Below is a guest post from my friend and fellow marriage champion Glen Solberg. Glen lives in Little Rock, AR and serves on the staff of FamilyLife.
In every occupation I have been in, there has always been some element of “continuing education”. When I was working with computers, I took classes to keep up with technology. When I was a Physical Therapist, we were required to take continuing education classes to maintain our PT License.
When it comes to our cars and houses, the same is true. We must do “routine maintenance” on our cars to keep them running properly. And we must put money into our homes to keep them up and keep major repairs from happening.
So here’s a question for us married folk: “Why do so many couples think that once they are married they can just COAST in their relationship?”
Many couples we talk to seem to have the “Well if it ain’t broke, then we don’t have to fix it” attitude—naively thinking that not being INTENTIONAL is OK in marriage. But this attitude in marriage only leads to one thing—ISOLATION. And from isolation, often extramarital affairs begin with devastating results. We see the isolation TOO FREQUENTLY and the resulting devastation.
The “default” for marriage is doing nothing—COASTING. The best analogy I have heard is that being married is like paddling a canoe on a river. But not just any river—one with a waterfall nearby and a strong current pushing us toward the falls. We must be paddling upstream (being INTENTIONAL) all the time or the current will move us toward ISOLATION—where the “Falls of Marriage” are waiting to take us out.
QUESTION: Where are you as a married couple? Ask your spouse after you do your own self-assessment.
CHALLENGE: Set a night this week or next to meet with your spouse for a date. During your time together, tell your spouse of your desire to be INTENTIONAL in your marriage. Brainstorm one or two ways you can do this in the next month. Then follow-thru! Your marriage is worth it!
IDEAS TO SHARE: Have a regular date night every week or every other week where you spend time building your relationship. Join a small group at your church that focuses on marriage and do your homework each week. Read a book on marriage together and discuss each chapter, putting action steps into place as you go. Find a marriage retreat (such as the Weekend to Remember or The Art of Marriage) and make plans to go—then take steps afterward to do things differently than before.