Have you been considering making changes in your life—especially your married life? Someone said on the radio that many people who decide to make changes are just bored. They feel the need to mix things up a bit. And that CAN be a positive thing (like moving around furniture, or change what you’re eating, etc.). But just make sure your restlessness doesn’t push you into making extreme changes that bring negative results. Just because it appears to be “good” for you, it doesn’t mean it is.
If you’re thinking about making big changes, earnestly pray and make sure it lines up scripturally. We’ve heard of SO MANY spouses leaving their families because “God wouldn’t want me to be unhappy.” There is nothing scriptural in that statement or lifestyle change.
But for “regular” changes here and there, sometimes a little change can bring good results. (We’re talking about the determination to be kinder, gentler, more communicative, etc.)
For this Marriage Insight we’re featuring something that Bob and Yvonne Turnbull (of Turnbull Ministries) talked about a while back, as far as changes they’ve made and will be making in their lives. Here’s what they wrote:
The beginning of the new year is when most of us look to make changes in our life, hence “resolutions.” One of our traditions is going through our physical house; and as we do that how good it feels when clutter is removed.
A few years ago, we asked ourselves, “Wouldn’t we get that same blessing by cleaning out our personal lives?” So, we have started another tradition. We looked at our married and family life to see what changes God would want us to make, so we’re not, as millions are, in the ‘same-o-same-o trap’ with bored and boring relationships.
We base it on Ephesians 5:15-16, “Live life with a due sense of responsibility, not as those who do not know the meaning of life but as those who do. Make the best use of your time…”
We encourage you to do what we do—and that is to get out of the house for an hour or two to talk through three questions you’ll see below. If you have young children at home and getting out of the house is a bit of a challenge, be creative so you will be alone together. In other words — Find [Make] the Time!
What areas worked for us this past year, and do we want to continue them?
We start with a ‘positive’ —meaning—what worked for us. We discuss a variety of areas of our life. This includes financial, physical, spiritual, sexual and relational areas. Starting with the ‘good news’ always gives us encouragement about what we’re doing right in our relationship. A biblical example of starting with encouragement is evidenced with the writings of the Apostle Paul who starts his letters with positive salutations.
Here’s a small but powerfully loving example of what worked for us last year. So, we’ll continue doing the same thing this year. Oftentimes when we’d pass each other in the hallway, or when one was leaving to run an errand, we’d give a ‘fly-by-peck-on-the-cheek.’ It became a non-thinking routine. We both want more than that in our relationship, so we created something new. In our smooch we now pause and exchange not one, not two, but three kisses. This causes us to focus on each other.
Discuss what worked for you and do you want to continue it? Maybe you want to improve upon it?
What areas did not work for us — why — and do we want to do something differently?
At the beginning of last year [actually a few years ago now], we decided that we were going to put aside some days to have “down time” and explore Washington, DC, since we lived just outside of it. We talked a lot about it but didn’t discipline ourselves to follow through. So, life took over and pushed out down-time for us to just enjoy each other. We got occupied with a lot of “stuff” — ministry work, the massive preparation to move and then moving to another state, plus, a death in the family, to name just a few. So, this area didn’t work for us.
But this year we definitely are going to do something about down-time. After scheduling our time with God, we are now scheduling ourselves first in our calendar. This way we will have time to explore our new living area and have fun on a ‘date’ together.
Is there anything new we want to add this year?
As we discussed these areas of our marriage and family, we decided to just add two new things in our life. We didn’t want to overwhelm ourselves.
This year we have decided to read aloud together The Message, which is the Bible in contemporary language (human author, Eugene Peterson) —not as a study but a reading. And then we discuss what we’ve read. We’ve already started with the Psalms.
Also, for this year we have again cranked up swimming. It’s more than just for pleasure, but for a serious cardio workout.
How About You?
We encourage you to pose these trio of questions to each other and then, “Make your plans, counting on God to direct you.” (Proverbs 16:9) We also encourage you to do so every January.
In February we’ll share some tidbits on how to make any changes you’ve made STICK.
We pray for you to have a healthy, happy and holy year. We are claiming that our Lord will continue His good work in you and through you, and that you will stay faithful to your love and obedience to Him and will continue living each day in preparation for His return.
And that is the prayer of our heart for you and your spouse and family, as well.
We are asking God to “fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:9-10)
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
To help you further, we give a lot of personal stories, humor, and more practical tips in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. (It’s available both electronically and in print form.) Plus, it can make a great gift for someone else. It gives you the opportunity to help them grow their marriage. And who doesn’t need that? Just click on the linked title or the picture below:
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