I know a couple who always ask two great questions of their friends this time of year: What were the highlights of your past year? And what are your goals for the coming year?
The end of a year is an ideal time to reflect on the past…and a great time to look forward. That’s why our culture has a tradition of making New Year’s resolutions.
I want to lose weight.
I want to exercise more.
I want to save more money or pay down debt.
I want to learn a new hobby.
I want to spend more time with my family.
I want to improve our marriage.
All of these are great goals, and when people set these resolutions they almost always do so with good intentions.
But the truth is that most New Year’s resolutions are broken within just a few weeks of making them. (For instance, gyms are notoriously busy during January. By February, attendance is back to normal.)
The statistics don’t lie: we aren’t very good at meeting our goals. But don’t let the statistics keep you from setting positive goals for yourself. You didn’t let discouraging statistics about divorce rates keep you from getting married, did you?
So my challenge to you is to go ahead and set bold resolutions for the year ahead. But don’t just aim for personal improvement. Set resolutions for your marriage as well.
Sit down with your spouse at the end of the year or the beginning of next year and ask each other: How would we like to see our marriage improve? How can we grow closer to each other? How can we draw closer to God as a couple?
Then make a list of actions you will take to make those things happen. Here are a few ideas. Perhaps in the year ahead you could…
- Pray together on a daily basis.
- Read a passage of Scripture together every night before bed.
- Read part of a marriage improvement book together each night.
- Spend 15-20 minutes talking each day.
- Kiss each other at least three times every day.
- Hug each other for 30 seconds every morning and every night.
- Schedule a date night together at least once a month.
- Put away your smart phones every night after work.
- Get involved in a marriage small group.
- Attend a marriage seminar or retreat at least once this year.
- Serve together at your church or a local ministry once a month.
There are plenty of great ways to deepen your marriage in the coming year. Decide on one or two of these, commit as a couple, and pursue that goal together in the coming year. If you do, next year may be the year your marriage went from good to great!