Marriage is one of the most rewarding as well as challenging relationships that we can be called to. How many remember the way you felt when you first met your spouse? The way that he or she gazed at you was sure to make you feel loved and adored. Some of you may still be feeling all the feels because you are newly married. Maybe you didn’t start your marriage on the best of terms but you are determined to make it work? How do you do this when society tells us “its okay to abort mission and choose happiness over covenant.”
What about when the work starts? Yes, that’s right marriage is a four-letter word called work! How do we navigate those seasons when transition occurs in our marriages? Whether it’s the birth of children, changes in employment, times of financial hardship, etc. We all need a plan in place to continue to water the seeds of our marriages.
What are some things that we guard fiercely? Typically we guard our finances, we guard our time, and we will even guard our feelings. How many of us are putting that same energy into guarding our marriages fiercely?
It is so important that we take the time to pour into our spouses, to hear their heart and concerns personally as well as in our partnerships. When we date we typically look forward to building this aspect of the relationship. We wouldn’t dream of not having intimate conversations with our significant other. So what happens after we have exchanged vows, partied the night away with friends, and settled into married life?
Ever hear someone utter the words “I don’t need you,” to their spouse? Or better yet in conversation with a friend? I always cringe a bit when I hear this. Biblically speaking, God created us for relationship and intimacy. There are so many verses in the bible that God uses to show how much he values intimate relationships. The first time we see it addressed is in Genesis. When he creates Adam, he realizes there is no suitable mate for him with that knowledge he creates a “help mate” for Adam (Genesis 2:18-24.) We need each other. This is an extremely important safe guard you can put into place for your marriage. Deciding that you need each other and vowing that you will not use “I don’t need you,” as a part of your marriage vocabulary. Life in death is in the power of the tongue, so choose to speak life into your marriage.
Do you trust that your spouse has your best interest at heart? What are some ways we can cultivate trust into marriage? When God put you and your spouse together he knew that there would be a level of vulnerability that only the two of you would share. Husband’s are the protectors and provide covering over their households. Wives are the heartbeat of the home and provide an intuitive spirit. We both have a role in keeping danger out of our home. How serious are you currently taking this responsibility in your marriage? You should know your spouse intimately. This is not just physical. Spending time together and hearing what’s going on with one another helps build a deeper level of trust and communication. One thing that helps my husband and I foster trust in our marriage is reminding each other that we are on the same team. When you fight against your spouse you are essentially fighting against yourself. Ways to build trust involve, creating a space that is judgment free (we already have enough critics in the world and don’t need our spouse to be one of them,) listening to your spouses heart, trusting that when they are sharing it may be an area that they need you praying for them in. Remember that scripture everyone was charged to remember growing up…do unto others as you would have them do unto you (Luke 6:31). Do you think about how your words and actions will make your spouse feel? We should always seek to leave our spouse better when they leave our presence.
How often are you communicating with your spouse? This is huge. I don’t mean an occasional surface chat. This is connected to trust. Those on the outside of your marriage should not know more about you than your spouse. Before you ever run an “idea” by your family of origin, inlaws, best friend, co worker (you get the point!) You better have talked to your spouse about it first. They should never get news about you at the same time or after others. In marriage sometimes you know you need to have a conversation that may be difficult or uncomfortable. In this case you exercise wisdom and make sure that you get your timing right! My husband and I recently played a conversation starter game! It was so much fun. Don’t allow your marriage to get stuck in a rut. Find new ways to keep things fun and exciting. Don’t forsake communication, as this is so important in keeping your marriage safe.
Your spouse should help identify your weaknesses and help them into strengths. Have you ever felt a little awkward when your spouse has pointed out your weaknesses? I know I have. It takes some maturity to hear a person point out areas where you may not be strong. One of the things that I’ve learned over the course of my 10-year marriage is God fit me perfectly with a husband who is strong in the areas that I am weak. This is not a bad thing; we have found ways to “lovingly” point out each other’s weaknesses. Do you know why God may show you the weaknesses of someone close to you? It’s never so that we can harp on their inabilities, but instead to build them up and speak life into areas where they may have some growing and maturing to do. I’m remind of (Ecclesiastes 4:12) though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. When the Holy Spirit points out to you a flaw in your spouse, partner with the Holy Spirit on praying for and helping you help your spouse gain strength in this area.
I’ve saved the best for last! Have sex often. This type of intimacy is what sets the marriage relationship apart from any other relationship. God’s gift to marriage is sexual intimacy. We should be working to serve and please our spouse in this area of our marriage. For a couple whose marriage is pretty whole and healthy there should be sparks flying in the bedroom. Get creative, don’t use tired as an excuse. Keep your bedroom space a space that feels welcoming and sexy! Focus on each other and keep outside chatter to a minimum. Locker chat about whose getting what does not help with what’s happening in your own marriage. Ever heard that saying “the grass is greener where it’s watered!” Focus on keeping your marriage healthy in thriving in the area of sexual intimacy. Guard your ears, eyes, and heart where the marital bed is concerned. You get to make a choice every day to love your spouse.
Marriage is work but it can be so rewarding and fulfilling. It is such an honor to partner with another person and only have shared experiences with that one person. Build your marriage on a solid foundation with God first. Pray and ask him to give you wisdom in safe guarding your marriage. Take the vows you said seriously. Fight for what is yours! Surround yourself with like-minded friendships. Sometimes it can be scary to let go of friendships, but know that if your values are not the same and the relationships are pulling you away from your spouse and your home responsibilities it may be time to examine and let go.
God gift of marriage was created to make you a better person. You should be growing and evolving and looking for ways to help one another. If you are not quite there yet, that’s okay. Continue to work towards wholeness and health in your marriage.
Looking to take your marriage to the next level? I would love to partner with you and your spouse and come up with a customized plan to help you set healthy expectations as well as communication. Click here to schedule a 30-minute discovery session.
What are some ways you safeguard your marriage? Share in the comments below!