I don’t think I really appreciated what I was doing when I signed that marriage license years ago. Young and in love, everything was just fine in the world.
As the years have gone by, we have learned so much about each other and what real marriage is supposed to be about. As parents now, we have a greater responsibility than before. While raising our children is a priority, I must never forget that one of the greatest things I will ever do for my children is love their mommy.
I want the love they see between their parents to be so sacrificial and vibrant that they could never imagine settling for anything less. So how should we keep our marriage healthy? While this isn’t an exhaustive list, here are 6 marriage essentials for you to think about:
1. Mutual Motivation. For a couple to succeed, they must possess mutual motivation. They must be agreed upon what the desired result of marriage looks like. If you look to the pages of Scripture, a worthy goal is not to get along peacefully, raise children to be respected members of society, or to purchase that pristine home. The goal must be the glory of God. When a couple desires God to be pleased with all aspects of their home, that mutual motivation settles most issues that arise.
2. Deep Dialogue. Often, marriages reduce conversation to simple fact inquiries. “How was your day?” “Did you pay the bills?” “Did you put the clothes in the dryer?” For a marriage to thrive, you must have deep dialogue. This type of communication involves both listening and speaking. As children enter the scene, parents need to establish rules that children cannot interrupt Daddy and Mommy’s time to talk. You two were together before they were around, and if you want to still be together once the children are not around, you must practice open, honest, deep dialogue.
3. Gracious Giving. If either person wakes up wondering what the spouse can do for him or her, the day is off to a dangerous start. For a marriage to thrive, both parties must be committed to gracious giving. This takes place when a person decides to give of himself or herself without any thought on return. It’s unconditional love and unconditional service. You choose to serve your spouse with a gracious attitude regardless of how he or she responds.
4. Controlled Calendar. Romance, nurture, and communication takes time. Don’t prioritize your schedule, schedule your priorities. If you don’t schedule your priorities, someone or something will schedule them for you, and when that happens, your spouse normally gets the leftovers. Having a controlled calendar might mean lesser hours spent at a hobby, fewer activities for your children, or actually having to say “no” to good causes for your family.
5. Fair Fighting. All couples fight, few couples fight well. Scripture tells us to be angry, but we are not to sin in that anger (Eph. 4:26). Unfortunately, our spouses often see our worse side, but we can change that. Establish the rules for peacemaking when conflicts arise. Everyone of us have areas that we think are out of bounds in conflicts. It might be out of bounds for you for your spouse to walk away during a conflict, raise the voice, bring up past transgressions, involve other parties, or it could me so many other things. Communicate with your spouse about when you fight, you ought to fight well.
6. Prioritized Passion. Sex is the most unique activity within the marriage relationship. You will talk, share, and enjoy life with many people. You should only be having sex with one person. As life gets more hectic, it is easy to stop viewing this part of the marriage as important. Prioritized passion means that you ensure that that part of your relationship is vibrant and fresh. Scripture tells us to take care of our mate’s sexual needs in order to avoid temptation (1 Cor. 7:3-5).
While this is a small list, it is a start to think about. Don’t pray that your spouse sees this. You have seen the list. So how do you rate yourself on these 6?
> Travis Agnew