I still remember our first real date together. We were at Olive Garden eating those ridiculously good breadsticks. I wanted to know everything about Amber. Like an investigative reporter, I interrogated her with questions about her entire life. I was so into her and wanted to know everything about her past, present, and future.
We all do this when we first meet, trying to discover if they’re the right one. Then if you’re like us, after that 18 month infatuation period ended, comfort took over. Plans, personal dreams, work, and other distractions got into the way. Slowly we started taking each other for granted. Careers squeezed in the way. Kids drew us so close yet so far apart. Before we knew it, our marriage was merely on auto pilot.
In Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas talks about levels of marriage. Here’s my paraphrase on them.
Levels Of Marriage:
- You’re done and ready to walk away.
- You’re resentful towards each other and blame each other for “personal dissatisfaction and lack of excitement.”
- You simply “get along.”
- You have depth and “pursue a deeper meaning, a spiritual truth hidden in the enforced intimacy of the marital situation.”
If you want to be in level four and continually pursue depth, you need to take initiative and be proactive in your marriage. So what if your relationship is good now. It can always get better. Jesus doesn’t want you to be luke-warm (Rev 3:16). The results of tomorrow are affected by the work you put in today. And if one day your marriage falls apart, it’s because of what you didn’t do yesterday.
Just like when you train to get in great shape, it doesn’t stop. You don’t just get to a point where you achieve your goals and can stop working out and still enhance your results. It’s a lifetime process and what you learn from training is that you can always polish things up, fine tune, and get better.
Our marriages are no different. Like training, they require the same intention, investment, and effort. If we want stronger and more conditioned marriages that can outlast adversity, we can’t settle for maintenance mode.
We’re halfway through the Love Dare Challenge and this book is continuing to change our lives daily. Going back to Day 18, the point is to get to know your spouse better, just like the first day you met them. Here are three steps outlined in this chapter:
- Ask questions. The bible says “The ear of the wise seeks knowledge. (Proverbs 18:15) Love takes the initiative to begin conversations.
- Listen. “A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own mind” (Provers 18:2) Hear your spouse, don’t just tell them what you think.
- Ask God for discernment. “The Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6). Men and women are different and it’s hard to understand each other. God can show you what you need in order to love your spouse better.
Don’t just settle for a level one, two, or three marriage. Be proactive and initiate love. Whip up some homemade breadsticks and sit down with your spouse to get to know her better, and Love her like the first day you met her.
Don’t take my word for it. I dare you to try it yourself. And it may just be an absolute game-changer for you and everyone in your life.