Married On Purpose: Intentional Relationship Investments

Married On Purpose: Intentional Relationship Investments

Too many people slide into marriage without much intentionality. It’s just something you do – “if we feel like it.” But for something as important as marriage, something that will affect your health, wellbeing and happiness for the rest of your life and the wellbeing of many others, “sliding” isn’t a good plan. The only way to succeed is to be Married on Purpose.

Marriage is perhaps the riskiest endeavor humankind currently engages in. Is there any other agreement you would enter into when the general failure rate is around 50%? Two attached sinners are certain to destroy each other if left alone. And even if your marriage lasts you are guaranteed a super-sized dose of frustration, disappointment, and deep internal pain.

Is it any wonder young people are frequently delaying marriage, opting for other living arrangements, trying the hook-up culture, and/or declining to get involved in serious dating relationships? That’s certainly not the case for all. But for the first time there are more single adults in our country than married adults.

Of course most people who get married believe they’re the exception. MY husband won’t get too busy with work to have time to make me feel special, or leave dirty sox and dishes lying around. MY wife will always look beautiful, and always cheer me on in whatever I’m pursuing. OUR relationship will never deteriorate into apathy, conflict, or miserable détente.

If you’re right, if your marriage is the exception, it will be because you and your spouse make daily intentional investments on purpose. Like a garden, without daily attention to planting good seeds, pulling weeds, and watering regularly, your marriage will produce thistles instead of flowers.

Here are some things to invest in daily to assure you are Married on Purpose.

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Keep Your Sanity when your Spouse Doesn’t Meet your Needs

Keep Your Sanity when your Spouse Doesn’t Meet your Needs

Your spouse should do more to meet your needs. Really, how could your husband or wife be that insensitive, clueless, even hostile? You’ve tried to tell them over and over again how much you need help around the house, or someone to listen, or an engaged sexual partner, or someone to help shoulder the brunt of the in-law attacks or financial burdens. Is a little kindness, respect, and love too much to expect? But regardless of what you do or say, your spouse doesn’t meet your needs.

It gets old, doesn’t it? You expected certain things, and your spouse hasn’t lived up to those expectations. Wasn’t getting married supposed to assure your needs would be met?

Well, no.

News flash; your spouse is NOT going to meet your needs. Guaranteed. And if you keep waiting for them to do so, you are certain to become bitter, empty, and angry.

Intellectually you may realize that a human being was never intended to meet all your needs. But surely your spouse is the exception! You really need that respect, intimacy, attention, tenderness, partnership, support, and love. Isn’t that why you got married?

Actually, no.

Your needs don’t get met by you trying to pull it out of your spouse, or manipulating or shaming them into trying, or wilting away in the corner hoping they will wise up.

Yes, you have needs. Real needs. It’s more than wants; it’s needs. But here’s an inconvenient truth;

Every human being has unmet needs, including you and your spouse.

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10 Ways to get Mental/Emotional/Spiritual Nourishment

10 Ways to get Mental/Emotional/Spiritual Nourishment

You and I are full of leaks. The good things we get filled up with only last so long. We can feel top-of-the-mountain right now, and in an hour, a day, or a week feel empty and discouraged. Our souls get hungry. We need regular soul nourishment if we are to function well and be of any use to anyone.

Jesus knew this well. On Earth He was constantly being drained through interactions with people and with evil. He regularly needed to get away in order to get filled up again.

With our physical food God makes an infinite variety available. But you and I are responsible for knowing when we are hungry, and for finding, choosing, preparing, and taking into our being the food we need. Some food tastes better than others, and some is more nourishing than others. Food is available, but God doesn’t drop food into our mouths.

It’s the same with mental/emotional/spiritual nourishment. There’s an infinite variety of soul nourishment available, but we are responsible for knowing when we need it, for finding it, choosing it, and taking it into our being.

Different people get filled up in somewhat different ways. The kind of “leaks” you have (work, family, other stresses) affect that somewhat. So does your personality. If you already know what fills you up, do more of that.

On the other hand you may need some ideas of where to get healthy soul nourishment. If you’re empty, hungry, dry, try some of these things.

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What God’s Communication can teach us about Communication in Marriage

What God’s Communication can teach us about Communication in Marriage

When we asked couples what they struggle with, communication was Number One. It can feel as though you and your spouse are speaking different languages, and attempts to talk seem to only make things worse. Since we are made in God’s image, looking at God’s communication with us should teach us a lot about healthy communication in marriage.

God is always communicating. The Bible is basically a record of and means of God’s communication with us. “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.” (Hebrews 1:1-2)

Imagine God trying to communicate with us. He knows everything, has all the answers, and loves us with a heart that is infinite, passionate, strong, and wise. But we struggle to hear and understand Him. Jesus described it like this: “In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’” (Matthew 13:14-15)

Talk about a closed heart! Does that sound like your spouse when you try to communicate?

And perhaps it describes you sometimes as well.

But God doesn’t give up, and neither should you.

Here are some aspects of God’s communication with us that can help you in communicating with your spouse.

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What are you afraid of? What are you worried about?

What are you afraid of? What are you worried about?

Before you answer “Nothing”, pause for a moment and think. Have swirling thoughts about things you can’t do anything about robbed your sleep? Have you hesitated – or downright failed to do – something you know would be beneficial for you or others because of some fear? Has your stomach been tied up in knots? Have you put up a psychological wall when dealing with someone close to you rather than dealing with an important issue?

It’s a rare person indeed who does not deal with fear and anxiety – some less, some more. So ask yourself, what are you afraid of? What are you worried about?

Here are a few possibilities. Perhaps you’re afraid or worried about:

  • What other people think, or might think
  • Having enough money
  • Failure
  • Success
  • Identity theft
  • Your health
  • Your marriage falling apart
  • Your children making it in life
  • Criticism or rejection
  • Death
  • What God thinks of you

And then there are the wider issues that affect us all, and can cause plenty of fear and anxiety:

  • Political unrest and division
  • Decreasing acceptance of Christianity in our culture
  • Terrorism
  • Global economic turmoil
  • Weather extremes, natural disasters
  • Human trafficking
  • Disruption of the family, with domestic violence, divorce, single parenting, etc.
  • Violence from illegal activity

One or more of these almost certainly comes very close to home for you. And there are countless more things you could be angst about.

So again, what are you afraid of? What are you worried about?

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