This week, my husband and I have the opportunity to spend five days together to celebrate our 25th anniversary. This has provided a lot of good time to reflect, evaluate and look ahead to the future.
Last time, I wrote that marriage is the crucible—particularly in the ordinary, daily routines and conflicts of life—where the Lord forms and prepares us to meet Christ. It is about learning to love in the little things that may often interrupt my day or stride, surrendering my rights and sacrificing my convenience.
One of my marriage projects this year is reflecting on new vows I would make, now that we know a little better what marriage requires.
One of them would be this: To be more quick and ready to say “yes”—to ideas, to intimacy, to interaction.
In doing this for my earthly husband, I am also pleasing my heavenly Bridegroom. As I do so, I can learn to be content when I do not get my own way.
Another one is this: To quickly bring my irritation to the Lord, not spew it out on my husband.
Let’s face it, this is more common than I would like to admit. But even little leakages here have negative effects that compound over time.
Put on. Put off.
And one more habit: Make time and space for each other.
This is the hardest part for us as we are both very driven and tend to get overly absorbed in our work.
As we have spent time together, I am realizing that we need to make time for each other on a daily basis to connect—a hug, a prayer, or a word of encouragement.
We need to make time on a weekly basis—for deeper conversation, learning, playing, or even planning.
We need time on a monthly basis—to go out on a date outside the home or evaluate.
We need time on an annual basis—to relax, rest, and dream.
For couples who don’t have this problem, then perhaps your habits will look different.
What do you need to start “putting on”? What hindrances do you need to overcome? How can you break these down so that you can clear the hurdle? What is the first thing you need to do to start making this a reality?
What do you currently do that you need to start “putting off”? Where and when do these things happen most frequently? How will you need to train yourself to respond differently? What kind of accountability will you need from your spouse?
Most of these will not come from will power alone. It will require Christ’s power, made possible through the cross. And that is available for us!
So when the opportunities to make that hard choice comes, let us do it, for it allows me to slowly become more and more like Christ while honoring and respecting my husband.
What habits can nurture your marriage and sanctify you?