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All of us, on some level, desire transformation in our marriage. Whether that transformation is a small change, or a complete overhaul, we all want to experience more joy, peace, love and purpose. Ultimately, we are always going through some form of transformation, because we don’t remain completely the same. All of us are being transformed into something; the question is, are we transforming into what God desires, or something else? The first step in changing, is realizing that we can. The lie we often tell ourselves is that we cannot change, or never will. We must believe that we can and will change, because of what God says. The journey to change can be really difficult, but to begin, start by doing the next right thing. Here are 7 ways to establish the change and transformation you want to see in your own marriage:
- Write it out
Write down your goals for your marriage and your walk with the Lord, together! Writing down your thoughts and goals makes them visible and real. Not only does this give you and your spouse something to work towards, it ensures you are on the same page. Whether they are smaller goals, such as “affirm one another more often,” or larger goals, such as “get out of debt,” it is important to know about and work together towards your objectives.
- The Golden Rule
Matthew 7:12 12 So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. In other words, treat your spouse the way you would like to be treated. Be honest, treat them with gentleness and respect, encourage them, and forgive quickly. Pursue your spouse as you would want to be pursued.
- If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all
Regardless of how we are feeling at any given moment, it isn’t acceptable to be cruel or hurtful with our words and actions. We must practice holding our tongues and thinking before we speak. Silence, and the ability to listen more in an argument, is more important than being right. Think about what you are going to say. If it is not something you would love to hear from your spouse, then maybe it should not be said. If you do have a critique, bring it to your spouse constructively and from a place of love and respect.
- Stop being easily offended
One of the attributes of love is that it is not easily offended. It is not irritable or resentful. We can become more easily offended when we love ourselves more than we love our spouse, or in the places where we allow insecurity to seep in. When we are not abiding in the word, it will be easy to react in our flesh. If we truly love, we will not be irritable or resentful. Remind your spouse that you are both working on not being offended with each other.
- More romance and more sex
Our marriages need both the physical and emotional connection that romance and sex bring. Physical intimacy is a powerful gift God has given to our marriages. Emotionally, finding ways to relate and to bring excitement and mystery into your daily life is essential in connecting with your spouse’s heart and mind.
- Invest in your marriage
Investing in something means to spend your time, money, energy, and resources on that thing. Investing in your marriage will result in great returns for generations to come. Whether it is going on regular dates, attending a marriage retreat, reading books, or praying for one another, these investments will sow seeds that many (especially you and your spouse), will reap the benefits of.
- See your spouse and yourself through Christ’s eyes
When you look at your spouse, choose to see them as Christ does. Have hope in seeing who your spouse can become in Christ and love them how Christ does, instead of constantly viewing them critically. See them through a lens of grace, not who they are in their sin, but who they are because of the blood of Christ; a new creation.
Change can just happen, but that kind of change is usually the result of being passive in decisions and what you allow to influence your mind and heart. Powerful transformation comes from putting in the time and effort to intentionally transform your marriage. It takes being selfless and sacrificial; it requires much, but the benefits of becoming more Christ-like are exceedingly worthwhile.