We’ve GOT to be intentional in spending quality time together with our spouse. If we don’t our everyday life will squeeze in between us as a married couple and cause division. Making it a priority to spend intentional time together is vital.
“Even if we have an unbending commitment to our mate, most of us are blind to how we lose our marriages by slow erosion if we don’t keep replenishing the soil.” (William Doherty)
One of the missions of this ministry is to stress the importance of being PRO-active in our marriages. It is to stop relationship problems before they happen. This can be done through intentionality!
Making Intentional Time a Priority
To help you approach your marriage with intentionality, we’re sharing quotes from an article titled Intentional Marriage. It is written by Marcia Segelstein. And it was featured in The Connecticut Family Matters (several years ago). In it, she quotes William Doherty who’s the author of numerous books. They include the book, Take Back Your Marriage (from which most of the quotes are taken).
Please prayerfully consider the following as it pertains to marriage:
• “We ask ourselves during stressful, or boring times whether we’re getting what we should from our marriage. Our culture teaches us that we are entitled to an exciting marriage and great sex life. If we don’t get both, we are apt to feel deprived.
“What used to be seen as human weakness of the flesh has become a personal entitlement. Steadfastness and self-sacrifice aren’t in this picture. When the marriage relationship becomes psychologically painful or stunts our growth, there are plenty of therapists around to serve as midwives for a divorce.”
• “The two key ingredients for a successful marriage are commitment and intentionality. Commitment may sound obvious and clear-cut. But in his years of therapy, Doherty has come to recognize two distinct kinds of commitment couples make. One is what he calls ‘commitment-as-long-as.’ It means staying together, ‘not as long as we both shall live, but as long as things are working out for me.’
“The other kind is what Doherty calls ‘commitment-no-matter-what.’ He describes it as ‘the long view of marriage in which you don’t balance the ledgers every month to see if you are getting an adequate return on your investment. You’re here to stay.’ This long-term kind of commitment is essential, according to Doherty, but can lead to stale marriages if not accompanied by intentionality.”
• “By intentionality, Doherty means making one’s marriage a high priority. During courtship, a couple’s relationship is front and center, as he puts it. After marriage, other things often take priority: careers and children, to name the most common. Having an intentional marriage means being conscious about maintaining a connection through, among other things, ‘a reservoir of marital rituals of connection and intimacy.'”
• “The main way to resist the forces that pull us apart —the natural drift of marriage over time —is to be a couple who carefully cultivates ways to connect over the years. Simply stated, the intentional couple thinks about their relationship. They plan for their relationship, and act for their relationship, mostly in simple, everyday ways and occasionally in big, splashy ways.”
• “Doherty gave an example of a simple ritual that he and his wife developed during their child-rearing years. Every evening after dinner, they’d have coffee together. They did this without children present. Their children knew they had to leave their parents alone for these few minutes. Years later Doherty asked his grown daughter what she thought of that ritual as a child. She told him that it made her feel safe. This is because she knew it meant that her parents liked each other.”
• “There’s a tendency for parents to think that it’s okay to sacrifice their relationship for the children. There’s no question that having children involves sacrifices. But, as Doherty told me, ‘Sacrificing your marriage for the sake of your children doesn’t help anybody.'”
• “If marital counseling is needed, Doherty advises that this is a time when being a good consumer is important. Selecting the right therapist can make all the difference. He suggests talking to people who can make a recommendation based on successful personal experience. He recommends asking questions. Make it clear that you want to hold onto your marriage and make it better.”
We have a topic on this web site called Marriage Counseling and Mentoring that can assist you. Also, to read the article referred to above, in its entirety, click into the following link to read: Intentional Marriage.
We hope you’ll seriously consider what has been said above about being intentional in growing your marriage relationship. We realize that a big problem in being able to do so is that “busyness is the enemy of marriage.” As Dr Harold Arnold, points out:
“Contemporary marriages lack quality and quantity time for several reasons. There’s an endless pursuit of things. This requires money and therefore more work. There is also busyness, disguising relationship rifts. Plus couples’ lives are running on parallel tracks.”
It’s About Time
Do you find yourself in this dilemma? Dr Arnold gives 3 questions that will challenge you sort through this issue. To read the article and the 3 questions, please click on the Focus on the Family web site link below:
Also, here’s something Jim Burns points out, to help men (and women as well). He said:
“This is an oversimplification. But many men just don’t put in the time to be intentional about romance. For whatever reason, we don’t give romance the attention it deserves. Too many people think the words ‘intentional’ and ‘romance’ shouldn’t be in the same sentence. I disagree. For those of us who don’t usually act like we are fresh off the set of an Italian or French romance movie, we need to learn to be intentional about bringing romance to our relationship. Frankly, if you are too tired or distracted to work on romance in your marriage then something is very wrong.
“In your relationship, putting time and attention toward romance honors your spouse. Paul’s advice to the Romans works well. ‘Be devoted to one another. Honor one another above yourselves.'” (See: Romans 12:10.)
Additional Tips for Spending Intentional Time
Then Jim goes on to give some great tips that you might find helpful. To learn about them, please click onto the CBN.com article to read:
You’ll also find some help in our Romantic Ideas topic of this web site. Plus there are conversation starters and discussion questions in the Communication Tools topic. You can use them as an opportunity for 22 Minutes to a Better Marriage. This is something we highly recommend.
We also encourage you to read Marriage Message #357 – Liking Each Other. And then scroll down to the first comment after the message. It is a great testimony. It shows, that with some intentionality, you can grow your relationship back into a good one again.
In closing, we’re sharing with you the prayer of our hearts for your marriage. It’s something we found in The Message written by Eugene Peterson. In it he is paraphrasing the scripture verses found in Philippians 1:9-11. It reads:
“So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.“
Steve and Cindy Wright
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