Today on Marriage Monday I will be speaking to all marriages -- in and out of crisis. Because investing in your marriage is something we all need to do. It can be a preventive or reparative measure, depending on where your marriage is, but we all need to invest in our marriage.
"Invest" can mean a whole list of things: time, money, emotion, energy, whatever. We seem to be short on all of those around here, so it would mean a lot to invest that toward a marriage.
Of course, "investing" can be as simple as a date night, or as extensive/ expensive as a week's vacation away, or an extended time in therapy (I'm not joking -- you may need either, and you can decide which you need the most). Therapy can be costly, but, again, it's an investment that is well worth your marriage.
Think about your television and all that goes to it: Netflix, cable, etc. You should spend at least as much time and money on your marriage as you do in front of the television and on the television, I think. You may even think so, too, and wish your spouse would do that. Well, if you have some leeway in your family's budget or money that is yours "for fun", make that your "date money" -- don't resent your spouse for not thinking of it, bless your spouse and think of it for them.
Dates or mini-vacations don't have to be expensive (TRUST me-- I am the queen of going cheap on this) the important thing is that you take the time to go be with your spouse. Swap babysitting with another couple and just go for ice cream if you have to, but have date time for you.
Beyond dates and time for you, I strongly encourage you to also spend time learning. I confess that I spent YEARS thinking that I had heard PLENTY on the subject of marriage (and, no doubt, I was blessed in my early years to hear a LOT on the subject) but God continues to humble me and reveal to me that there is always more to learn or a new way to think about an old adage.
There is no shortage of resources for learning about marriage: workshops, retreats, books, etc. I have several that I, personally, recommend (DISCLAIMER: some of these I recommend based on personal knowledge, and some of these I recommend based on the advice of others).
This week, in my very town, I will be attending Love and War with John and Stasi Eldredge, for instance. Tickets are AMAZINGLY reasonable and I hope that everyone in this area will be attending. If you aren't in this area, check here to see if the Eldredges will be coming to your area.
Lifeway also has a marriage retreat weekend in several cities throughout the country. I have not personally attended one, but they, too, seem VERY reasonably priced for the caliber of experts that are speaking -- with lunch included!
If none of this appeals to you, consider a simple book study. Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas would be first on my list. Gather friends or a small group around you and go through the book together. Or, if you have the opportunity to go to an event where Gary Thomas is speaking, by all means go.
You may be just FIRED UP to go, yet thinking, "Oh, s/he would NEVER go for it... s/he would think it is stupid/ too expensive/ waste of time/ name a reason."
Don't assume your spouse's feelings before you have communicated your own feelings to your spouse.
If you have had conversations in the past that lead you to believe that this conversation may not go well, start by taking your desires before the Lord (Psalm 37:4). After you have prayed about it, tell your spouse: "This event is really important to me to understand you better. Do you have any interest in going?" If yes, then super and start making arrangements. If no, then drop it -- and you have to decide if going alone will build up more resentment for you or you will be able to lay that aside and benefit from the lessons there.
Don't waste time being hurt or resentful that your spouse won't take the lead in any of this. There may be any of a million reasons for that, and if you are a Christian, you are coming at marriage as serving your spouse. How can you serve your spouse? Serve your spouse by taking him/her on a date. Serve your spouse by learning all that you can about how to serve him/ her better. Serve your spouse by knowing and loving God the Father above all so that His love can spill over onto your spouse, also.
Spend your time, money, and energy on your marriage. Invest in your marriage. The dividends are so rewarding.