This post will not save your marriage. This post will not tangle or untangle your bedsheets. This post will not cause you to laugh and love and live in peaceful harmony all the days of your life. Only you can make that happen.
How can you improve your marriage? Most importantly, you can raise your expectations. You can’t really expect to connect as a couple until you embrace the full promise and potential of marriage. The connection you have with your spouse is the most valuable and rewarding relationship you have on earth. More than with your parents, your kids, your best friend, or your business partner.
Expectations In Marriage?
To get the most of this post and the most out of life, recognize that your marriage relationship is intimately intertwined with every aspect of your existence. Your spouse was given to you (and vice versa) as a helpmate, partner, advisor, encourager, and sounding board as your life journey unfolds. Time spent with your spouse should become a sanctuary in which you can refocus your goals and reinvigorate your resolve to fight the good fight.
That doesn’t mean married life is some kind of fairy tale existence. On occasion, there will be a short circuit in communications. Some poor choices will be made.
- Maybe he reinvents himself for a season and you don’t like the new version so much.
- Maybe she’s expressed some desires or demands that are not top priorities for you.
- Maybe you feel like you’re in a rut, on the edge of a cliff, or at the bottom of a deep, dry well.
No matter what, don’t buy the lie: marriage is not the problem and it may very well be the solution.
Consider the big picture for a moment. Marriage is the perfect design for life on this planet. It permanently connects two individuals with different gifts, abilities, desires, and body parts.
They fit together quite nicely. Two become one, which means they challenge, support, and comfort each other. Because of the marriage partnership, the lives of two flawed souls are continually upgraded, repaired, and enhanced.
You remember saying these words: “To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish ’till death do us part.”
At the time – and to most people – that meant that you were promising to hang tough in good times and bad. But consider this: Might it be possible the marriage vows are part of a celestial promise that the two of you are now perfectly equipped to handle anything that comes your way.
Think of it this way. From this day forward — if you have and hold each other — you can expect to find meaning and joy even if you happen to be poor or sick.
By loving and cherishing ‘till death, anything that seems to be happening for worse will have time to turn for better. It’s all right there in your vows.
The marriage relationship must have great significance and power. The crowning achievement of God’s creation was a man and woman coming together for the first time in history.
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it’ . . . God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.”
(Gen. 1:27, 31)
On God’s first recorded seven-day work week, he created everything that exists outside of heaven – light, sky, water, land, stars, planets, plants, and animals. The very last thing he did was make man and woman in his image instructing both of them to be fruitful, multiply, and subdue the earth. Only then did God rest.
It appears God has some high expectations for your marriage. Do you?
After your honeymoon, did you set your marriage on cruise control and settle into some unfulfilling routine?
Or are you following God’s plan to work together to “subdue the earth”?
That’s the goal and you need to put your heads together to figure out what that means for you and your beloved. It will require you to look beyond your individual selfish needs. It means you need to see your spouse as a partner created by God. To reach your full potential you need to see the beauty, blessing, and value in your marriage relationship.
Marriage is not just a social construct that happens to be a convenient arrangement for paying a mortgage, sharing household chores, having an available sex partner, or raising kids. Your marriage can, should, and will be awesome. Expect it.
QUESTION: What part of the earth do you want to subdue together?
“Marriage is an adventure, like going to war.” —G.K. Chesterton
Portions of this post originally appeared in Jay Payleitner’s book 52 Ways to Connect as a Couple.