“Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church – a love marked by giving, not getting.” (Ephesians 5:25 MSG)
- Set direction for the family. Your wife needs you to lead the family in establishing Godly goals for the future. Within this week, take your wife away from the daily routines and focus together on setting three-to-five specific goals for the next 18 months. Some goals you might want to explore: Getting out debt, developing new or healthier friendships, starting a business, taking on an assignment at church, helping your son or daughter get ready for college, etc.
- Your habits will make or break you. Some studies show 40 percent of daily behavior being habitual – without thought. If that’s true, and I suspect it is, then taking control of your habits could change your life. Whenever we make one decision, it “adds” to our life, but whenever we create a new “habit,” it multiples in our lives through its repetitive nature. The impact between saying to your wife, “I love you,” only on special occasions, versus creating a habit that leads you to tell her you love her at least three time each day, is huge. If you don’t believe me – try it and let me know how it worked out.
- Remember marriage, like the seasons of the year, will have ups and downs. I’m convinced many marriages could be saved if only the couple could distinguish between the winter of marriage and the summer of marriage. What season is your marriage in right now? Spend some quiet time, thinking about the seasons of marriage. Consider the impact it’s had in the past and having right now in your marriage.
- Build margin into your marriage. Reading a book becomes more difficult as the margins shrink. The most effective sales pieces are those with pages of mostly “white space,” with fewer words, less busyness and one focal point picture, statement or image. So it is in marriage – successful marriages build adequate “white space” into their schedule and focus on the most important things. Take two hours sometime this week with your wife to de-clutter your life. What are the five important things in your marriage needing more attention, and what five things of lesser important need to go to give you more margin?
- Come to an agreement. The scripture asks, “How can two walk together unless they are in agreement?” (Amos 3:3). That’s a great question. Lack of agreement on the “big things” will weigh down your life together with tension, discouragement and finger pointing. A great marriage is impossible without agreement on the basics – even agreeing to disagree can help some. Take an evening together and get the big issues on the table for discussion. Come to some conclusions, even if reasonable compromise is necessary.
- Fix problems quickly. One researcher points out that long-term happy marriages have learned to fix problems early. Allowing problems to fester over days, weeks or sometimes years will destroy your marriage. Ask you wife to give you a list of five problems she’d like to get resolved. Without reaction to the list, schedule a time to do what great leaders always do – they focus on the problems and not the personalities. Solution focused leadership builds intimacy in marriage.
- Have some fun. Life is serious enough as it is. A great antidote for a routine marriage is to schedule a date night once a week. Just do something that brings pleasure to both of you. It may be going to dinner, or it may be going for a walk. What it is isn’t as important as the anticipation of doing something fun together.
- Grow up. There ought to be a law against immature people getting married. If such a law passed, marriages would cease all together pretty quickly. The goal of growing up isn’t to be perfect, it’s to grow beyond whatever you learned watching others that isn’t working now. If you had a strong Godly model for being a husband – great. If not, find a Godly man you respect for how he treats his wife and ask him mentor you. It’s an act of humility, but one well worth the outcome.
- Maintain reasonable expectations of your wife and marriage. Your wife can’t meet all of your needs, and wasn’t put on earth to do so. Remember, she’s referred to in scripture as a “helper,” not a “subject.” Reasonable expectations like commitment, honesty, sharing, love and respect and intimacy are healthy, but unreasonable expectations prove the formula. Expectations – Reality = Disappointment. If you’re disappointed in your wife, take a second look at your expectations.
- Love her. Enough said.
© 2013 by Randy Carlson