In this series, I am offering
NINE MARKS of a GREAT MARRIAGE.
As you read about them, make them a part of your marriage!
What’s a GREAT MARRIAGE? Let’s find out by looking at the second characteristic.
#2 Great Marriages Focus More on their Relationship
There are no accidental “great marriages”. They don’t happen because you “wait for the right person”, “are compatible” or “stay in love”. Instead Great Marriages are the result of intentional focus by each spouse. Yet we often want to believe that others are “lucky” in marriage, when the truth is that they start with reality of their basis rather than the fantasy commonly expressed in songs and movies.
Their focus starts with themselves. They know they can change themselves, but only have the power to influence their spouse. So they begin with first being the spouse they need to be.
They remember their spouse is a gift not a project. No one wants to be “fixed”. Instead, every spouse deeply wants to be loved, accepted and appreciated. Even when they are “in progress”.
Couples with Great Marriages don’t take the day off. Every day is an opportunity to intentionally love their spouse with kindness, encouragement and appreciation. This intentional love flows out of their relationship with Jesus. It was He who provided the best example of pursuing their love, by living among us, reconciling us and filling us with His promises and presence.
Loving is not complicated and it’s not always easy. I’m not a great example, but one of the ways I do this with Lou Ann is simple. I intentionally thank her for the routine things she does in our home. I make it a point to thank her for fixing a meal, or cleaning up a closet or making a smart purchase. I point out how she is a blessing to others and remind her of how God is using her in ordinary ways. It helps me maintain an attitude of gratitude and gives her the encouragement she needs. But it hasn’t always been this way and I’m encouraged that God has changed my heart about this.
Any focus on the marriage relationship will be hard to maintain. We have lots of options and an enemy.
Ultimately it will come down to our trust and reliance on God’s power to love through us. We are called to choose to invest in our relationship. If we don’t we will continue to invest our time in a multitude of other things that won’t matter in several years. Much like putting money in savings, the results are spectacular over years but hard see at the beginning of the effort.
It’s a matter of choosing Good, Better or Best.
Spending every evening watching TV, working on hobbies or playing video games is GOOD. But will that build the future you want and relationship of joy?
It would be BETTER to learn a new skill or spend time with your kids. These things will be a valuable part of your life for years but your spouse is the primary influence on your life..
And the BEST investment would be to schedule meaningful conversation and time with your spouse each day. Doing this makes you healthier, wealthier and more loving.
We all need a mixture of Good/Better/Best in our lives. GBB starts with first putting the large rocks (the BEST) into our bottle of time. As we do, then we can fit in the BETTER things and finally the GOOD things of life.
Here are some ideas to increase your Focus!
1. Listen to an audio book together (or read a book to each other), then discuss.
2. Go out spontaneously for a snow cone, ice cream or dessert at a drive-thru.
3. Hold hands in public.
4. Kiss each other at least three times every day.
5. Find a ministry or hobby you both like and do it together. (Volunteer with re|engage or support the elderly or deliver meals)
The love of our life is really our choice, isn’t it?
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
It’s not warm when she’s away
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And she’s always gone too long anytime she goes away.
Discuss these Questions with your Spouse!
How would we rate the focus we are putting on our relationship this month (1-Low to 10-High)?
What’s one thing we should plan and do to invest more in our marriage?
What’s one thing we need to stop doing so we can make the BEST of our time?
What is competing for attention in our marriage right now, but which isn’t the best?
Bonus Music Track! (Good for dancing close. Just saying!)