Saturday, January 07 2017
First and foremost, take a look back at the past year. Take this as an opportunity to celebrate your accomplished achievements - the ones you tackled together. Through the years, we've continued to set and sometimes meet our marriage goals (resolutions) we set at the beginning of each year. We work together to develop our goals. It's amazing what any couple can accomplish when even one partner is willing to do the work. And besides, Romans 12:18 tells us "If possible, as much as it depends on you, be at peace with all men." (That's a great principle for marriage when both parties are waiting for the other to take the initiative.)
I encourage you to ask your spouse the questions listed below and come up with some goals of your own for the New Year.
1. What did you most enjoy about our dating days?
2. What do you wish we could do as a couple that we rarely or no longer take the time to do?
3. What have you always wanted to do, as a couple, that we haven't yet done?
4. Where would be the ideal getaway for you and I to go someday?
5. What, specifically, would you like to see us accomplish together in the New Year?
But if that's too big of a step for now, or if you're somewhat frustrated here's a place to start - some simple goals for a closer connection in the New Year:
1. Pray and read the Bible together. This takes intentional commitment. We need to make this a priority in our marriages. Find a study/devotional you and your spouse can work through together this year. Also make it a daily ritual to pray for one another as well as with one another.
2. Say "I Love You" every day. Those three little words mean more each time we say them. Don't just say them to say we did, mean them.
3. Start your day with a kiss. Simple; but effective. Studies show couples that kiss each other daily (even a quick peck on the cheek) are happier, overall, than couples that don't.
4. Plan date nights. Dating was important before you were married and believe me, it's even more important after you're married. It doesn't have to be a fancy evening however it should be a time you are with your spouse exclusively.
5. Do unexpected acts of love. This is an easy one and truly makes an impression on the one you love. A hand written poem, a card, a love letter, or a small gift are ways you can do this. Maybe send a sweet text during their day or their favorite treat prepared just for them can do wonders in making someone feel loved.
6. Be interested in your spouse's day. Make it a point at the end of the day to ask the one you love how their day went. Most importantly, be a good listener. Really pay attention. You will be amazed at how much your spouse needs this specially if it has been a difficult day.
My favorite rule for making marriages stronger is to be intentional. Love your spouse on purpose not because you have to. Think of additional ways you can show them love throughout the year, throughout the week, and throughout the day. Resolution defined: a firm decision to do or not to do something. Make this year the year you will love intentionally because you can. "Above all keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8)
If you haven't already purchased, and read together, The Marriage Journey available in our bookstore please consider this resource to build a stronger, healthier marriage. Also, our newest addition to the bookstore, Journey 2 Victory serves as a tool to assist in healing not only marriages and relationships, but also individuals. Many times when our thoughts are committed to paper God gives us comfort and 'releases' our hurt and pain.
Heavenly Father, You are Holy. You call us to be holy. You created us in Your image. Yet, so often our hearts wander. Our speech does not glorify You. Our actions do not honor You. Self prevails. In this New Year, clothe us with humility. Take away our desire to be right and our stubbornness to demand our own way. Submit our will to Yours. As we open the pages of Scripture, tender our hearts so that it will penetrate even to the marrow of our bones. Amen.
Mae and Chuck began mentoring in home Bible studies and saw how their Christ-centered relationship was "different" from others. Though far from "perfect," their marriage and commitment to Christ demonstrated a peace and happiness that intrigued other couples. This became the opportunity to mentor other couples and to teach them to work at their relationship and grow their love for one another (with Christ) each day.