No marriage grows in a healthy way unless both husband and wife are committed to working ON the marriage and not just IN the marriage. It’s a bit like getting your car regularly serviced rather than just waiting till things go wrong before you do anything. And your marriage is so much more valuable than your car!
The challenge is that working ON your marriage takes time and it will hardly ever seem as urgent as heaps of other things. It’s often that way with relationships – we take good relationships for granted and are surprised when things fall apart. In fact, it’s very similar in our relationship with God. The bottom line is that good relationships take time and we should devote most time to working on those relationships that are most important.
Marriage time (or whatever you’d rather call it!) should stick to the following guidelines:
– it should be a weekly scheduled event that isn’t easily bumped and even then only if another good time is available
– the time should be mutually agreed upon and “prime time” rather than just the scraps that are left over once everything else has been prioritized
– it should last for at least an hour but preferably longer
– the first hour should be devoted to:
- praying for your marriage time
- reading the Bible together and talking about what God is saying there
- taking turns in sharing something you’ve appreciated about your spouse or something that they’ve done during the week
- taking turns in sharing something about your spouse or something they’ve done during the week that has bothered, upset, frustrated you etc. Be careful to phrase this in a loving way rather than an accusing way – remember, always give each other the benefit of the doubt!
– If you’ve got extra time (or perhaps even once a month instead of the above) take some time to plan and assess your marriage – i.e. what are your goals and how are you going at achieving them? You might want to consider goals in the following areas:
- Maturity in Christ – what areas are you aiming to grow in and how can you support one another in achieving those goals?
- Togetherness – how would you like to be a better husband/wife and how can you support one another in this?
- Children – if you have kids, how are you aiming to improve as parents? Most importantly, how are you working together to encourage them to know and love God?
- Church – How are you ensuring that you are engaged together in the ministry & mission of your church? How are you spurring one another on in loving God’s people and reaching out to unbelievers with the gospel of Jesus?
- Time & money – are the choices you are making about how to spend time and money a good reflection of Jesus’ Lordship and all that you think is important in life?
At least once a month, make sure that you set aside ample time to have fun together – just enjoying one another’s company without any big agenda. Take turns in organizing this activity.