Q: My husband and I are both teachers, and so we spend a lot of time together in the summer. How can we maximize this time to strengthen our marriage?
Traveling by car on a summer vacation is often preceded by an oil change, visual inspection of belts and hoses, proper inflation of tires, and sometimes even a tune-up. Most of us would never imagine going to a service station and saying to the attendant, “Do whatever you like.” Instead, we would want to know the specifics of any concerns before deciding how to address them.
Summer is actually a great time to assess our marriages. Just like a mechanic can catch the beginning of a problem and take corrective action, the same is true with a marriage. If we pay attention to specifics at regular intervals, we can often avoid major problems that may result from inattention, unhealthy practices, or the formation of bad habits.
Following are some questions that each of you can rate on a 0-10 satisfaction scale (0 represents no satisfaction while 10 represents perfect satisfaction). Do this separately and then come together to talk about the numbers. Talk first about the strengths you have identified before moving to the areas upon which you can strategize to improve.
– How we make decisions
– How well you feel your spouse listens
– Enjoying time together
– Comfort in sharing feelings
– How we manage conflict
– How we share day-to-day chores and tasks
– My trust in my spouse
– My spouse’s trust in me
– Sharing faith and spiritual concerns
– Relationship with in-laws
– Management of finances
– Free time together
– Support and encouragement you receive from your mate
Whether caring for a “classic” car or building a classic marriage, at the end of the day it is all about intentionality. But it is also about sacrifice and grace. That is what Christ modeled as the Bridegroom to His resplendent Bride the church. Are you being intentional? Are you being sacrificial? Are you being graceful?