It doesn’t matter who you are, how long you’ve been married, how much you love, or how much you are loved, any marriage can become tired, worn, listless, and in need of repair.
Much like your house, garden, or aging pickup truck, even the best relationships can suffer from cumulative neglect. “I’ll trim the bushes next year.” “I’ll change the oil next month.” “I’ll start working on our relationship just as soon as the children are grown…”
If we really do value one another as much as we say we do, then the marriage is worth every ounce of extra effort. We see the same things day after day, rust, rot, and decay until eventually the flaws and the shortcomings begin to look normal. Every marriage could use routine revitalization initiatives, tune-ups if you will. Because if we really do value one another as much as we say we do, then the marriage is worth every ounce of extra effort – and creativity – we can muster.
Here are five ways to revitalize your marriage:
1. Inventory how you spend your time during an average week and evaluate how it helps/hurts the relationship (both do it):
For me, this one stung! It turns out I invested more time on my computer than in “quality time” with my wife. We had lunch more with other people than each other. We hadn’t done anything creatively romantic in a long time. On the plus side, we were eating dinner as a family four or fives times a week.
2. Read a good relationship book together, going over all the questions:
My friend Fred and his wife read Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs together. Then there’s Mark and Susan Merrill’s recent Lists to Love By books. Check the AllProDad resource page for more ideas.
3. Be the world’s best listener:
Listen to your wife, ask good questions, and become an active listener. Invest your interest in what your wife cares about and in who she is. This one has been golden for my marriage because being a good listener helps your spouse become a good listener.
4. Make the commitment to date each other weekly, then follow through:
Rebekah and I talk about this one with just about every couple we meet. It’s usually part of the “put your marriage ahead of the children” conversation. Remember, dating doesn’t have to cost a lot of money; be creative. This is also a great opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to listening. I’ve been married almost 38 years, but when we miss out on a date more than one week a month, the relationship feels it.
5. Polish the windows – lenses – through which you look at one another:
A few weeks ago, I took my iPhone into the Apple store with a complaint. “The photos are fuzzy, out of focus, and dull,” I said. “I think the camera is shot.” The guy looked at my phone and barely suppressed a smile. “Carry this in your pocket much?” he said. The lens was fine, just filled with lint like a bellybutton. We need to learn to look at one another through a lens that’s cleared of irritation, busyness, unforgiveness, fatigue, kids’ issues, work pressure, etc. Here are some more inspirational words to inspire to strengthen your marriage today.
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your wife and ask, “What do you miss about when we were newlyweds?”