Not because I’m an expert or anything. Not because I know all there is to know about marriage. Not because Wildland Man and I have endured the deepest of depths in a lifelong marriage.
No, I’m not an expert. Or a counselor. I certainly don’t know it all, because I’m constantly trying to figure it out. Over and over again. Day after day. It is an intentional effort on my part to make this marriage not only work, but be great.
Wildland Man and I have had it pretty easy thus far, I’d say. No major tragedies survived or huge obstacles to overcome. And we are going on just shy of 10 years of wedded bliss. So, no, I may not have the most life experience when it comes to marriage. And I am sure I haven’t walked some of the roads you may have in relationships.
But I don’t think that discredits what I have to share. Because all I can share is my experience and what has worked for us.
And if my tips can help just one reader get out of a valley in their marriage, then I’m ok with that. And it makes it all worth sharing in the first place.
My focus is my marriage. It is my passion and my greatest blessing. I have never regretted the effort I have put into developing and strengthening my relationship with Wildland Man.
In the end, I believe, it all really comes down to intentionality.
Building a Foundation for a Strong Marriage
I rarely take anything too lightly. In fact, I’m probably too serious, to a fault, at times. But, for me, marriage is a big deal. And something I really don’t want to fail at.
When Wildland Man and I were dating, we made a point to discuss some the serious aspects of a future together, but when he got down on one knee and asked me to be by his side for the rest of his life, my perspective shifted.
This was a lifelong commitment. And I knew it wasn’t going to be easy all the time. And I definitely knew we couldn’t do it alone.
I believe the firmest foundation you can rest your marriage on is the foundation of faith: a solid reliance on God and the Bible for instruction and guidance.
Just like your house, your marriage is only as good as your foundation. If the foundation is cracked and weak, it is pretty difficult to continue building on it. And a marriage requires constant rebuilding.
So, if you are feeling discontent or disconnected these days in your relationship, take a closer look at your foundation. Does it need some TLC? Are you ignoring or overlooking some issues that need addressed?
It’s easy to stop maintaining our marriage and focus our attention elsewhere in life. We are pulled a million directions, struggling to slow down and absorb it all. Next thing you know, somewhere along the way, your marriage isn’t what it once was.
Even a good marriage, can sit stagnant at good, when it could be great with just a little more intentional effort.
So, where to begin? Well, I want to share a few tips that work for Wildland Man and I.
But please don’t get the wrong idea here. I’m no perfect wife. I mess up, all the time. I get angry for no apparent reason, I hold grudges, and my hormones can really throw Wildland Man under the bus.
But I never quit trying to do better. I never quit making the effort. And I’m not afraid to apologize and try again. It’s about choosing intentional marriage over and over and over again. It is not a one and done decision. It is a lifelong commitment.
And it starts with just one person. With just one small effort. And grows from there.
5 Ways to Reconnect
- Make Communication a Priority: Never stop talking. Just don’t. Even when you don’t want to talk…talk anyway. This has been one of the most strengthening factors in my relationship with Wildland Man. I don’t seek others to talk me through things. I seek him. I talk about my issues with him, to him, not to friends or family. I discuss my concerns about our marriage with him, not my girlfriends. And we make a point to talk, each and every day. Even when he is away on fires. If you don’t already have solid communication built into your marriage, start small. Set a time daily where the two of you can check-in and communicate. Maybe it’s over dinner every night, or pillow talk before bed. Or first thing in the morning before the kids get up. Find the time that works best for you both and make it a priority. You have to start somewhere if you want better communication between the two of you.
- Make Time for Each Other First: Where do the hours in the day go? Or the week, or the month, even the year. Time really just flies by, especially if you live a hectic schedule (yet another reason to slow down). Your time is valuable. And if you don’t carefully budget your time with intentionality, you’ll be amazed as to where it all went. So schedule your days, your weeks, and your months. Be cognizant of where your time is going. And then, once you have a grasp on your time, take a look at where your relationship falls. Does it end up at the bottom? After the kids’ schedule, after your own agenda, after the house-cleaning and career goals? Move it up on the list! Make time for each other first, not last.
- Grow Your Faith: I am living proof that growing your own personal faith can help you reconnect with your spouse. There was a time in which I was in a pretty depressed state and as I began to rely on God more to get me through I found that I was a better wife to Wildland Man. My personal growth in my faith walk did wonders for our marriage relationship. I’ve shared before the importance of each partner having a strong and growing relationship with the Lord and how as each grows closer to God, they in fact grow closer together. So, if you are grasping for reconnection, start with yourself. Take a close look at your faith journey. Spend some time alone with God. Try to be more Christ-like. Your marriage will benefit, trust me.
- Develop Traditions as a Couple: Depending on where you are in your marriage relationship, you have probably already, perhaps unknowingly, developed your own traditions as a couple. Wildland Man and I started ours while dating, not necessarily on purpose. We just loved spending time in the outdoors together. We camped, we hiked, we stargazed, we explored. And that is still our thing. Since being married and moving away, we’ve developed more traditions as a couple, like traveling and spending the holidays alone, just the two of us. Think back on traditions you’ve developed together, or come up with some ways to create new ones. And then stick to them. Don’t let them fade into the background. Make time to celebrate milestones together, to keep traditions alive. This allows the two of you to have something special, something to keep you coming back to one another time and time again.
- Healthy Boundaries: Genesis 2:24 is the foundation for this little tip. When Wildland Man and I were joined in holy matrimony, we both were choosing unity in marriage. I was no longer just a daughter, a sister, or a friend. I was a wife. And my role as a wife was to be unified with my new husband. Which meant leaving and cleaving from our family for both of us. And I’ll be honest; I didn’t leave and cleave at first. I still allowed my parents, family and friends to hold too much weight in my decisions and choices. I sometimes took my friends’ advice over my husband’s. I leaned on my mom instead of going to Wildland Man. It took awhile, but once we began to construct healthy boundaries with those around us we were able to fully rely on one another. We grew closer and stronger than ever before. We were on the same team, unified in marriage.
Again, I am not a marriage counselor or expert on relationships. But my marriage with Wildland Man, it works. And not without effort or intentionality. I practice what I preach. And so, I share what I practice, because if it can work for me, maybe it can work for you.
Next week, I’ll be sharing a few more tips to reconnect with your spouse. I hope you found this week’s post helpful and will join me back here for more soon.
Check out the continuation of this post next week: “Strengthening Your Marriage: Five More Ways to Reconnect.”
Would you please consider joining in on the conversation by adding your comment at the bottom of the page?
What are some ways in which you keep your relationship from growing stagnant and distant?
How often do you pause to intentionally strengthen your marriage?
What other tips can you share that have worked for you in your marriage?