It’s January and everyone is focused on losing weight, being active, embracing abandoned disciplines. Due to parties and family gatherings we may have neglected our normal routines. It’s time to pull in the reins and begin anew.
Maybe your marriage is feeling neglected as well. Maybe it needs a FITness routine to help jump start a new normal.
We have come up with a simple plan if followed will set your marriage on a good course for 2023.
- F – Friendship. Yes. Friendship is the foundation of a great marriage. If this has been neglected or replaced with other friends over the years, it’s time to make adjustments. Maybe you feel the distance created by a lack of common interests. Consider taking up a new hobby together. Tom and I have never been big football fans, but this year we decided to learn more about the game. We have enjoyed time together rooting on our favorite teams–Go Gators! Go Bills! Maybe its movies, or Pickle Ball? Hiking or Biking? Bowling or doing puzzles? There are lots of choices, active or sedate that can help rebuild your friendship. There is a caution though–If this has been neglected for years in your relationship, it may take more than just a change of schedule. It may require counseling to help you both come to a place of complete understanding and trust. Be patient. Remember to grow a friendship you must be a friend first.
- I – Intimacy. Intimacy won’t deepen if friendship, understanding and trust aren’t present. This is why it is not first on the list. If you are doing well as friends, then intimacy needs intentionality and time to grow. Talk about regular date nights and whether or not this is something important to your spouse, for every couple is different. Just because “so and so” have regular dates doesn’t mean your marriage is less if you don’t. It’s what intimacy means to you and your spouse. Talk about what growing in spiritual, emotional, physical and intellectual intimacy would look like for you. Then make changes to accommodate time and space for it to happen. Study your spouse and discover what would bless them. This is a good habit to continue to build intimacy through all seasons of marriage.
- T – Talk. If you aren’t talking about important issues you aren’t growing closer together. To push conflict or struggles aside is to cause drift in your marriage. Misunderstanding and hurt feelings won’t go away by ignoring them. It will certainly fester and become a bigger problem in the years to come. Talking can be hard, especially when there are hurt feelings involved. Any healthy marriage has learned how to do this. But how? By doing it and learning what is helpful and what isn’t. No one has a perfect marriage. Ask any couple who is succeeding and they will tell you of difficult seasons they had to grow through. Like a physical trainer has to break down bad habits in order to build muscle and strength. A strong marriage didn’t start out that way. It took years of choosing to be FIT.
After reading these 3 steps, what areas are in need of attention in your relationship? May 2023 be the year your marriage grows FIT for a lifetime.
Footnote: I delayed this post after watching the Buffalo Bills player, Damar Hamlin, collapse on the field during the first quarter of their playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals. It has been determined he suffered cardiac arrest. It was horrific to see. Our prayers are with this young man (age 24) and his family.