In Connecting with Your Partner, Featured, Thoughts from Bob, Time to Make Your Marriage Dance

Will this be the year your marriage improves to the next level? It won’t happen accidentally. You will need to make a decision, and you will need to take action. Start by asking God what your marriage needs. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Build spiritual disciplines together.

Do you pray and read the Bible as a couple? It’s amazing how that will unify you! If you’ve never read the Bible—or even the New Testament, start reading it together. There are many plans and apps that will guide you through. You may want to pick a passage to memorize and practice reciting it to each other. And then, pray. Pray for yourselves, each other, and your family. Pray for friends and the members of your life group. Pray for community and national concerns. Or, you can each choose a character quality you want to work on and help each other work on it. We once did this as a family. At the beginning of the week, we voted on what each person needed to work on. (No mean comments or sassy faces allowed.) Prayers and kind reminders throughout the week kept everyone on track. At the end of the week, we voted whether each person had “passed” or whether they should work on the character quality for another week. It may sound weird, but it was a good and helpful practice. What character qualities would improve your marriage? Patience? Thankfulness? (Your spouse will be glad to give you some ideas.)

Become ministry partners

Perhaps you already have a disciplined spiritual life as a couple. You might want to find a ministry you can do together. What are your joint strengths? Serving others? Hospitality? What are your complementary gifts? Is one of you a teacher and the other an administrator? You might make a dynamite duo for leading an adult class at church. Or, if adults aren’t your cup of tea, perhaps one of you loves planning children’s lessons and the other is great at tending to the details that crop up. I remember going on evangelistic home visits with Roxann early in our marriage. She was warm and made friends easily. I made sure the gospel was presented in each home. Our gifts were different, but they worked well together.

Work on a project together

You can also become closer by working on a project together. This year, Roxann and I had planned to walk the last 170 miles of the Camino in northern Spain. It required watching YouTube videos by people who had walked it, reading books together and dreaming about the trip, buying trekking poles and a backpack, and—at our age—doing some training. Unfortunately, the pandemic put a halt to the dream, but working together on a common goal brought us closer. What will your joint project be? A trip or adventure? A home project? Break your project into pieces and complete one small piece at a time—together.

You have a fresh year before you. What can you do that will make you stronger and closer as a couple? Start with some brainstorming and discussion and planning. And prayer. Definitely start with prayer.

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