I know many of my readers are not married yet, but I recently wrote an article for a MOPS newsletter called: Intentional Marriage.
I hope this encourages you, whether married or single.
Do you remember the first time you laid eyes on your husband? Do you remember what you wore on the first date? Do you remember your first kiss with him? When is the last time you and your husband talked about the story of your courtship? When is the last time you had a date?
When we’re up to our necks in poopy diapers, dirty dishes, paying bills, “projects”, and life, one area that can quickly be put on the back burner is our marriage. God has stirred in my heart a passion for marriage! To see people have deeply satisfying, God-honoring marriage, not just roommate-type marriage.
But this type of marriage doesn’t come naturally. Actually if we aren’t intentional in our marriages we will drift towards isolation and loneliness. This summer I will celebrate my 9th anniversary with my husband, so I’ve just begun to learn about marriage, but I want to share some of the things we’ve done to protect our marriage and fully enjoy the oneness God designed for marriage!
1)We have a place that is our marriage sanctuary. This “place” is our bedroom! It’s a kid-free zone. There’s no pictures of them or toys. Hanging on the walls are pictures of us and tell the story of our love! We have been intentional to keep this place special and sacred for us to connect there!
2)We pray together daily!
3)There’s no topic off limits for discussion. We’ve cultivated a marriage where we can openly discuss any issues and share our thoughts openly and freely. This, of course, means laying aside pride so we can share without getting defensive. (To some this is very difficult, especially if they come from a family that never talked about important emotional issues.)
4) We've asked another couple to be our “blind spot” friends. Basically they have the “right” to ask us anything and we share freely with them any arguments or mis-understandings we’ve had. We try to get together with them two times a month to make sure we’re “doing” life with them. They pray for us and there’s nothing hidden from them. We’re trying to live as honestly and transparently with this couple to avoid any pitfalls that may be in our blind spot. This has taken a great deal of intentionality, with both couples!
5)We’re always working towards oneness. John and I try to evaluate what we’re doing through the question: Does this cause us to have oneness? This can include: ministry, work, hobbies, TV watching habits, vacations, extra-curricular activities, how we spend money, church involvement, raising our boys, and even bedtime. The more we keep this question in the front of our thinking, the more we’re able to filter out what is important to our marriage. (Oneness is not sameness.)
6)An important aspect of protecting our marriage has been dealing with our own emotional “junk”. This may not sound like a way to protect our marriage, but knowing that we’ve worked through and dealt with emotional pain allows us both to feel freedom in this area. (If you’re wondering if you’ve worked through stuff, ask “Can I openly talk about this past issue or pain?”)
7)We go out of our way to laugh together! Laughter is like a cold drink of water on a hot summer day!
8)John and I don’t communicate with members of the opposite sex without the other knowing about it. For example, if I send an email to a male, I BCC John so he sees every communication going from me to a male. This is one way to not allow even a shadow to creep into our marriage! We also don’t spend any one-on-one time with a member of the opposite sex! (This type of openness also includes full access to any and all password protected accounts we may have separately.)
Again, my passion is to see marriage thrive! Not just my marriage, but your marriage as well! I pray these help you find new ways to be intentional in your marriage!