As we all have now turned the bend on this new trip around the sun, I sense a familiar, uncanny faith that this year my goals will come to fruition. Truthfully, I love New Years because of the new hope it somehow gives. I love to spend time reflecting on the past year and making goals for the new year ahead. Yes, we’re half-way in to January by now, but if you haven’t taken the time to reflect and re-prioritize for the new year, here’s your chance! I always say January is a practice month, February is when the real work begins.
I’d like to share with you my marital goals for 2015 and encourage you to consider them for your marriage this year. Keep in mind, the most important relationship–aside from God–is your husband. Establishing goals around your marriage is a wonderful way to keep focused on what’s most important in your life.
Consider Your Habits
My favorite quote for many years has been:
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
Aristotle’s quote is quite applicable in marriage as well. What generally ruins marriages are poor habits. Addiction, anger, criticizing, complaining, moping, disrespecting, nagging, and unrestrained thinking are some examples of habits that are disastrous for a marriage.
Sometimes it feels daunting to get rid of all of our bad habits. However, just start working in good habits and slowly the bad habits will be pushed out of the way. I want to infuse my marriage with as many good habits as possible. Here are the ways I especially plan to increase better habits for our marriage.
1. Compliment Him…In Public
I am a big believer in “we see what we want to see”. If you are looking to compliment your husband, you’ll start to notice the areas that he is awesome. When I focus on giving him encouragement suddenly his great qualities, like being an attentive dad, doing the dishes regularly, and his unwavering diligence at work become so apparent.
I’d like him to know, between the two of us, that he is doing a great job. But, don’t we all feel most encouraged by a compliment when it is shared publicly? Isn’t that why we have award ceremonies, the Oscars, and the Golden Globes? My husband feels especially appreciated when I give him a compliment when we’re with friends. It lets him feel honored (which is of chief importance to your man). I would encourage you to find times that you give him that appreciation when around others.
2. Honor His Love Language
Do you know your husband’s love language? I would encourage you to find out! Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages. It is a wonderful resource about finding out how to make your partner (or anyone really) feel loved. We all have specific ways that we naturally prefer to give and receive love. It’s always hard for me to pick my top one, so I’ll give my top three: time, words of affirmation, and physical touch.
My husband’s primary love language is acts of service. So, it means the world to him when I cook a meal, clean the house, make him coffee in the morning. Sounds like someone has 1930s view of marital roles? Not so, he is incredibly active with the kids, house work, and–if we can swing it eventually–he is enthusiastic about being a stay-at-home dad. But, service is the way he feels most loved. It is not mine, but because I know that about him I choose to serve him. This year, I will up my game in this arena, because I know it means so much to him. What can you do to love your husband in his love language?
3. Establish Boundaries On Your Anger
When we’re having a conversation that turns into a discussion that elevates into an argument, it’s pretty hard for me to keep my keep my voice in check. My husband is very sensitive to the level and tone of my voice. Once I cross the line into yelling, he feels like I am his mother scolding him. You can imagine that makes him completely disengage at a minimum.
I grew up understanding emotions worked I guess like a volcano. Once the lava under the surface got hot, the person unavoidably is going to blow. It doesn’t matter the place or situation, when someone got angry they couldn’t be held responsible for what happened next. That is not reality. It is not the way God talks about our emotions or anger. The Bible says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19).
In my favorite movie, About Time, the mother played by Rachel McAdams finds her daughter shredded and colored on her very important manuscript for work. This happened while her husband, was supposed to be watching her. Rachel, understandably is very angry and wouldn’t let hubby leave the room while she reprimanded him. The phone rang in the middle of her tirade and she answers it with a “What!?”. Immediately her tone, face and behavior changed. We found out that it was her mother-in-law is on the other line to tell of her husband’s sickness. The anger is gone, just like that.
I like this anecdote because it shows that our anger is not immovable or unavoidable. If your pastor walked into your living room in the middle of a heated argument, I am sure you would calm down or begin to speak in much kinder ways. Its time to put some limits on our anger. Establish boundaries that no matter the situation you will not cross.
4. Get Back In Lovemaking Shape
I just had a baby! He is officially a month old, yesterday. I don’t know how you carry babies but I am not great at laying off the sweets during those long, hormonal 9 months. Somehow I think I’m going to gain weight anyway, what’s the point? Not great, but now that I am not pregnant anymore (hallelujah!) I can take responsibility and get the weight off. I’m tracking my food with a handy, free app called: My Fitness Pal and I am signing up for our local gym starting February (once I’m cleared to start).
Of course whatever shape you’re in, you’re in lovemaking shape. So, be lovemaking now! Don’t wait until you feel your body is perfect (your husband can’t wait for that! You are enough!) But if like me, you know you’d feel more comfortable in your own skin, more sexy, and more confident after having shed some pounds then please do it! Especially if you know your husband would appreciate it too! Start with the suggestions I gave, we’ll do this together!
5. Up Your Intimacy Frequency
Being pregnant kind of put a damper on our frequency. And you probably know, after a baby you’re supposed to wait 6 weeks (!!) before making love. There are certainly other things a couple can do during this time to stay intimately connected. But, I am very much looking forward to diving into a normal lovemaking habit again. I am also encouraged to up my game a bit and get life structured in such a way that we’re making love frequently every week (even with a newborn).
6. Learn More About Sex
Yes, I love learning about sex. I have a pretty large bookshelf on the topic. This is a habit I have established. But writing out my intention to continue always helps me to do more. I’d encourage you to do the same.
Why not make this your year to revolutionize your love life? What are you waiting for? If you have hangups in the bedroom (most of us do) realize that can change. With the right information, you can be surprised to be living an incredible sex life. Don’t waste any more months or years having so-so sex with your spouse. Learn what you need to, to liven up your love life!
Prioritize your marriage this year, in all aspects. Marriage effects every part of your life. A great marriage makes for a great life. If yours is on the rocks, get the help you need. Join our community, listen to our podcast (starting in 2015) and check out our blog and resources to get your marriage on track. It’s worth it to do everything you can to get your marriage on track this year!
What are your marriage goals this year? Let me know in the comments!