Here we are at the end of another calendar year. For some of you, this year has been a high. Your marriage and family are in order, finances are good, loved ones are healthy. For others, maybe you have faced some significant challenges this year. Most likely, you fall somewhere in between.
There is something about a new year and a fresh new start that triggers new hopes and dreams in all areas of our lives. For the purpose of this post, let’s focus on marriage. In this coming year, let’s resolve to refocus, rekindle, and maybe even revive our marriages.
Great marriages don’t happen by accident. Regardless of how healthy your marriage is today, the new year is the perfect time to refocus. Here are practical ways you can do that.
1. Read scripture and pray together.
If you’re a Christian, the pursuit of spiritual intimacy should be a priority in your marriage. Sharing scripture and prayer his is the most impactful and lasting way to breathe new life into your relationship. The Bible is the ultimate source of faith, hope, love, truth, and wisdom. It will be your strongest support system for a lasting and thriving marriage.
Setting aside time, preferably daily, to pray together may just be the missing piece you need to create more intimacy with your spouse. It is a consistent reminder that your marriage is the greatest representation of the love of Christ on this earth. Praying together aligns and softens your hearts towards one another and can unlock conversation that you may not otherwise have.
2. Schedule date days/nights and getaways.
It is impossible for your marriage to grow if you don’t set aside consistent, dedicated time alone with your spouse. That amount of time you have will ebb and flow as you go through life, but this will be a lifeline for your marriage. If at all possible, these should be phone-free zones and a time to connect–whether through serious conversation or just lighthearted fun. It doesn’t have to break the bank; it just needs to be time alone. God first, marriage second, kids third, and everything else comes after that. A solid marriage foundation creates a strong life foundation. Schedule time together in the new year. Put dates on the calendar and keep them. Marriage is getting to do life with your best friend, and that is something to be celebrated!
3. Find a common interest or activity.
Sharing a common interest is a great way to bond and make space for fun in your marriage. You may already have something you enjoy doing together, but if you don’t, find something. Try different things until you both find something you enjoy. Fold this into your date nights, or make it a separate, set-apart activity. You can hold it precious as an exclusive time for the two of you, or maybe involve your children.
It can be so easy to get sucked into humdrum routine and just “get by” in this life. We check off the “have to’s” and forget to make time for the “get to’s”. Finding a common interest or activity disrupts the mundane. It sets aside time to enjoy the one life we have been given. Focus on having some fun with your spouse in the new year!
4. Commit to health goals together.
One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and your family is your health. I’m not talking about storming the gym and cutting out carbs for a month only to return to your normal habits come February first. I’m talking to committing to a lifestyle that is healthy. Eat less, move more, repeat. Commit to doing this together with your spouse and as a family. There is power and beauty in doing things as a team, and remember, if you have children, you are setting a tone for their lives as a fantastic byproduct. Set goals, and not just weight loss goals. Aim to FEEL great. Look to consume food, not have food consume you. Get out and move. That alone will lower your stress and even decrease the size of your waist. Commit to health goals together. Work as a team. You won’t regret it!
5. Have more sex.
The one privilege that separates marriage from other relationships is intimacy through sex. It is vital to the health of a marriage, yet a topic that is too often avoided. Sex between one man and one woman, in the context of marriage, is a gift. It should be enjoyed, celebrated, and let’s be honest, it should be happening a lot! But why does it often fall by the wayside? Life gets busy, you’re tired, and perhaps prior baggage has put up boundaries. Lack of sexual intimacy is often a result of you drifting apart in other areas of life.
If your sex life is leaving something to be desired, make revitalization a focus of your new year. More sex inevitably builds intimacy and strengthens your relationship. Schedule time for it if you have to. Remember that sex is a gift and a major lifeline for your marriage.
Which of these areas have you been lacking in? Where can you put your focus to grow your marriage? Now is the perfect time to start. It’s time to redeem marriage in our society. It’s time to take some practical steps to build the most important human relationship in your life. Don’t let another year go by without taking intentional steps to build your marriage. 2016 is your year!