***While in the midst of our latest babymoon, we need the reminder as much or more than any couple that our marriage is important! It’s vital to make it a priority even when in a season of sleepless nights and needy children. Read on to learn how to have a wildly successful marriage. Thank you, Christine!***
Marriages either get better or worse, they never stay the same. I’ve heard Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages, say this countless times so it has stuck with me. The statement is true, but what can we do about it? How can we ensure that our marriages are constantly improving?
One way is to have a marriage plan. If that sounds just plain ol’ crazy to you, think about it this way. Having a financial plan helps you succeed financially. Creating a lesson plan guides you (or your child’s teacher) to successfully educate your child. And if you read my blog, iDreamofClean, you know that having a cleaning plan assists you in being a fantastic home manager.
The same is true for marriage! If you want to reach the full potential in your marriage, a plan will ensure that you get there.
So, how does one go about creating a marriage plan?
First, block off a good amount of time for you and your spouse to be together without any distractions. If at all possible, get away for a long weekend without the kids. While you’re at it, try disconnecting from technology. I know, I know…ignoring your blog, facebook, & twitter may be the hardest part! But, trust me, nothing gets in the way of some good focused planning like a couple of laptops or the constant glance at your smartphone!
Next, spend some time praying about and discussing the following categories of your life:
Talk about how you met and what first attracted you to each other. Brag on your spouse and tell them the attribute they possess that you admire the most.
Create a Marriage/Family Vision Statement
Pick a passage of scripture or statement that describes how you want your family to operate. This will be the lens through which all household activities can be filtered. It will be a measuring stick to determine how your family interacts and how you spend your time.
Plan regular date nights
Nothing can extinguish a flame like not interacting and flirting with each other. Some couples spend time together instinctively. Others, however, need to schedule time to get away from everyday life so they can reconnect as a couple and focus on each other.
Choose a Marriage Book to Read Together
Read it during your planning session or read one chapter each week for the next few months. After each chapter, discuss together the principles you learned.
Find a Ministry Opportunity
Finding a way to focus on others is a sure fire way to put your own “problems” in perspective. Find a way you can add value to someone in need. Discuss how you are (or are not) currently “others focused”. Are you both serving in separate areas? Would you prefer to minister to others as a couple? Evaluate your ministry opportunities and devise a plan to change, if needed.
Evaluate Your Health and Wellness
Do you need to find time to exercise? Can you work out together? Are you on the same page about food and nutrition?
Create or Evaluate Your Budget
Arguments about money are one of the greatest causes of strife in a marriage. If you’ve never created a budget, start one that you both agree on. If you already have a budget, take time to look at your entire financial picture on a grand scale (evaluate from an annual and lifetime perspective rather than a monthly budget) .
What do you want to teach your kids during the next year? Are you on the same page about discipline and rewards?
How can you improve as a spouse? Is there something you can do to help him/her succeed? Ask and be willing to listen. You may find that you’re spending the most time on things that aren’t important to your spouse. Find out what your spouse thinks are the top five priorities to accomplish. You just may be surprised at the answers!
Pencil in Your Calendar
What does your life look like during the next year? Five years? Ten years? Are there seasons where you can help others more? Or do you need to cut back? Are you traveling? Do you make time to get in the Word? Do you have time to study if you are in school? What about time with immediate and extended family? Alone time? Church? Community involvement? Social Engagements? Date night? Time to exercise? Time to Read? What do you need to eliminate and what important things do you need to add?
Dream big! What do you want to do? Where do you want to go? What needs to happen to accomplish those dreams?
Plan Your Next Marriage Retreat!
Yes, get it on the calendar A.S.A.P!
This list can go on an on but it should be customized to your marriage and family. The few days you spend alone with your spouse focusing on each other and planning/dreaming about the future could be the best few days of the year!
How have you or how could you implement planning into your marriage? What items would you add to this list?
Christine and her husband love everything about marriage. They have an annual planning time to work on their own marriage and also meet with couples on a regular basis to help them customize a marriage plan of their own. When Christine isn’t thinking about marriage, you can find her blogging at iDreamofClean where she shares cleaning tips and tricks (like Clean Your Kitchen in 5 Minutes or Less and 10 Habits of a Clean Home) to help busy moms spend less time cleaning and more time with the family she loves.