Does Your Marriage Need a Workout?
We are all tempted to get lazy, but laziness doesn’t stop with housework or your body. We can be lazy in our marriage too. Laziness is Satan’s sneaky weapon to destroy a marriage without you even knowing it is happening. Laziness seems harmless since it can often be justified, but laziness is incredibly dangerous.
“The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.” Proverbs 13:4
Most of us crave a good marriage. We want romance, happiness, friendship and love. We desire to get a long and desire to improve – but having a desire alone does nothing without work. This applies with fitness too. Most of us desire to be fit and thin, but a desire doesn’t make us fit and thin. Only hard work will give us what we desire.
We are all tempted with laziness because we are exhausted from working and just living life. We are so easily distracted by our phones, work, chores, bills, computers, TV, media – and the list goes on. Most of us have good intentions, but time goes by too fast. Before you know it, you never worked on your marriage and you are sitting at a table across from each other talking about divorce. If you want a richly supplied marriage, you must stay diligent. Does your marriage lack diligence?
Just Do It
Most of us know what to do, but knowing what to do and not doing it is not just neglect, it’s actual sin.
“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” James 4 :17
I am the FIRST to admit that laziness nearly ruined our marriage. Our marriage was pretty good enough without much effort. I thought “good” was enough. Well it wasn’t. What I thought was OK, was seriously wrong. We let work and life take first place, and we neglected to put in the hard work necessary to strengthen our marriage and get it in the best shape possible.
Over the last year and a half, our marriage has been better than ever, but it’s taken a lot of honest conversation, Bible study to learn how God desires our marriage to work, purposeful quality time together, more intimacy, less selfishness and a heightened awareness of any red flags that may pop up along the way that may attack our marriage. Two of which is busyness and laziness.
Over the last few months, we have been much more busy than normal. Busyness leads to laziness. We get so worn out working on everything but our marriage, we have no energy left for our marriage. There are warning signs to a marriage that is getting out of shape just like there are with your weight. When you begin to see the warning signs, you have 2 choices. Ignore it (and it WILL get worse) or work on it.
6 Steps to a Fit Marriage
There are 6 things that GREATLY improved our marriage. Don’t get me wrong, we do not have a perfect marriage, but it is SO much more healthy than it used to be – and there are steps we took to get our marriage in better shape (and we need to continue taking those steps to STAY in shape).
1. Pray together. There is nothing more intimate than praying together. It’s impossible to be a jerk when you are praying. God softens your heart and puts life into perspective. You can’t fool God, He knows it all, so praying forces you to be honest and helps you look at yourself, and each other, in God’s eyes. If you have never prayed out loud together, I challenge you to do that today. It doesn’t have to be fancy.
Speak to God your Father as a real father. A father with a ton of love and resources. “God (Dad), thank you so much for giving me _______, Help us…Teach us…Speak to us..Forgive us….Strengthen us…Give us people in our life who can minister to us…Help me be more __________. Help me learn to show my love to _________ the way he needs to be shown. Help me learn to forgive. Help me see my spouse the way you see him…”
Believe me, as you pray, you will begin to blurt out all kinds of stuff from the depths of your heart – and as you begin praying for strength and asking God to help you in areas, your spouse will see your true desire to be the spouse they need. You both will melt in love for each other as you see each other’s cry to be a better spouse and to better in general. You’ll be amazed what happens when you begin praying for each other.
2. Read scripture together. I remember the time when Steve said “What good is that going to do? How is that going to fix our problems?” Ironically, the one thing he refused to do for so long is the one thing that fixed everything. Reading scripture didn’t fix our problems, it fixed our heart. We got our eyes off of ourself, and on the Lord. Selfishness is the number 1 reason marriages fail and the Bible’s number 1 goal is to help us die to self and live for Him. When we are right with God, we quickly become right with each other. It is more valuable than counseling and it’s much cheaper!!
3. Do a marriage devotional together (We are reading Two Part Harmony right now). Marriage devotionals help create conversation, remind us of things we take for granted, keeps our focus on God’s design for marriage and brings us together as a couple. It also is one of the few times we put our phones down and have productive conversation just about us – not work, not family, not friends, but us as a couple.
4. Schedule quality time. If you are waiting on time to just magically appear, it will never happen. You have to schedule it. It may seem like it loses it’s magic, but whether you are planning alone time to talk, kiss or date, quality time for a marriage is just as important as scheduling your workout or doctor’s appointment for your body. It’s healthy and it’s important.
5. Refuse to be defensive. I am the most defensive person I know. When Steve says something like “I need XYZ or I feel XYZ”, my immediate response is to defend myself. Why? Because I love him and I want to convince him that my actions are not a reflection of my love. I’ve just been busy and want to explain myself. OR, I want to fire back with all the things he’s doing or not doing so he sees he’s failing too. ha! It’s ridiculous.
The fact is, I have a man who is saying “Hey, I love you and I want more of you.” Even if it comes across as a complaint or is spoken in frustration, the root of the issue is love and the need to reconnect. We often get mad when a spouse complains, but what is the root of the complaint? What is it the spouse is asking for? More time, more intimacy, more affection, more support? All of those things are a demonstration of love.
What they are really saying is “I love you and want to feel your love more”. How horrible is that? Not horrible at all. I am thankful Steve desires my love. So, I’m working on being less defensive and more excited about giving him what he needs to feel the love I have in my heart so we stay connected.
6. Pray for each other. We pray for our friends, we pray for help in life – bills, health, stress, trials, etc. But, many of us are not committed to praying for our spouses. Steve and I decided we need all the prayer we can get, so we are committed to praying for each other. Pray yourself to sleep for your spouse. Pray for them on the way to work in the car. AND, let them know you are praying for them and even what you pray for. This not only unlocks God’s power in each of your life, it says “I love you”. …and there is nothing hotter to me than knowing my man is on his knees in prayer. ❤️