First of all, let me just say that I do not claim to be a marriage expert. But I do have strong views about how being intentional in marriage can benefit any relationship. Because I’ve lived it…this is how I purposefully construct my marriage with Wildland Man. But I certainly won’t lie to you and tell you that what we have is perfection. Because it is not. But I keep going back to the intentionality in our relationship as one of the major contributing factors to our growing and ever-changing love for one another.
In my previous post, “Choosing an Intentional Marriage,” I shared why it is important to me to practice intentionality in relationships. I’ve also shared specific resources that Wildland Man and I have used over the years to help our marriage grow deeper in connection and in faith. You can read more about those in a future post series titled The Country Wife Recommends…, specifically “The Country Wife Recommends…Christian Marriage Resources” post which will be publishing next week.
I remember a time when an intentional marriage seemed somewhat foreign to me; where do I start, how do I make the effort? I found that having a list of ideas that I could mold into something that seemed feasible for us was the starting point for me. So, today, I’m giving you a list of five ways you can make an intentional effort in your marriage starting right now.
Before I reveal this list, I should mention that from personal experience, this is not a quick fix. Making a daily effort takes time, patience, and faith. And being intentional in marriage, is more than just daily efforts. It’s seeking God together, committing to move through the highs and lows of life side by side, and always keeping open lines of communication—even when your spouse is the last one you want to talk to about something. On the other hand, the little efforts do add up and shouldn’t be brushed away as non-impactful. It’s about starting small, making your marriage a priority, and showing your spouse that they matter.
5 Ways to be Intentional in your Marriage Today
- 1) Do Something Your Spouse Enjoys—on Purpose: It is easy to neglect our spouse’s interest when we are consumed with our own agenda or to-do list. When Wildland Man and I were dating, I’m sure I did a lot of things I wouldn’t necessarily care to do if it weren’t for him enjoying them. I try not to get too comfortable in the independence that can come with marriage. Every now and again, I make a point to set aside some time to do what he wants to do. Hang out with him when pursuing a hobby, go out to eat where he wants to go, let him pick the movie on movie night. It’s not about enjoying the activity as much as it is about getting in some quality time with my man.
- 2) Binge Watch Your Favorite Shows Together: Wildland Man and I have never had much for TV in our house; we’ve always either just had an antenna or paid for the very minimum cable subscription. So, to us, sitting down to watch some of our favorite shows that we don’t get at home is fun. It’s an excuse to take a day off and slow down, cuddle up on the couch, veg out and just enjoy each other’s company. This is a great rainy day activity or lazy Sunday afternoon date and there are tons of options these days. We like to rent seasons of our favorite shows for free from our public library. But there’s always Netflix, Hulu, and a lot of networks have episodes available to watch for free on their websites.
- 3) Compliment Your Spouse: It’s ironic how sometimes the person we love the most gets the short end of the stick when it comes to our verbal admiration and compliments. We can take for granted that they know how we feel and often leave them feeling under appreciated. So, this one is simple, just make a point to compliment your spouse today. And if you want to take it a step further, write out a nice card or love letter that expresses your feelings just because…no holiday or anniversary necessary. When Wildland Man makes a point to buy a card and send it home to me while he’s away on a fire, I literally melt, and bawl, and just feel so. dang. loved. I like to list out the reasons I need Wildland Man in my life and why I love him so when I give him a card for any occasion. These small acts and words show your spouse that you respect and appreciate them for who they are as a person.
- 4) Plan a Romantic Dinner at Home: It is so easy to just do what you have always done around the house when you are married. There isn’t much left for nerves or excitement when it comes to dinner together or a simple date night. Now, personally, I don’t think this is such a bad thing—it’s more of a comfort thing. And one I appreciate dearly. But that does mean you have to work a little harder to make the norm feel special once in awhile. For us, I try to pencil in a little nicer dinner on the meal plan once in awhile—one with all the fixin’s, appetizers and dessert, because that is something we don’t usually have. Then I’ll get out the nice glasses, some wine or sparkling cider, and light some candles. All of a sudden a quiet dinner at home has a romantic appeal. We tend to linger at the table longer, just talking. We laugh and slow down and really pay attention to one another instead of just hurrying through a meal as we often find ourselves doing. Such a simple gesture pays big dividends in our relationship.
- 5) Do Something Out of the Ordinary: To get out of the rut of mundane in your marriage you have to first make a change. So, I like to make a point to do something out of the ordinary for Wildland Man every now and again. I might make an entire meal from start to finish for him, which is usually his task in the kitchen while I’m on clean-up duty. Or bake his favorite dessert just because. Maybe I’ll make a point to run a specific errand for him when I’m in town or give him a back rub after work. Or we’ll go out for dinner together on a whim. Whatever it is, I’m choosing to change things up a bit and show Wildland Man that I love him and care about him enough to go out of my way for him with no particular reason to do so. The mundane can’t continue if you are always reinventing what is expected.
So, now it’s up to you. It’s your turn to pick an idea from this list and put it into action today. You can mold and shape one of these ideas into something that is a perfect fit for you and your spouse. Maybe this list is just the beginning of the brainstorming that is taking place in your mind right now. What you choose in making the effort when it comes to love is really not the point, it’s that you are choosing to make the effort. And that is what intentional marriage is all about.
Be Still & Know…