’t change my outside circumstances. Not right away.

Instead, He changed me.

The night that I dropped down on my knees, literally, in the worst emotional and spiritual crisis of my life, God changed my heart.

I began to see my husband with the eyes of God. He was in pain and so was I. We couldn’t do this by ourselves. This disease was too big, too powerful, too cunning, and too full of madness. It was burying us, day by day, one inch, one limb at a time.

I needed saving.

At my weakest point, God asked for my complete surrender and trust.

I am so grateful for the night that I came to the end of myself. That night I hit rock bottom and that was when I truly found God.

What I didn’t realized until that moment was that

He had been there all along.

@faithinthemess by Melissa Neeb

My Husband’s Love Makes Me Feel Beautiful

I always feel beautiful in my husband’s presence.

How I look doesn’t matter to him. Makeup or bare-faced. Dressed up or in baggy sweats with stains. Healthy or sick. Freshly showered or sweaty mess. Sleepy, creased morning face or polished ready-for-the-day face. Covered in lotion or covered in dirt.

Doesn’t matter.

He looks at me utterly captivated, and I don’t doubt for a second how much he loves me. It’s etched into his expression.

I would not want anything less.

This has nothing to do with my magneticism and everything to do with the intimacy we’ve built in our marriage. Let me be clear in saying that it took years of counseling, distance, tears, arguments, pain, and uncomfortable conversations before we got here. It took work; hard, emotionally exhausting work.

It took unwavering commitment. It took us discarding all our masks, all our unrealistict expectations, and all the baggage we were carrying from childhood and previous relationships.

It also required forgiveness–not just in name only.

We’re talking epic, sweeping forgiveness for all the ways we had hurt each other in the past. The nasty names we had called each other. The overwhelming ways we’d let each other down. The lies we’d told.

True, enduring, passionate, life-long love can only be accomplished with vulnerability and 100% honesty. Any lie allowed to remain is a festering infection in a marriage.

Intimacy cannot co-exist with lies.

No matter how much damage your marriage has endured, God can repair it if you give him the chance. He wants you to be passionately loved by your spouse.

Every wife on Earth deserves to have a husband who looks at her the way my beloved looks at me. Unfiltered, unbridled, unquestionable love.

I thank God every day for him. Even when things have been difficult, even when my husband and I were miles away emotionally, even the times I doubted we would ever have the kind of relationship I prayed for, God had a plan for us.

You better believe He has a plan for your marriage, too.