It is so easy to get caught up in the stress of daily living that you forget that you are married, or that you have this wonderful gift from God that you can share your life with. If you’re like me, you tend to zone out and just focus on those areas that need focusing on – like getting lunch made, the house clean and the kids to school on time. Your spouse, after all, is an adult and can take care of themselves.
But, what kind of marriage relationship will that lead to?
Sometimes, we need to remind ourselves to be focused and to be intentional about what we do (and often how we do it).
We have a choice: We can intentionally do nothing, stick to the same old routine and not help our marriage or our spouse grow one bit. Or we can be intentionally intentional in growing our marriage every day that the Lord gives us together. The saying goes that those who fail to plan can plan to fail. This is so true in our marriage relationship. Our responsibility is planting and watering our own marriage vineyard, but it is God, alone who causes the growth. Let’s be sure we’re providing the richest soil possible. Reference here.
In today’s post at 31 Days to a Better Marriage, Debi Walter gives some great ideas on how to focus your mind, thoughts, heart and soul on being intentional about loving your spouse and giving them what they need:
Here are the nutrients needed to enrich the soil where your marriage vineyard grows:
Be intentional in growing in your love for the Lord. Following Him is the first and most important step in keeping our priorities right in marriage. He is our closest friend and our best advocate for a successful marriage.
Don’t underestimate just how important marriage is to God. If you want the blue print for marriage, look to God’s word – He did, after all create marriage.
Intentionally carry your spouse in your heart everyday. Whether they’re at home doing chores around the house, or at the office working hard to provide means for the family. Let your love for them be what motivates all you do each and every day.
As I said earlier, it is so easy to walk through life, living a parallel life to that of your spouse. Focus on keeping your spouse in your heart and mind each moment of the day – remember why you married them, and let them know how much you love them.
Be intentional in knowing your spouse well enough to know the things that are weighing heavily on their heart.
Live in your spouse’s world – know what is burdening their hearts. In our case, it’s definitely our financial stress and the pressure hubby feels to make ends meet and meet all our financial challenges. But, I also know that he is excited about some new cycle races coming up and that a friend of ours has signed up to do a race with him that this friend has never done before. Both the good and the bad – know what is going on in their hearts. And if you don’t know – ask!
Intentionally pursue their input and help in your own life. It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of life–doing the things you know you need to do–without considering there may be a better way to do it. Talk to your spouse. Ask them if they have any observations about your routine that they think would help you grow and change? You might be surprised when they actually say they do. And be ready to listen and try their suggestion. No one has a better view of our blind spots than our spouse. And if we’re open and humble about their input we may grow in ways we didn’t know we needed to grow.
Be intentional in romancing your spouse. I’m not only talking about sex here, although sex is a very good thing to be intentional about. Romance is the pursuit of pleasing your spouse in lots of meaningful ways. Be sure you know your spouse’s likes and dislikes in this area. It benefits no one to romance them in a way that they won’t notice or appreciate.
I love getting flowers. I never used to, but this is the easiest way to romance me. Now. I thought flowers a waste of money and time, but now I look at them and appreciate their beauty and how they liven up a home.
Finally, be intentional in pleasing your spouse’s sexual desires. God intended for you to be the only one who would know your spouse in this way. We realize many marriages come with baggage, like finding unwanted weeds in your vineyard. Certainly, we must be intentional in being honest, confessing failures and sins, and pursuing forgiveness at all costs.
As J at Hot, Holy and Humurous says,
Sex is often called the “icing on the cake of marriage.” That description sounds nice, but it implies that sex is unnecessary to marriage—lovely, but optional. Cake can certainly be eaten without icing, so one might assume that marriage can be lived without sexual intimacy. Nothing could be further from God’s truth. From the very beginning, God designed marriage to include close physical intimacy that expresses covenant love, has the capacity to produce children, and nurtures that special connection between husband and wife. It’s not the icing, but rather a key ingredient in a successful, God-honoring marriage. Reference here.
I think of my hubby all the time. Seriously – when at work, at home, even watching TV with him, I am thinking of him. And I know that our marriage has a long way to go, but I also know that we are both willing to do what needs to be done to get there. And when we get there, we will still be doing new things that now need to be done to make sure we stay there… marriage is always about working on your marriage.
An intentional marriage requires a willingness by both the husband and wife to get dirty in cultivating their relationship for God’s glory and for the good of the family and society at large. It’s good to remember the big picture of why our marriage matters to God especially when we’re spending so many days plowing up the dirt and don’t see a lot of growth. God has promised He will provide the growth. You can be certain He was intentional towards you when He gave the following promise:
For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. (Isaiah 30:19-21 ESV) Reference here.
Be intentional about showing your spouse these things – even if initially they don’t reciprocate or even “get” what is going on. Remember, this is about you – and you creating the climate for growth and love in your marriage. A seed planted in fertile soil can only but grow – and your spouse will eventually come around.