No matter how easy it is to fall in love, staying in love requires attention and effort. Most people drift into love, marriage and family without a whole lot of conscious planning about the kind of relationship they want to have five, 10 or 20 years down the track.
Whether you are married, engaged or dating, it is never too late to be more intentional in your relationship.
Being proactive in your relationship means setting relationship goals, actively seeking skills and education to become more effective lovers, and regularly reflecting on your relationship to update your goals.
For Christians, being intentional in our relationships is more than just a nice idea, it’s part of our Christian responsibility. God meets us in and through our relationships. Christian marriage is not just a mutually convenient living arrangement, it’s a vocation. That means that God has given us a ‘mission to love’.
My mission is to be a messenger of God’s love to my spouse, to love him/her as best as humanly possible so that God’s love will be real and believable. This mission is like a job description and to do the job well, I have to do more than just show up occasionally. I have to give more than the leftovers of my time and attention after work, hobbies, family and other interests have taken their bit.
Make your Relationship Intentional!
Three tips to help you make your relationship a priority:
- The Date Claimer | When life is busy and couple time gets crowded out, look for opportunities to ‘claim a date’. For example, we often claim a ‘driving date’ when one of the kids needs a pick up from a friend’s house. It only needs one person to do the chore, but by doing it together, it gives us some precious time together.
- EDRs = Essential Daily Rituals | EDR’s form the bedrock of a healthy relationship. Establish a simple, daily routine that operates as a connection ritual. For example, we like to walk around the block after dinner. It’s our time to debrief without interruptions… and, we get some exercise too!
- Quantity Time | When life is busy we often justify our relationship neglect with plans for intensive ‘quality time’. The truth is, quality time doesn’t happen in isolation. You can’t just show up for a big romantic date and get into the mood in a snap if you’ve barely connected all week. Relationships need time; leisurely, wasteful time. So pay attention to the low intensity ‘quantity time’ you have together.
For dating & engaged couples: Establish good habits early. It’s a lot harder to change a bad habit than it is start a good one, so begin early. Set up your dating interactions with a view to how you’d like to be in ten years time. More tips and info…
Quiz: How well do you know your partner?
Take your best guess then test your answers by asking them…
1. His/her favourite storybook character
2. A fond childhood memory
3. His/her most pressing worry
4. A childhood dream
5. A childhood frustration
6. The thing that gives him/her the most joy right now