By Michael Linn
I have been blessed that a good portion of my counseling work involves working with married couples and couples that are preparing for marriage. My experience has taught me that although no married couple is the same, the reason that couples seek out counseling is usually similar. Typically, there is a betrayal of trust on some level, selfish motives, and usually there is a major breakdown of communication. Either one of the partners, if not both, have begun to isolate their thoughts, feelings, words, and actions from the other person.
In Proverbs 18:1 (ESV) it states, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” The Bible says that isolating ourselves can create bad judgment and selfish decisions. Here are five important ways to safeguard your marriage and create a healthy and intimate bond with your partner.
1. Take time each day to pray together – I know that we live in a society that is fast paced and busy. In couples where at least one partner works, odds are that the two are going to be separated from each other more than they are awake and together within a given day. But, couples have to take time to pray with one another and not just at the dinner table with the children around. Husbands should initiate this with their wives and set aside private time for this time with God.
2. Read the Bible and daily devotionals – Part of praying together should also involve immersing in God’s word and completing a daily devotional. A devotional book should be challenging, pose important questions to discuss, and give some direction in talking about past, present, and future. Find a local Christian bookstore to locate a good daily couple’s devotional.
3. Involve each other when making important decisions – There should be no secrets within a marriage and this includes making decisions. Couples should know each other on such an intimate level that they know decisions and choices that are being made by each other. On all important decisions, consult one another and make mutual decisions, especially when it comes to finances, parenting issues, future goals, etc. Every couple should set aside at least 20-30 minutes each day just to talk with one another privately.
4. Continue to make time for fun activities – When two people meet each other and begin their dating and courtship, there is excitement and optimism. There is also a lot of planning and commitment to having date nights. Keeping the romantic love alive can be tough when couples have children and are tired from their long days at work. But, planning date nights and small getaways can be a great way to keep the love and passion burning for one another.
5. Get involved in church and Christian community together – Finding a local church where both can grow spiritually and socially is vital for a married couple. Hebrews 10:24-25 reads “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Attending a church where you both feel comfortable will allow you both to serve the body of Christ and make Christian friends along the way.
Michael Linn, M.Ed., is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is the director of Safe Harbor Christian Counseling of South Central PA with office locations in Chambersburg, Gettysburg, and Carlisle offices. Please visit http://www.safeharbor1.com for more information or call 717-264-0614.