A wise man once told my husband and me to think of our marriage as “the goose that laid the golden egg.” After I processed through a few weird visual images, I started to get it. He meant our marriage partnership was stronger and more productive than either of us was apart. He was trying to tell us to take care of the goose, for heaven’s sake. Feed it, water it, shelter it, take it for walks, give it nutrients and vitamins and good goose food. Our marriage needed intentional nurturing to produce good fruit. I mean, eggs.
The same man asked us if we had a weekly (weekly!) date night. He asked if once a quarter we got away together for long weekends. What? He had the nerve to ask us if we’d ever gone on a trip alone for two weeks or more. Are you kidding me?
We still have not achieved the once a quarter get away much less the two weeks gone thing but we got the point. The goose needs love and attention, now.
As a pastor, I see it too often. Marriages running on fumes. Relationships depleted. Couples so stretched, busy and out of the habit of tending to their marriages that they have almost nothing left. There are some very malnourished, emaciated geese out there. How did it happen that we put careers, kids, sports, community, hobbies and friends before our marriages? How did our geese get so feeble?
Dr. Richard Swenson is a physician who writes about margin, making space in our lives for what matters. He writes, “Relationships require time. Marriage requires time. Love requires time….Shared experiences, romantic date nights, reconciliation, errands, play, all require time.” He writes a “prescription” for marriage: “Make time for it. Schedule time for communication….Have regular dates. Keep short accounts….When culture makes home deliveries of stress and overload, don’t open the door. Guard the atmosphere of your home and the resilience of your marriage.” A Minute of Margin
Or, more simply put, wake up and take care of the goose, now.