A successful marriage requires falling in love many times,
Always with the same person.
The two shall become one. In a healthy, alive marriage partners complement each other and experience a unique oneness. We still are complete individuals; we still care about others, our careers, our family and friends, but continually we must choose to focus on each other.
Where are you in the process of becoming partner focused?
- Are you newlyweds? Are you just beginning to learn how to unselfishly focus on each other? It’s easy to continue to think “single” but in an alive marriage, the focus is on “we-ness.” Good relationship habits formed now will enrich your marriage in the years ahead.
- Are you in the active parenting years? Are you in the energy crunch of parenting toddlers or adolescents? While sharing the parenting load are you reserving time for your partner? Remember that your kids will wait while you make your marriage a priority, but your marriage won’t wait until your kids grow up!
- Are you in (or should be in) the empty nest stage? Are you sandwiched between adult children, grandchildren, and aging parents? While this may be a difficult stage of family life, you need to continue to invest in your marriage and focus on each other. Unfortunately, when we entered the empty nest we went from a child-focused marriage to a work-focused marriage. While our children were growing up we limited overnight engagements, knowing that we could freely travel and speak together when our sons left home. But during the first fall of our empty nest we accepted too many speaking engagements and signed too many book contracts. We were caught in a work-focused marriage and had to really work to make it partner focused!
Wherever you are, choose to focus on your partner. Take a few minutes and talk about how you demonstrate a partner focus in the following areas:
· In your role as a parent - Do you continually put your children first?
· In work and home responsibilities - If you have a choice to spend thirty minutes with your mate or complete a non-urgent project, which would you choose?
· In relationships with others - Who is a higher priority in your life—your friends or your spouse?
· In your leisure activities - Do you seek out activities that you can do together?
Then talk about how you can face life’s challenges together as partners. The apostle Paul’s advice to the Philippians applies today to our marriages and the need to focus on each other when he wrote: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interest, but also to the interest of others (Philippians 2: 1-4).
Trust us, your marriage will grow strong as you focus on your partner. You can stay close when you focus on helping each other. Any help we offer our mate helps our marriage partnership. Any pain, hurt, insult, any lack of support or faithfulness; any failure to help our spouse, will reflect back on our marriage. We can be the most positive reinforcing person in our partner’s life and our partner in ours if we are willing to look out for the interests of each other.