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.