Ways To Own Your Marriage
The People We Care For – Part 3
For any two people who’ve decided to be married, you must have a plan for making the best of your marriage. Before you start the relationship and even during the relationship, no plan means you plan to fail in your marriage. I’ll have to write another book on the subject of failed marriages later. This plan for your marriage (your spouse) can include such topics as setting an annual retreat or getaway alone, just the two of you, to what books you read to become a better spouse (husband or wife) to what projects the two of you place at the center of your relationship. You see the two of you were created with a purpose in mind and it will require you to work together as a couple.
Measures to Make Your Spouse Your Priority
Generally speaking it won’t take much to care for your spouse because as a family, caring for each other is what the business of your family should do any way. This particular lesson is for the extra care and attention you need to devote to making sure your relationship remains the priority.
If you’ve not been married for much time, you might not know that there are many forces fighting to keep your marriage from remaining secure. Your job fights against your marriage, if you allow it. This next one is subtle, but I’ve witnessed quite a few marriages where their church involvement fought against their marriage. Surprising right? You wouldn’t imagine your church having a negative impact on your marriage, right? It happens if we don’t have a plan to not allow even good things to negatively impact what we’ve worked hard to create. The point of this lesson is to make sure you have measures in place to care for your marriage, your spouse.
The Thought or Concept:
Let me start by saying what this is not. This web-post does not address what we must do individually to be the best person for each other, that’s self-care. This installment focuses on what we do together to improve our marriage. Say that with me, “our marriage.” Each person must own the marriage. This is my marriage and I’m going to succeed at it no different than my career or my athleticism. I’m going to put all my effort into it. I’m going to fight for my marriage, my spouse. Say this with me, this is my spouse [insert his/her name]. This is not popular thinking, not common that is. Just like you must take ownership in your role in the office, you must also take ownership for the roles you have in your life, your business. Take ownership of being a wife or a husband. It’s more than okay to own it. Only those who own it are successful at it.
Side-note: I often hear people refer to their spouse as their best friend. I don’t believe that’s good thinking; it’s common. Your spouse is not your friend. In fact, you’d never want to lower your spouse’s position in your life to that of one of your friends. My wife is more than just my friend and so is your spouse. You see friends can come and go. That’s not the type of relationship I’m talking about here. Your spouse is an extension of yourself, the two of you aren’t friends, you’re one. Let me move on.
We have three major practices that we make sure happen within a given year to ensure we’re placing our marriage in the best possible position to be successful. Let me share them with you.
An Annual Retreat
We implemented an annual retreat in our second year of marriage, but it wasn’t until later years we found out how important this vacation time is. We missed one year and it was like the tension was growing out of control every day beyond the year we skipped. What happened? We missed a retreat. So why is the retreat so significant?
When you get away together, it’s like repenting for those of you of faith. Repent means to stop going in one direction (the wrong direction) and begin to move in a different direction. This is what the retreat does for us. All year, all our activities, people, obligations, pull and tug away at our marriage. That’s life. So we need a time dedicated to pull it back together and the funny thing is, it doesn’t take much time to come back together, especially when you have uninterrupted time together. During this time you rediscover why you’re together in the first place and rediscover that this is indeed your best relationship.
Every relationship needs this time away from the ebb-and-flow of the normal life. You need the time to get re-energized about each other and your purpose. Your best relationship is impacted by the waves of life and the two of you without knowing it can easily drift apart. Before you know it, you can be out of reach of each other and end up on your own or alone. With intentional times to stop the drifting and to swim back towards each other, you can begin to get back on course. It’s easy, but it must be intentional.
Projects For Partnering Together
For this point, I need to preach to you for just a moment. When God made Adam, He gave Adam the entire world and put Adam to work. The problem arose that Adam had no one to help him who was like him. So God made Eve, a woman, and was very specific as to what He made her. He said He needed someone suitable to be Adam’s partner in the assignment God gave him. Eve was Adam’s equal partner. In other words, God gave Adam a person, who could help him with his projects.
In your business and career, you work on projects all the time. It’s what makes a team a team, having something to work on or towards. Since you’re a couple, you need some things to partner on. Projects are key to having a partnership within your marriage. As a couple, you must have work to do together. Pamela might say we have way too much work to do together. You see projects keep you from being derailed by the minuscule issues of life. The more projects, the harder the projects, the more involved the projects, the less time you can spend fighting and arguing over stuff that simply doesn’t matter. And accomplishing a project together, gives you the sense of significance that’s usually achieved individually, but instead is achieved with your most important person on the planet. If you’re going to win, wouldn’t you want your win to be with your spouse?
Our day to day work is made into projects. Pamela and I partner even when it comes to our careers. We work together on our leadership skills and how we want our work environments to look and feel. We setup projects in support of our life’s purpose. We have projects for our home and our future. We create projects for our family vacations and functions. We create projects for everything and make it a point to work together. The more we work together the better we get and the better we work together. In fact, I’d like to make this statement. You (I) should work better with your (my) spouse than we do with anyone else on the planet. I’m often asked how I get Pamela to work with me on all my various projects? The response is this, her life is my life and my life is her life and our life is our business. We’ve decided to run our business together as equal partners. She owns it and so do I.
Conferences and Seminars
One final note, you might be wondering do we attend conferences or seminars to strengthen our marriage and the answer is yes, but no. We are people of faith and as a result, we attend many services throughout a given year and many of those services target marriage, marital roles, relationships, and such. We don’t however intentionally sign up for marriage conferences and here’s why. Doing so can sometimes tear a couple apart rather than help to build them, so we’ve decided to be very intentional with who imparts into our marriage and so should you. You could have really great intentions, but receive information that might not align with where your life, your business is headed.
I’ve seen couples who before a marriage conference were doing fine. They attended, the wife heard what the husband should be doing, but wasn’t and the husband heard what the wife should be doing, but wasn’t. When they got back home, a clash began due to what they heard when all along they were okay prior. They ended up being worse off after the conference. Needless to say, you and your spouse are responsible for what you do to better your relationship, not some conference, or some church, or what you see in other marriages. God has your setup totally different than anyone else’s. What do the two of you agree needs to happen to take it, your marriage, to the next-level?
When you treat your best relationship like it’s your best relationship, then you’ll do whatever’s necessary to make sure it remains your best relationship. Caring for your marriage should be your top priority as it impacts everything you do and all the relationships you have.
Today is Friday!
What would having an annual retreat for you and your spouse do for your marriage? How could working together on projects change how you and your spouse partner together in life? What could the two of you gain by attending conferences, seminars, or church services designed to strengthen your marriage? Your life is your spouse’s life and your lives together are your business. Do whatever it takes to make the best of it.
Happy Valentines Day and thanks for visiting kerryAclark.com.
Until next Friday, do me a favor and share this with someone you know.