Do you feel like your marriage is stuck in a rut, but you have no idea how to get out? Maybe it’s time to try something new. No, I’m not talking about a vacation, date night, or even marriage counseling. If we want to take our marriage to the NEXT LEVEL, then we have to AIM HIGHER…far beyond ourselves.
Do you remember what it was like when you first met your spouse? You couldn’t spend enough time together, right? You couldn’t do enough for one another. Conversations would last for hours. Date nights were frequent and enjoyable. Time seemed to stand still.
And, then…life got busy. Jobs. Kids. Moves. Or, disappointment from NOT having those things.
In the midst of all the crazy around you, it’s easy to lose sight of what brought you two together in the first place. You stop pursuing one another. You forget the promises you made.
Before too long, you both feel hurt by the lack of effort made by the other, and your own PRIDE gets in the way of doing anything about it. Eventually, you both settle for a mediocre marriage. Read “3 Signs that You are Caught in the Zombie Marriage Trap” for more on this.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
In fact, it SHOULDN’T be this way.
God wants so much more than mediocrity for your marriage. He created both of you to live full, passionate, thriving, purposeful lives TOGETHER. And, that can’t happen if you settle for a mediocre marriage.
You need to take your marriage to the next level. Here’s how:
1. Pray together.
For those of you who already do this, you know how powerful it can be. If prayer makes you feel uneasy or you are rolling your eyes as you’re reading this, please read on for just a minute. Prayer is simply talking to God. He truly listens to our prayers. Matthew 21:22 says,
And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.
Pray for each other, your children, your extended families, your concerns, your shortcomings, your fears, and your future. Pray for everything…together. Just give it a try. You will not only grow closer to the Lord, but you will also cultivate a stronger marriage.
2. Attend a marriage retreat or conference together.
My husband, Dave, and I regularly host and speak at marriage conferences and retreats. Even though we may be hosting, we are always amazed at the useful marriage tips we learn at each event. No matter how long you’ve been married, it is important to keep improving your marriage. More than anything, a marriage event is a chance for you and your spouse to get away from it all to solely focus on your marriage.
There are many awesome marriage events out there. Retreats are generally a bit more intimate in nature (with less people), and conferences tend to have large audiences. Some events take place in one night, while others last the entire weekend. It all depends on your schedule and budget. No matter what option you choose, I highly recommend that you try and attend one marriage event a year if possible to keep your marriage in great shape.
3. Serve together.
This one is my favorite. The happiest married couples I have ever met usually have a shared passion for a cause and work together to fight for that cause. There is such power and unity in serving together. The act of serving forces us to get beyond ourselves and our own problems and gives us the privilege of helping others in need. In Acts 20:35, Paul writes,
I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
I have seen this played out over and over again. Serving is truly a blessing, and it is even better when you can serve alongside your husband/wife. There’s nothing better than spending time together AND helping someone in need.
So, what passion do you share? Do you have a heart for orphans? Then, sponsor an orphan child in need. If you can, serve at an orphanage abroad. Better yet, become foster parents or adopt a child. If that isn’t an option for you, you can always help another family raise funds to adopt a child.
Do you have a passion for cancer research? Take part in one of the cancer walks or marathons. If you can’t find one near you, then organize your own event.
Do you both have a heart for helping the poor? Go volunteer at the local soup kitchen together. If time and money allow, go on a mission trip together to Appalachia or even Africa to help the communities in need there.
Whatever passion you share together, make plans to live out this passion by serving in some capacity TOGETHER.
It is my prayer that all of us NEVER stop pursuing our relationship with the Lord as well as our relationship with our husband or wife. God will bless our efforts, and our marriages will thrive. Be blessed!
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