We have found, in our own lives and through conversations with others, that looking to add some form of marriage focussed piece to our very full plates usually elicits the same response.
Mainly we hear that people feel an overwhelming amount of pressure when it comes to anything that has to do with their marriage. The expectation is that we will be told a ton of things to do which, if we are honest, just doesn't fit into our busy lives. Then, if we do attend or take the focussed marriage time, now our spouse has heard all the "to-do's" and will know if we aren't succeeding at doing them. It can easily become a place of great anxiety in our lives because we simply don't feel like we can DO anything else.
That's why today we want to remind you that focussing on your relationship is not Additional it's Intentional.
Having a strong, healthy marriage is not about adding more things to your plate to make sure that your spouse is happy, or that you're checking the boxes from some book, conference, or event.
Having a strong, healthy marriage comes from being intentional with your spouse.
Intentional (adjective) - To be done on purpose; Deliberate
Being intentional simply demonstrates that there are some things that you choose to make sure you do. When you do not make the conscious decision to be intentional, other, non-marriage focussed things can become more important and you will begin to see a drifting apart in your relationship.
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways."
It's not about finding more things to add to your plate, or more things to do. It is about taking the time to carefully think through your ways when it comes to how you interact with your spouse.
It is fluid, like waves in the seas. It's not tips and techniques.
Tips and Techniques can, and will, only lead to a performance based relationship.
Like the proverbial House of Cards, eventually it will collapse.
We took some time to think of three simple ways you can be more intentional in your relationship.
1 - Intentionally Talk
Schedules are jam packed. Sports; Band; School; Work; Church; the list goes on and on.
But, intentional talking does not mean going over the logistics of your schedule. Intentional talking is all about getting into each other's world and discussing what is going on in that world. For those of us who have a spouse who is more bottom-line, it may take you ask questions and coax some more details out of your spouse, not through manipulation but through intentionality. Remember: FINE is never an appropriate answer. For those of who are likely to share details more easily, it may take intentional focus to not commandeer the conversation about ourselves. Remember: A conversation is BETWEEN two people.
2 - Intentionally Date
This is usually a 50/50 split between couples. One person is still thinking about "dating your spouse" while the other rarely thinks that way. Usually, the person not thinking about post-marriage dating greatly enjoys, some even need, their spouse spoiling them and for some reason never turns it back for them to be the one spoiling. Both members of the relationship should be intentional about knowing what their partner enjoys, their favorite types of movies, what restaurants they like, etc. It is the responsibility of both parties to be intentional about spending time focussed on their partner's favorite activities. Remember: A "couple" requires full investments from two people.
3 - Intentionally Serve
When we talk about servanthood in marriage, we are talking about a no strings attached service. You aren't serving them because you want to get something from them, you are serving because you want to give something to them. True service has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with the person being served. Serve with obscurity. Serve because it needs to be done, not because you want him/her to notice. Remember: Service is a gift that never gets old.
Just like Jesus came to serve, He was also the most intentional person to ever walk on this earth. Everywhere He went He was intentionally listening to Holy Spirit for direction, opportunity, and focus. We are called Christians, which is often translated to mean "Little Christ", and should be constantly striving to grow into His image. Therefore, we too must be intentional about listening to the voice of Holy Spirit Who will help us become more intentional in our relationships.