I read books on marriage. I listen to Bible teachings about marriage. I talk with my friends about our concerns and we exchange ideas. I even - gasp - talk to my husband about our marriage, when he let's me. (He's not much of a talker.) I have tons of lists of and ideas for small changes I can make that might make a big difference.
Let me break here to clarify something. Our marriage is good. We are happy and - usually - on the same page. However, I believe if you're not growing, you're dying. A marriage cannot thrive without constant care.
Dr. Randy Carlson of Intentional Living tells you to find one thing you can do for the next thirty days to be intentional in your marriage.
This is where this post is being redirected by God. I was about to go into some ramblings about the things I've thought to do. As it happened, however, I sighed up for the marriage newsletter while I was getting the link for Intentional Living. (The link is on the right side of their page, a little bit down, if you're interested) The first email came immediately. I now feel compelled to share the highlights of this email, The Five Pillars for a Successful Marriage, as the jumping-off point for my marriage.
Pillar #1: Be able to communicate well and often
As I addressed earlier, I'm all for the often, but Mike, not so much. As for the well, well, it depends on the situation. We could both definitely spend some more time in this area.
Pillar #2: Be able to confront problems early and resolve them
Eh...I'm not really sure how we'd rate here. Because of the communication issue, we're not always aware of problems right away. And, since Mike doesn't like to talk, he doesn't bring up issues much, or he waits until it's stewed for a while. I tend to be afraid to bring things up because I don't want the poor communication to make everything worse. I think #1 will take care of #2.
Pillar #3: Be best friends
Pillar #4: Be spontaneous
Getting better here.
Pillar #5: Be a "visioncaster" (Set goals and make plans)
Eh...here's another question mark. We like to talk about the future and set vague, superficial goals. Then our partnership takes an ugly turn. I like to plan everything out to the last detail; Mike likes to wait and see. I'm never satisfied, so Mike doesn't participate. I can't really blame him. I'm smelling an opportunity for compromise.
So, what's the one thing I can do intentionally for my marriage for the next thirty days? I will work on communicating lovingly. I'm sure I'll fail at times, when the kids have worn me down or the house is a mess or Mike's grouchy. But, as Meredith, author of the blog The Positive Parenting Challenge, says, "Fulfillment is in the process, not the product."