Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Some New Year Challenges For Your Marriage

I don't know what your specific marriage needs but after several decades of counseling and being married I have a pretty good idea what every marriage needs. Like a great golf swing, recipe or piano sonata, doing anything well always require certain foundational skills and ingredients.

Individuality must be layered over a strong foundation.

So here are a few of those less-talked-about marriage components that you might consider for work on during your new year. And no matter how well any of us are doing we can all improve. In fact continually working on our relationship is what will keep us going for a lifetime.

First, improve the little things that can end up big things. For example, speak more kindly in the every day moments. If you have a habit of speaking abruptly or without much feeling, work on getting a little softer and adding some understanding and emotion.

Give compliments more often, help out where you normally would not and surprise your spouse with some kindness. Commit to pray for the other every day even if you don't talk about it. Small changes now can make for huge differences years from now.

Second, make more time for each other. Plan (together) some time away and add some regular down time for just the two of  you. You may have to leave some things out but who cares?  They're probably not that important. If  you have kids it will be important that they too see you make each other a priority. As I've said in other posts, the number one cause of marital discord is when couples quit acting like friends.

And husbands be sure you join in on the planning.  Letting your wife put together a trip and you just going along for the ride misses out on the intimacy occurs when you work in tandem.

Third, get out of debt. This topic requires whole posts and even books full of discussion but the concept is simple. Too many couples today are swimming in loans and payments that steal from their marriage and home. Start the process of downsizing, limiting your expenditures and saving. Read a book or two by Dave Ramsey or Ron Blue for specific help.

Start somewhere to save, give to God and to invest for your future. 

Fourth, reach a new height or two in your faith. Don't just let your faith become a routine. Stimulate your relationship with God through a mission trip, new Bible study, personal growth plan, accountability partner or other service opportunity. Following Christ is also about growing, changing and becoming. It won't happen by itself.

Don't let this new year just slip away and be another year in your relationship. Start today making it the best year so far doing it one step at a time.

Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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