15 ways to be intentional in your marriage…

WORDS 2014

VISION BOARD 2014

For too many years before we met we took too much for granted, sleepwalking through life in a self-infatuated stupor.

No numbering the days when we thought there was an endless supply.

No vision of where we wanted to end or how we might get there.

Careless.

And the wreckage left behind is not pretty.

Divorces, broken hearts, hurting children.

And our examples a poor reflection of the glory of God who created marriage as a holy covenant of companionship for one man, one woman, for life. And a solidly loving and respectful marriage is a portrayal of Christ’s relationship with His believers.

And more’s the pity.

While we made precious promises at the altar in years gone by our hearts didn’t follow through intentionally. Half a lifetime passed before we surrendered all to God, realizing that every choice made is witnessed, every word uttered is heard, and God who is holy takes us wholly at our word.

Expecting us to keep it, yet forgiving us when we don’t and us grateful seventy times seven.

Our sad days of darkness turned into years as we sped circles in a relationship demolition derby where everyone lost.

But God’s tender mercy drove us forward at every bend in the road until our lives intersected. We share our story hoping it may allow others to avoid the pain we have known.

HAPPILY

Joining together later in the game we are acutely aware of making every moment count, making up for lost time and all that was ravaged by an army of hungry locusts.

Seeking, knocking and asking and the waning winds of 2013 whispering.

Be intentional — live with intention.

And we may stumble along the way but every step brings us closer to God’s ideal.

Being more like Jesus, especially in our marriage.

God giving grace for growing as a husband and wife. And Him pleased when we bend the knee grateful and rise to the task of doing our utmost for Him.

Yet how often do spouses put marriages on auto-pilot or worse and then worry and wonder why they aren’t finding satisfaction. But wishes are only that until we start living the glory of God — the essence of who we are — in a purposeful manner in our marriages.

And marriages done well, whether they are five months or 50 years old, are perfect portraits for showing the world that God is love and God is good. And miracles happen every day.

LONGINGS END

Our marriage began in July 2011 after a 47-day courtship. And that after years of traveling the hard road which included divorces and broken relationships, old wounds and bad words, sinfulness and great sorrow.

The steep learning curve in the past two and a half years brought healing and growth, both individually and as a couple, and a deeper relationship with God. And lessons are learned every new day, too.

As my Michael wrote me recently, Our journey to this, our third Christmas, hasn’t been easy. We have known both elation and disappointment, courage and fear. Yet at every moment we have enjoyed the safety of soul that Father provided for us in his Son, our beloved savior, Jesus. In him lies our hope and fulfillment of our destiny.

Our big destiny is living our lives as Mr. and Mrs. Little Christs with a marriage that gives Him glory.

Each day an opportunity to love better and live on purpose, not wasting anymore time for too many years were spent in the badlands and nothing is ever guaranteed.

And we know that marriages aren’t only killed by abuse, addictions or infidelity. They can die from neglect, disrespect, selfishness and a lack of love. And sometimes, with the latter, the end coming isn’t seen until it’s too late.

With 2014 stretching out ahead we ask the Lord for laser-focus love and grace to intentionally build an even stronger and sweeter union.

LONGINGS END INTENTIONAL 2

**1. Practice love according to 1 Corinthians 13.

**2. Be the first to say I’m sorry.

**3. Never hold onto bad feelings or poor attitudes.

**4. Remember your manners. Kindness counts.

**5. Stop nagging, bossing and complaining.

**6. Start respecting, appreciating and thanking. Magnify your mate’s good points especially in moments of contention, impatience or irritation.

**7. Seek to serve and look for ways to help your spouse.

**8. Take nothing for granted in your marriage. A friend of mine who recently lost her husband commented that there are 1,000 things about her man that she misses terribly and she is grieving each one. Count your blessings.

**9. Prayerfully create a shared vision for your marriage. Dream together. Marriage is a duet and each partner’s heart desire must resound in any plans for the future.

**10. Choose to be second. Marriage is not about me but we.

**11. Surprise each other with little gifts just to make the other smile.

**12. Take turns planning date nights and think outside the box.

**13. Don’t flirt with your co-worker or ex. Ever!

**14. Pursue your spouse by blessing each other, spending time together and enjoying sexual intimacy.

**15. Never forget that as you treat another, you treat Jesus. And as one flesh, one heart, if you choose to hurt your partner you will hurt yourself.

As Christians we should strive to be one in marriage, as God is one, so commit this verse to heart and make it a priority with your spouse.

As God’s prisoner, then, I beg you to live lives worthy of your high calling. Accept life with humility and patience, making allowances for each other because you love each other. Make it your aim to be at one in the Spirit, and you will inevitably be at peace with one another.
Ephesians 4:1-3

~sheila

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21 thoughts on “15 ways to be intentional in your marriage…

  1. Dear Sheila
    There was a time in my marriage when I tried my utmost to make things work out, until our Lord reminded me that unless He builds the house, those who build, build in vain. Yes, we are blessed once we realize that without Him being the Centre and Anchor in a marriage, chances are slim that it will ever be a happy relationship. Michael and your relationship is such a good example of this truth and I love hearing your love for one another even in written words. Big hug to Hubs from me and a thank you for making you so happy!
    Blessings XX
    Mia

  2. I was reading this morning about Job’s wife. She grew impatient with him and added to his pain.
    As a wife, I never want to ADD to my husbands pain, but I do that when I grow impatient with him. Instead I should be praying for him and releasing him from the pressure I place on him and allowing God the freedom to work in him.

    Great list.

  3. I’m blessed, too. I was divorced in ’84 after 15 years of marriage. A year later, the Lord dropped Dave into my life suddenly, and we were engaged in about 5 days, and married in 4 months It will be 29 years during this ’14. He’s wonderful, loving, good, kind, very caring. And much younger than I am.. he was 25 and I was 40 at the wedding. He’d not been married. And had been very involved in church and a youth leader. I had youth when I entered that church, and that’s how we met. Being with a godly, caring man has been a real treat. Now he’s 54 and I am 68. So, as long as I’m still on earth, he’s stuck with me, doncha think? AND my kids really respect him as their “dad”. He’s been very good with them, too. Good guy, to say the least. And still very heavily involved in church/churches. A piano teacher, piano/organ player, fixer-upper with anything needed to be done for a fix-up situation. Anyhow, HE doesn’t think he’s perfect. But, compared to the rest of my life, he is. He’s #2 in my life, since the Lord is the high #1. Anyhow, sorry to yammer so long, but life so changed for me when the Lord put Dave in mine. [And I’m pretty good, too, I guess.. he says so. That’s a blessing, believe me!]

    • Thanks so much for sharing your love story, Joanne. When God is in it, it’s a win win situation. What a wonderful gift He gave you in Dave, a man wise and mature beyond his years it seems.I am really happy that it all worked out so well for you and your kids. What an amazing blessing and such a sweet story to wake up to! God bless you both with a long and happy marriage.

  4. Thank you for sharing with us here at “Tell Me a Story,” your excellent list to be intentional in your marriage. No matter how many years you have been married this reminder should be copied and placed on the refrigerator as a reminder. I love it.

    • Thanks Hazel…I was thinking that too. Michael and I are being very intentional this year {it’s our One Word} in all areas of life and after I finish typing this comment to you I am going to print the list 🙂 Blessings to you today and thanks again for letting me share my story with your community.

    • Thanks. One of the most important things for us to focus on after growing our relationship with the Lord, Our marriages truly are very special gifts from God yet they are fragile. BTW, be assured, Laura, that as I have prayed for my cousins about the water in W. Va., you and yours have been on my mind too. Terrible situation! Blessings to all of you…

  5. Sheila….what a fabulous list! So many good points to put into practice to better your marriage. And I am always stressing being intentional in all areas of life. Thank you for the encouragement and for sharing at WJIM’s Monday’s Musings. Blessings.

  6. This was an awesome post! I loved all your ideas for being intentional in marriage! Thanks for sharing and for linking up for Marriage Monday!

  7. Amen Sheila – I’m printing this list out for the fridge…
    It’s just beautiful, your redemption story – our Jesus is just so marvelous… and, as we co-operate with Him, He really does change us.

    • He really does, Ali. But we gotta stay in it to win it! so to speak. Pressing in to Him, reading His word, taking it to heart not just memorizing words, praying and practicing the presence of God in every moment of every hour like Brother Lawrence. Good to see you, Ali 🙂