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I'm getting married in May. My fiancé and I dated for three years before we got engaged and couldn't be more excited to start our lives together. But in reflecting on marriage and getting married in a culture that frankly has forgotten what marriage means, I wanted to share three reasons why I believe marriage matters.
Pastor Andy Stanley takes the concept of guardrails as roadside lifesavers and applies it to marriages, describing how couples can put 'guardrails' around their relationship to protect it from dangerous pitfalls.
As we celebrate "National Marriage Week", culminating with Valentines Day, I reflected with my bride on some practical ways to invest in our relationship. Many of these ideas come from our own limited experience on this adventure called marriage. Please share your own ideas in the comments.
1. Get out on a Date(s): Take the time to talk, connect, and invest in your relationship, even if only for an hour or two to rekindle the spark.
2. Call, text or email your spouse throughout the week: send a word of encouragement or remind them of your love when you are apart.
3. Plan an overnight getaway: Get a baby sitter, and get some down time.
4. Date Night In: Cook their favorite dinner (or carry out), get a bottle of wine, rent a movie you saw together before you were married, and enjoy.
5. Get outdoors together: Go on a walk, hike or some other physical activity that you both enjoy.
6. Read a book together: Find a novel or devotional that interests you both. Read it together and/or separately and then discuss.
7. Work Together on a Project: Make a plan together, plant a Garden, paint a room, organize the garage. Take something old & make it new, give it life.
8. Serve Together: Go do one of the corporal works of mercy together (visit a nursing home or serve a meal at a homeless shelter).
9. Go through your wedding album: remember & reminisce.
10. Start a Marriage Dream list: Share (short & long term) of what you want to do and where you want to go.
11. Write your Spouse a Letter: express your love, tell them why you are grateful for them in your life, remind them of past memories, affirm them as your partner.
12. Forgive that Grudge: Talk with your spouse, forgive them and move on.
13. Pray Together: Share your struggles and what’s on your heart to God through your spouse.
14. Meet & Talk: Different than a date, the goal of this time is to plan and discuss life ahead as well as review how things are going. Get on the same page.
Above all, slow down this week and remember the gift you have in your spouse. Reflect on what brought you together in the first place. Married life is not easy (especially with kids), and can break down over time if not cared for. But, a married relationship can bring great fulfillment, especially if we put forth the effort we once did while dating. Happy Valentines Day.
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