Investing and Being Intentional In Your Marriage

Love Like You Mean It Cruise 2012

The more you invest in your marriage, the more you will get back as all successful relationships require some work. Jon and I are intentional by attending a marriage conference, class, retreat, event about every 2-3 years.

This Valentine’s Day, which also happens to be Jon’s birthday, we spent 4 days on Family Life’s “Love Like You Mean It” Marriage Cruise where we were encouraged by the following speakers and artists. I can honestly say that we were blessed by the speakers.

  • Gary Thomas
  • Voddie Baucham
  • Tim and Joy Downs
  • Michael O’Brien
  • Sanctus Real
  • Matthew West
  • Annie Moses Band
  • Darlene McCoy
  • And others

It’s been interesting to hear the comments people make when I shared about going on a marriage cruise and the importance of investing in your marriage. Usually I hear, “Wow! I never thought about investing in our marriage but can see the benefit .” After all, we have to do regular maintenance on cars to keep them running efficiently :)

Once, we let five years slip by without being intentional or investing in our marriage and before we knew it we had drifted apart. We got along very well but we operated more like business partners than marriage partners. Around 2005, we began going to counseling because our older daughters approached their dad to say they felt our marriage was no longer a priority and for the previous 5 years they were right!  We had stopped dating, having fun, or being intentional since having our third child in 2001. Add to that Jon starting a company and other life difficulties and you can see how easy it was to allow our marriage to take a back seat in our lives. The counseling sessions really helped us turn our focus back on each other and get our marriage back on track.

Marriage should be a reflection of Christ’s love & relationship with the church as we are called to be His image bearer. I am thankful today our marriage is more like this. What do you do to invest in your marriage? It’s been said you can tell a lot about what’s really important to someone by the amount of time and money they invest into it. How much time and money do you invest into your marriage?

Our pastor once said, “You shouldn’t date to get married, you should get married to date!”

So date each other!

Some ways we have invested include:

  • Attending a marriage conference/seminar. WHY? It’s better to be proactive than reactive.
  • Read books on marriage together in areas you may be struggling (finances, parenting, communication, etc..)
  • Read a couples devotion together to begin or end your day.
  • Pray together.
  • Look for ways to serve one another (Christ came to serve).
  • Participate in a group study related to marriage.
  • Mentor others. Jon and I do pre-martial counseling to prepare couples for their marriages. Oh my, I wish we would have begun our marriage with the knowledge these couple have!
  • Seek out an older/wiser couple to mentor you. While on the cruise we found older couples to sit with and asked them for any wisdom ☺

In closing, preventative maintenance is less costly than legal fees. Don’t let pride or your ego get in the way of asking for help. Godly counsel with accountability is invaluable.

An Influential Mother ADMITS When She is Wrong

An Influential Mother: Bible References

Resources

Action Items

Admits when she is wrong and humbly seeks forgiveness and restoration. Ps 32:5; Eph. 4:32;  Rm 3:23; 1 Jn 1:8; Mt 5:9 The Young Peacemakers Series by Ken Sande Go to your children and ask them if there is anything you need to apologize for.What mistakes would you like to change as a parent?

 









If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8

Several years ago I shared with some moms the ABC’s of being an influential mother.  Great information but an overload of content. How about if I share one principle and expand upon it weekly?  This will give you time to apply the principle.

Currently I am taking Cayley, my daughter (10), through the Young Peacemakers Series. This is a resource that I highly recommend for every family as it teaches children (and moms) how to respond to conflict God’s way.  We are going through about one booklet a week. I appreciate how when we struggle I can ask her, “Cayley, what is causing the quarrels between us? Is it that you want your way and you don’t get it?”

We have learned what conflict is and how to respond to it. It’s easy to learn but, oh my, putting it into practice can be hard but is worth the effort from my experience.  I went through this same material with Caryn (23) and Courtney (21) when they were also ten. I even took some 5th/6th grade Sunday School girls though it and saw wonderful results.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  

The first step to resolving conflict in a way that pleases God is to ADMIT (confess) what you did was wrong, then take responsibility for your sinful choices.  This seems like an easy thing to do but honestly this was an area where I struggled for years as I felt being wrong was a weakness. However, the harder I tried to be perfect the more mistakes I made and this created frustration.  It didn’t help that I grew up in a home where I can probably count on my hands the number of times I heard an apology given.  My family dynamic was that parents are always right and must be in control.

I learned that its best to be real with my daughters, as the bible says we ALL sin and fall short of God’s glory. Romans 3:23  Some of the mistakes I have made with my girls were: being too harsh, being busy, getting angry, responding out of stress, being negative, being fearful, etc… Yes I have blown it on many occasions but I am so grateful that my sins DO NOT define me.

Big or small, everyone blows it now and then. One of the best admissions you’ll ever make to your child is, “I was wrong; I’m sorry; will you forgive me?” Trust me you will have an attentive audience.  Our children do not desire perfect mothers, only real ones.   Be transparent with your kids.  Let them know you are NOT perfect and share your short comings.  When our children see that we are truly humble, it is a lot easier for their hearts to be receptive and shaped by convictions that we share with them.  Righting a wrong involves more than just saying “sorry” (use the 5A’s found in Young Peacemakers Series) You must admit what you did wrong, apologize for how your choices affected others, accept the consequences, ask for forgiveness, and alter your choices in the future.  Lastly, make restitution, if necessary.   Remember, children learn more from watching and we are setting an example.  Lastly, when apologizing to small children, it helps to get down to their level and look them in the eye.