By Byron and Francine Pirola
EVERY New Year’s Eve it’s the same; we resolve to lose weight, get fit, cut back on bad habits and bring more balance into our lives.
And sometimes, we even do follow through, even if only for a few months.
These are not bad resolutions. The question is: are these things the ones on which we should be focusing our energies? Or is there something more significant, more rewarding, more Godly?
Prioritise Your Marriage
Keiran and Lucy are only three years married. They had found their marriage preparation course really valuable.
NYE resolution: to enrol in a marriage course to learn new relationship skills and grow in their knowledge of Catholic marriage.
It’s been a tough year for Cathy and Sam with too much busyness and their relationship has suffered through neglect.
NYE resolution: 15-minute daily debrief to share the highlights of their day.
Most people think good marriages just happen spontaneously; that if you marry the right person with the right chemistry and the right disposition, then your marriage will be effortless.
In truth, no relationship of depth and duration is effortless. All long-term, successful marriages are founded on a deep commitment to ongoing growth in intimacy.
They don’t leave their relationship to chance, but actively foster habits which deepen their intimacy and belonging.
Most couples will tell you that some of the hardest times in their relationship were the greatest periods of growth as a couple. That is often true, but “growing through crisis” is a passive way to live your life and not the only way, nor the best way. Like anything in life worth having, intentional growth and development is the better pathway to success.
So in a marriage, the intimacy we want happens best when we are intentional in seeking it. This means we both need to be prepared to prioritise our relationship over other interests.
One of the most important resolutions we can make is to give our marriages higher priority. When we get marriage right, everything else tends to fall into place.
Whatever trials and troubles we may face, a strong marriage bond means that we face them together with the power of an unshakable love between us.
Trouble with the kids, difficulties at work, heartache in the extended family, sickness, unemployment, crisis of faith – all these and more can be managed so much better when we, as a couple, are strongly bonded. Our marriage becomes a resource to draw on, rather than another problem to manage.
So for this New Year, here are some possible resolutions to enrich your marriage.
Time: Make your marriage a priority in your calendar. Evaluate how much “couple time” you have in a typical week (watching TV together doesn’t count!). Schedule a minimum of 15 minutes every day for just the two of you. Work out how you will do this … share a coffee, take an evening walk, have breakfast together.
Attention: Pay attention to the good in each other. Every day tell your spouse at least one thing that you appreciated about them in the past day.
Care: Learn (or ask) what helps your spouse feel most loved and connected to you. Perhaps it’s a romantic dinner, doing some recreational activity together, long conversations, or making love. Whatever is most deeply desired by your spouse, commit to loving your spouse this way at least once a week.
Byron and Francine Pirola are the founders and co-authors of the SmartLoving programs and resources. www.smartloving.org
Slide Post: http://smartloving.org/nye-resolutions/