As last year just ended (thank God!) and brand new, unspoiled days stretch before us (if God wills), how would you like to start the New Year in a way that can improve your marriage? How about doing something proactive so you are purposefully traveling your New Year journey TOGETHER?
“In geography class you may have learned about continental drift, where huge ‘plates’ of earth move slowly in opposite directions. The same thing happens in a lot of marriages, very subtly. How can you keep from drifting? By talking regularly, setting mutual goals for your marriage, planning the future together, playing together, cultivating shared interests and fanning the flame of romance.” (Louis McBurney)
To start you off on this journey of growing closer together we have some communication tools for you. And here’s the whole premise behind them:
“It’s a good habit to pause at the beginning of a new year and reflect on the year before to help you make changes in the year ahead” (Debi and Tom Walter).
Traveling Your New Year Journey Together
Now, we know the New Year has already started. (You actually may be far into the year before you read this.) But it’s still not too late to do this. We’ve answered and asked each other reflective questions a number of years ourselves. It’s healthy to look back and then look forward together as we walk into the New Year. Plus, we learn a lot about each other and ourselves in the process.
Thanks to Tom and Debi Walter of The Romantic Vineyard, we have some great questions you can reflect upon and ask each other. (They’re much better than the questions we’ve used in past years.) But first, “Plan some undistracted time—no screens, no kids, no chores, and no TV.” You can even break this into two shorter talk times together. (They can even be made into several 22 Minute Date times.) This may be too much for some spouses to do this all in one “date” together. If so, just go with the flow. Make it happen in the way it best works for you as a couple.
And whatever you do, make this a positive time. The goal is to draw closer to each other—not to conflict! Just talk, laugh, listen, learn and enjoy this time together.
So, with those guidelines put into place, as you look back on this past year ask yourself and then your spouse the following:
1. What are the major highlights of the year?
2. What are your biggest victories? Your biggest disappointments?
3. What would you do differently if you had the chance?
4. How has our marriage grown?
5. What was your favorite date? Favorite dining experience? Favorite movie?
6. How have you grown in your relationship with the Lord?
7. What do you wish you could have done, but didn’t?
8. What are the three most encouraging words someone else said to you?
9. What are the three most encouraging words [your spouse] said to you?
10. What did you do this year that makes you smile every time you think of it?
Additionally, As You’re Looking Forward Into This New Year:
Ask yourself and your spouse the following:
1. What do you want to continue doing this year that you were doing last year?
2. What do you want to stop doing this year?
3. What one word, if any, do you plan to focus on for growth? How can [your spouse] help you?
4. What devotional are you planning to do? (We highly recommend choosing from the hundreds available on the YouVersion app.)
5. What is one area you would like to see me improve in this year?
6. Is there something you have been putting off around the house that [your spouse] would love to see completed?
7. What 3 couples can we pursue this year in an effort to encourage them or glean wisdom from them?
8. What would be the best way to make this happen?
9. How important are date times to you? How can we make these a regular part of our year?
10. What trips would you like to plan for just us or for the family?
Optional: Is there any other question that would be good to ask?
We pray these questions have been a blessing to you and to your marriage. The important point in all of this is to ask questions that will help your relationship grow TOGETHER in healthy, God-honoring ways.
Keep in mind that “a good marriage is not something you find. It’s something you work for.” We hope you will “work for” the best yet for your marriage. And we hope the above questions will help you in this mission!
As Debi and Tom say (and we wholeheartedly agree):
“May God help you connect the dots of His faithfulness to you and your marriage” this past year. “And wherever there is great disappointment, may He fill your heart with faith to believe, to change and grow” in this New Year!
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
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 to do so:
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