Pro-active vs. Re-active Marriage

We tend to be proactive in how we deal with life in general and particularly our marriage. We are both that way because of our individual personalities but having previous marriages in our pasts has also contributed to that tendency to be pro-active vs. re-active.

Re-active vs. Pro-active Marriage: www.successfulchristianremarriage.comBeing pro-active requires getting to know our spouse inside and out. We don’t become mind readers, but we are able to better anticipate how they will respond to things. More importantly, we get to know what builds them up which, in turn, makes us better spouses.

[tweetthis]Being pro-active in your marriage will bring positive results. #MarriageAdvice[/tweetthis]

Is your marriage pro-active or re-active?

10 Things I love about my spouse

  1. He loves me.
  2. She respects me.
  3. His eyes are only for me.
  4. Her heart is only for me.
  5. He lets me be strong.
  6. She lets me be weak.
  7. 10 Things I love about my spouseHe makes me laugh.
  8. She laughs at my jokes.
  9. He loves God above all else.
  10. She loves God above all else.

What about you? What things do you love about your spouse?

[tweetthis]What do you love about your spouse? [/tweetthis]

How do you view your spouse?

Song of Solomon is a great resource for building your marriage. It is the love story of a man (King Solomon) and a young girl (the Shulamite). This story of how they feel about each other and how they view each other includes many lessons that we, as married couples, can draw upon to improve our marriages. We highly recommend reading this book of the bible together as a couple.

What we would like to touch upon today is how we view our spouse in comparison to other men and women.

For the men:

“Like a lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.” Song of Solomon 2:2 (NKJV)

As a husband, how do you view your wife and other women? Solomon compares his Love to other women and the other women are lacking. She is a beautiful flower among the thorns. Notice that he doesn’t view her as being the most beautiful of all of the flowers, he views her as the most beautiful among thorns. Basically there is no comparison because the other women are not even good enough to be flowers. Only his Love is. His Love is not A beautiful women, she is THE beautiful one.

[tweetthis]How do you view your wife? Is she the lily among thorns?[/tweetthis]

For the women:

“My beloved is radiant and ruddy, distinguished among ten thousand.” Song of Solomon 5:10 (ESV)

As a wife, how do you view your husband and other men? The Shulamite talks about how her beloved looks. He is radiant and ruddy (healthy looking). He is distinguished among ten thousand other men. Other Bible versions use the words “Chief” and “Outstanding”.  Basically she views him as being very handsome and superior to other men. She is bragging about him. He is better than ten thousand men! There is just no comparison between her beloved and any other man.

[tweetthis]How do you view your husband? Is he Chief among ten thousand?[/tweetthis]

How you view your spouse and how they view you is important to your marriage. If you view them negatively, you will see negative results impacting your marriage. Likewise, if you view them positively, you will see positive results in your marriage. How you view your spouse will often dictate how you treat them.

Do you have any words of encouragement to share with our readers on how you view your spouse?

Care to schedule an appointment?

We are busy people. With the advancements in technology and instant access to the world, we can become busy to the point of over extending ourselves.

It is so easy.

Sometimes it is too easy.

Sometimes we lose sight of important things because we become immersed in so many little time-consuming details.

What suffers the most?

Those things that don’t demand our attention.

Those things that don’t get up and scream for us to give them our time.

Some of it is the mindless stuff. The stuff that doesn’t require us to think that much but suddenly steals hours away from us. Do you have things that do that to you? Those things that you were only going to give a moment of your time to and now it is an hour or two later?

Some of it is the stuff that completely takes over your mind. Maybe time is flying by because you were so consumed with your tasks that you weren’t watching the clock.

Many times our marriage is the thing that suffers because it doesn’t yell to be noticed. Maybe we are both too busy. Maybe one is nagging and the other is ignoring the nagging. Maybe we have just become complacent.

Ahh, complacency. The slow death of marriage.

[tweetthis]Has your marriage become complacent? Make an appointment.[/tweetthis]

What do we do to fix it?

Make an appointment. Give your marriage its very own slot in your day. Write it down. In ink. Or permanent marker.

Anything else that wants to take your time during that appointment will need to wait. Put away your technology. The phone calls can wait. The texting can wait. Facebook can wait. Your friends can wait. Yes, even your kids can wait. You are making the appointment so you can make it when other things can wait.

How long should the appointment be?

As long as you want. Can’t get more than five minutes? Fine. Maybe you can schedule a few five minute appointments. Or maybe you need to work your way up from five minutes. Take what you can.

What should you do at your appointment?

Talk. Pray. Worship. Eat. Walk. Exercise. Don’t watch TV and consider that your appointment. Be creative. Have a staring contest if you want to. Give each other a massage. Break the record for the world’s longest kiss. Head off to the bedroom and … well you know… Do we need to spell that out for you?

How are you going to schedule time for your marriage today?

[tweetthis]Schedule time for your marriage today. It is well worth it.[/tweetthis]

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“U” Is For United Front

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. –Matthew 12:25

We have heard this statement often; even President Lincoln used it in a speech. It is a very important thing to remember in your marriage, especially in remarriage. We can get so caught up in trying to tread water during the storms that we forget that we are in this marriage together. We are not alone; we have each other and God. There are many things (or people) that can be used to tear apart that bond. It is such an important bond that God uses marriage to illustrate what His relationship is with us and with the church. Because it is so important, it is also one of those bonds that are always under attack. If you are married, you just have to accept the fact that there are forces working toward destroying that bond. It is unavoidable, no matter how good your marriage is. That is why we have to be diligent in protecting it. Having a United Front simply means that we stand together, in unity, for the common purpose of protecting something – in this case, protecting our marriages.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. – Ecclesiastes 4:12

Those of us in remarriages, particularly ones with stepchildren, are well versed in the attacks intent on breaking the bonds. We must have a united front as a couple, even in our own households with our own children. So how do we do that? There are a few simple ways to work on it. Number one: Always hold your spouse in a high level of respect which means that you do not put your spouse down or let others do it. Number two: Even when you disagree, particularly on parenting issues, have any heated discussions between you privately. Many times, when we are on the front lines of the battlefield, we forget that our spouse is on the same side with us. It is not you against each other; rather, it is you two against the world. If you have a united front, as the Bible says, you will be stronger and better able to withstand attacks.

“T” Is For Thankful

Thankfulness is probably at the heart of most relationship problems. More specifically – lack of thankfulness. It is difficult to be unhappy in a relationship when you are thankful to have it in the first place. Remarried couples should have an easier time being thankful for their remarriage because they have a failed marriage behind them. Ironically, we do not seem to have an easier time with it. Perhaps it is just human nature to be more aware of what others have that we don’t. Perhaps we are afraid to embrace our remarriage because of our past failures. It doesn’t really matter why as much as it matters that we do something about it. Our marriage is much stronger than our previous marriages were and we are thankful every day for that. The stronger our marriage is, the further we move away from those doom and gloom statistics that we will not last together. If you find yourself looking at the grass on the other side because you think it’s greener, try being thankful that you have grass at all. Every day make a conscious effort to think of something that you are thankful for in your relationship with your spouse. If you can’t think of something, ask God to show you something. Then take that one thing and dwell on it throughout your day. Why are you thankful for that thing? Here’s an example: Let’s say that your choice today for one thing to be thankful about is that your spouse has a good sense of humor. Why are you thankful for it? Is it because it makes your life fun? Is it because it relieves stress? Is it because it makes your kids easier to deal with? Is it because you don’t have a good sense of humor and you admire that in someone else? Maybe it’s just because – you don’t know why. But you’re thinking about it, aren’t you? Dwell on that item throughout your day. When did you notice that your spouse had a good sense of humor? Was there a specific thing that was said? Was it just something that you noticed in watching your spouse? You see, if you are keeping your thoughts busy being thankful for something, it is more difficult to be concerned with other things. After you have dwelled on that thing, share your thankfulness with your spouse. Let them know that you are thankful for it and why. Lastly, don’t forget to thank God for blessing you with that thing and your relationship.

“R” Is For Reminiscing

Our children love to hear stories from their childhood. We enjoy telling them the stories. We like to walk down memory lane. Reminiscing is a good tool to enhance your relationship with your spouse. We reminisce quite often about our first meeting, first date, wedding proposal, wedding ceremony, anniversaries, holidays, vacations, etc. These memories are special to us and when we talk about them, we are reminded of those good and exciting feelings that accompanied the memory. Anything that reminds you of your love for each other is something that you should cultivate. Reminiscing is definitely one of those things. This is a simple thing and yet a very powerful tool for building your marriage. Remembering happy times reminds us of good feelings and our love for each other. Remembering the sad times or trials reminds us of how good God has been to us and how thankful we are to have each other. We also reminisce about memories that are things we can laugh about because laughter is always good in your relationship. Don’t take your spouse or your marriage for granted; remember your love for each other and all the hard work that you have invested in this relationship. Always be thankful that God, in His infinite wisdom, put you together. Never stop reminiscing.

“Q” Is For Quality Time

Thinking back to when you first got together, do you remember wanting to spend a lot of time together? The longer you are together as a couple, the more life tends to get in the way of spending quality time together. It is important that you make being together a priority in your marriage. Many experts will tell you to have regular date nights with your spouse. That is good advice and we agree with it, but we would like to add to it. We have talked with many couples who laugh at that advice. With the economy being bad, some couples are having trouble paying their bills, let alone going out on a date. Couples with young children can have trouble getting a babysitter, or affording a babysitter, or just being able to leave their little ones with someone else. Some couples have so many obligations outside of their marriage that they don’t have the time or the inclination to spend an evening out. So let’s take a look at the root of this advice – spending time together. Don’t let your ideas on this be boxed in by what the experts tell you or what other people around you are doing. Your marriage is unique and as such, you need to find those things that uniquely fit your relationship. This could be a “date night”. This could be watching your favorite TV show every week. While you definitely should spend one-on-one time together, you can also spend quality time together in the midst of others. We have spent quality time with each other by taking our children to the park. You can spend quality time together being at home. We have spent many summer evenings sitting outside on our back patio while the children were inside doing their own thing. Even taking care of adult business can be turned into spending time together by doing errands together or working together on home projects. We knew a couple that their quality time together was when the children were occupied or in bed, the husband was working in the garage and the wife sat in her spot near the workbench just hanging out in the same place as her husband. The point is that there are many possibilities and you must take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself for you to spend quality time together.

“P” Is For Prioritize

We are all allotted a certain amount of time in our days and our lives. Because of that we must prioritize. If we don’t, then we are going to find that some things which are not so important will take place of other things which are important. What are your priorities? Our number one priority should be God. As Christians we know that without God at the helm of our lives, everything else falls apart. We must make sure that we are working on our relationship with God. As a married couple, our second priority only to God, is our spouse. Amongst the people in our lives, your spouse will be first. Our marriages are the relationships that must come first because that is the relationship that should last for the rest of our lives. For those of us with school-age children, this can be difficult; particularly if you have children from previous marriages. It can be a real juggling act at times. Often we find ourselves having to compromise in order to get things done. So how can we prioritize? Here are a few tips:

  • Identify your priorities – If you don’t know what they are, how can you keep them straight?
  • Write them down – there is something about the act of writing priorities down that will help you keep them.
  • Pray for guidance and help – ask God to help you keep your priorities straight.
  • Tell your spouse – this will help keep you and your spouse accountable for those priorities.
  • Stand up for yourself – be respectful when you need to be, but stand up for your priorities.
  • Re-examine yourself – taking time periodically to reassess your priorities will also help you keep some balance in your life.

“O” Is For Obedience

Our God is a loving God. Our God is also a God of justice and holiness. Many unbelievers (and some believers) want to put God into this little box where He is only loving. That is a disservice to our God and also to our faith in Him. That is one of the many things that makes our God (Capital G) better than anyone else’s gods (little g). Being as big as He is, there are things that are particularly important to Him. Obedience is a big deal to God. Can we be saved without it? Sure, although the act of being saved has already required our obedience anyway. But we are saved by His grace and not by our works so obedience is not necessary to being saved. Having said that, it is quite difficult to lead a good Christian life and have a good relationship with God if we are not obedient. God promises many blessings to those who are obedient to Him. The Bible is filled with those promises. If you look at it from the perspective of a parent to a child, God (like any parent) expects obedience from His children. Why? Usually for our own good. Example: When you tell your child not to touch a flame, it is because it will hurt the child. You, as parent, expect the child to obey you when you say, “Do not touch that flame.” You are trying to protect your child, even when your child doesn’t understand why. God is the same way with us. He expects our obedience so that we do not get hurt. Now, let’s say you have two children: one is always disobeying you and getting into trouble or hurt and the other rarely disobeys and strives to be obedient. Do you love either of them less? No, but you do have a tendency to “bless” the obedient one more. God does the same. He rewards our obedience by blessing us. So it is to our advantage to be obedient so that we can reap all the benefits of the promised blessings.