Ok – so it’s that time of year again. The ‘Weight Watchers’ commercials are in overdrive. You’re thinking about all that was 2014 and what you hope 2015 to be. You’re wondering about the changes that you’d like to bring to your life to make it a little better than the last 12 months. It’s the late December/early January norm called ‘New Year’s Resolutions’.
But if you’re anything like me, typically by February 1 you can’t remember where you were for Christmas, let alone what major life goal changes you resolved to commit to. Just read the dismal stats on people that actually carry out their resolutions and you’ll probably resolve to never resolve again.
Lets face it: there are some things in life that are worth ‘resolving’ to grow in. But while everyone is trying to entice you to shed a few pounds or spend more time with your kids, can I suggest prioritizing your efforts simply based on priority?
For me, the most important person in my life is my wife. As a Christ-follower my relationship with Jesus is the most central, but I’ll get to that in a second.
However saying my wife is important and living it are 2 very different things. As I have been thinking about some things I would like to grow in in 2015, I keep coming back to my marriage and how I don’t want it to become ho-hum…stale…decrepit…mediocre…boring…stagnant…you get the drift. But like any business decision, ministry decision, football or hockey game plan, you’ll never consistently produce on the field or ice what you don’t plan on. Similarly, when it comes to our marriages without a plan your best puffy-cloud dreams will become vaporous nightmares. So: we need to set goals in our marriage and we need to work hard to achieve them.
However…we’re guys. To a certain extent the incessant ‘caveman’ stereotypes, though slightly offensive, are most likely lined with a little bit of truth. Though we can remember with ease how many yards our favourite QB threw for last week, we can’t remember what our wives told us to pick up at the grocery store on the way home from work. So as guys we need things kept simple and slightly Neanderthal-ish. Can I share with you just TWO things that could radically shift the paradigm of your marriage? TWO things that if consistently applied you’ll see results within months if not weeks? Here’s the 2 words to remember:
LOCK and LOVE.
LOCK into your calendar weekly, bi-weekly or monthly dates.
LOVE Jesus more this year than last year.
So now a LITTLE bit of detail….please try to focus and stay with me for 60 more seconds 🙂
LOCK into your calendar weekly, bi-weekly or monthly dates
Guys – this can revolutionize your marriage. It will create a sense of appreciation in your wife and gives you both something to look forward to on a consistent basis. To hear a woman’s perspective, this is what my wife said when I asked her why our ‘dates’ mean so much to her:
“When you initiate a ‘date’ it means you’re intentionally setting aside time for just the two of us…it’s a priority. It means a lot to me when you’re intentionally pursuing. It tells me you’re thinking about me; you’re doing something that means a lot to me.”
“Spending time together is important to me because I don’t have to compete with anything else.”
Wow – all that just from making sure we spend a little bit of time together.
Guys – don’t freak out. Your ‘dates’ with your wife doesn’t have to be doing something that you dread – do something you BOTH enjoy doing. For my wife and I it’s sushi. We try to get away just the two of us at least once a month to have lunch and just spend time with each other. The conversation doesn’t have to do be deep and based on the script of your wife’s favourite ‘Hallmark’ movie. Just keep it light and simple. If there are things that are important that need to be discussed – great. But don’t let that scare you. Just enjoy your time together and make sure you both understand it’s not a time to unload and dump on your spouse.
But to make this work – the optimal word is LOCK. You have to LOCK this thing into your calendar. It’s a non-negotiable. All things being normal and equal, you will never miss this appointment. If something freakish happens to your calendar (and by freakish I mean like a meteor about to hit earth) and you have to miss it, you immediately move it to the next available time slot.
The regular LOCK can transform your marriage. If you don’t think so just go back and re-read my wife’s comments about how much it means to her. Your wife is probably no different.
LOVE Jesus more this year than last year.
I don’t want to lose you here – don’t check out. You don’t have to be a spiritual giant to apply this – but you do need to be a follower of Jesus. It goes without saying that for a follower of Christ the most important relationship is your relationship with Him. But very importantly (because we are followers of Christ and we recognize that Christ has purchased our very lives with His own blood) as goes our relationship with Christ so goes all other relationships. When things are rocky between you and Jesus things just don’t seem right – period (if things are rocky and you feel fine then you’re heading in the wrong direction fast or you and Jesus were never a ‘thing’ to begin with). So:
– Pursue a better relationship with Jesus, and your marriage will naturally reap great benefits from that.
– If things are not good with you and Jesus (as a Christ-follower) your marriage will suffer.
You and Jesus…again – nothing complicated here guys…just simple relational ‘stuff’ that can drastically improve things with you and the Lord. If you could think of the one area of your relationship with Christ that needs the greatest improvement, what would it be?
- How often you talk to Him through prayer?
- How often He talks to you through the Bible?
- Areas of your life you’ve let slip that you know are not honouring to Him?
- An occasional boredom that you want to replace with spiritual zeal and excitement (like you used to have)?
Hey, we ALL could pick ALL of these as things we need to grow in…so how about you just pick ONE? Yes – I said it…ONE? Scrap all the guilt trips of all the things you think you’re failing in between you and Christ and just focus on one area you want to grow in. I guarantee this: once you start to see improvement in that one area it will be like a snow-ball effect on all the others. Eventually MANY areas of your relationship with Christ will be making headway.
So guys – we care deeply for our wives, right? TWO things to focus on as we move into 2015: LOCK and LOVE. Are you willing to step up and out in your relationship with your wife?
How are you planning on growing in your relationship with your spouse and your Lord this coming year?