Minimalism and Marriage

My short list has 5 items on it, with Marriage being the first, and minimalism being close behind. I thought that it might be interesting to explain how these fit together in my life. I’m not trying to minimalize my marriage, but to maximize it by limiting the other aspects of my life that might interfere.

How this looks in my life

I enjoy spending time with my wife, focused on her. This might mean rearranging my schedule or turning down activity options.

Getting up early
I get up earlier than I need to a few days a week. The extra couple of hours that I gain allow me to get some work done before my wife wakes up. After this bout of productivity, I am often able to have breakfast waiting when she does get up. We are then able to eat together, leisurely, before we have to head our separate ways for the day.

Turning down other options
At least once a week I have the opportunity to get home before my wife. On these days, I have the chance to have supper waiting when she arrives. It might be a more productive use of my time to knock out some homework, work on any of the dozen projects that I seem to have going on at any given time, or even just meet with friends during this free time. However, I don’t think there is a more important use of my time than to treat my wife. By then she’s tired and hungry (and often cold, now that the winter weather’s starting to move in), and having a hot meal ready to go is a comfort that I know she appreciates. She’s able to come home, relax at the table as I put the finishing touches on supper, and chat with me about our days.

These options are only available to me because I’ve narrowed down the other obligations in my life. Though school and work take out good portions of my days, I’ve streamlined how I get my homework done. The time and energy it takes has been minimized. I don’t participate in many extracurricular activities, having chosen only those that really align with my interests and provide results that I think are worthwhile.

Romance doesn’t have to be complicated

I might be married, but that doesn’t mean I can let the romance die. Indeed, it may be more important now than when we were dating. Fortunately for me, romance doesn’t have to be complicated, or expensive. Here are a few of the things that I do:

  • flowers – There may be nothing as good as the old stand-by of flowers. My wife always appreciates them.
  • food – Whether I cook, we cook, or we go out to eat, my wife and I love good food. It helps us to slow down and provides a good excuse to spend time together. She loves the break when I take over kitchen duties, we greatly enjoy cooking together (though I might make a bit of a mess at times), and we both love trying out new restaurants, or new items at old favorites.
  • sticky notes – My wife loves receiving notes, and I love writing them. In fact, I’ve come up with a system that helps me do this on a daily basis. I write short notes on sticky-note paper and hide them for her to find throughout the day. She gets a love note in addition to a daily treasure hunt.

I’m not an expert

I certainly don’t know everything about relationships, and mine is still a work in progress. However, I keep working to get better. I’ve worked through The Love Dare, read The Five Love Languages (which is how I know that Words of Affirmation, ie: love notes, are important to my wife), and make it a point to reread His Needs, Her Needs every year. Since my wife is important to me, I make the time to focus on her. Sometimes this doesn’t mean spending time with her, but improving myself as her husband. I might not be an expert on relationships, but I’m working towards my doctorate on my wife. This requires time and energy, and
being a minimalist helps me work toward that goal.

6 thoughts on “Minimalism and Marriage

  1. Rebecca Burgener says:

    Finding those times is so important, and you’re right, there are many things you must say no to in order to keep time with your spouse a top priority.

    You might add Love and Respect to the list of books you study in the future.

  2. Walter says:

    Marriage is a learning process as well as an opportunity for growth. I admire your effort in doing your best for your wife and for the betterment of yourself. 🙂

    • Matthew says:

      I love my wife and our marriage. As good as it is, I know that it can be better, but not without some work on both our parts. And so, I roll up my sleeves and get to work. 😀

  3. Andrew says:

    Of all the relationship books I have ever read, I think “the 5 love languages” is truly a must-read for everybody. It explains why even when we think we are loving someone (in our own love language) they may not be feeling loved (in their own love language) … which is exactly how the “crazy cycle” mentioned in “Love and Respect” starts. Great post!!

    (I only recently found your blog from some comments you made on the One Flesh Marriage blog, and am now getting caught up)

    • Matthew says:

      I certainly agree about the importance of “the 5 Love Languages” being a must-read. Not only that, but I think it can be really helpful to re-read it occasionally. One’s language can change, and just having a reminder is awfully helpful sometimes!

      (Glad to have you!)

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