By Randy Carlson
I encourage you to take one of the following steps to grow in your marriage and make it a habit for the next month.
- Listen without interruption. Feeling heard in your marriage creates intimacy.
“So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19 NKJV).
If you want to be intentional about having a stronger marriage, you have to learn to really and truly listen. This is more than the words that you hear. You have to get into your spouse’s head and really understand the heart of what they are trying to communicate with you.
- For Husbands: Ask your wife, what one thing can I do this week that will make you feel most loved by me? And then do it. If you ask that question, you need to be ready to hear that one thing from the heart of your wife that would make a difference in her life.
- For Wives: Ask your husband, what one thing can I do this week that will make you feel most respected by me? And then do it. He may say something you want to push back on, but I encourage you to listen. Whatever is on his heart, listen to it, absorb it, process it internally and then make that a priority in your marriage for the next 30 days.
- Pray for and with your spouse every day. Spiritual intimacy occurs when you pray together. Even if your spouse is not interested in praying with you, you can pray for them. You can bring the power of prayer to your marriage. This one thing alone will make a big difference.
- Speak only words of encouragement to and about your spouse. Decide to control the words that come out of your mouth, and only speak words of encouragement. Words such as, I’m proud of you, I love you, I care for you, and what can I do to help. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29 NIV). And it begins in our marriages.
- Jump in and help your spouse without being asked. Share the responsibility. Intimacy occurs in marriage with the sharing of responsibilities, caring for each other, seeing through the eyes of our spouses and doing those things that build them up.
- If you are raising children together, get on the same page. There is something that happens in a marriage when a man and woman get on the same page in parenting. You can do that by just sitting down and saying, “I know we both have the same goal to raise our son or daughter in a godly way. Now what is standing in the way?” What one thing could you do together in the next 30 days that would help you, as parents, to get on the same page?
- Within the next week, schedule a date night for just the two of you. I encourage you to do what I call planned spontaneity. Go out, go for a walk, go to dinner, go to a movie. Just do something together. This is an important thing to do.
- Within the next seven days, solve a problem together. What is a problem that hasn’t been resolved? Is it a financial issue or coming up with a plan for in-laws or deciding if you’re going to keep or sell your home? Sometimes there is an elephant in the room that just festers and gets bigger and bigger until it gets solved. So solve it together.
- Find and share a mission together. Come into agreement in unity. There is passion when you are on the same page together.
As you pick one of these steps and make it a priority for the next 30 days, you are repeating that action until it becomes a habit. When it becomes a habit, it will multiply in your life and in your marriage.
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