Jimmy Evans of Marriage Builders has shared his list of ideal New Years resolutions for the purpose of improving your marriage.
How would we like to see our marriage improve? How can we grow closer to each other? How can we draw closer to God as a couple?
Then make a list of actions you will take to make those things happen. Here are a few ideas. Perhaps in 2014 you could…
•Pray together on a daily basis.
• Read a passage of Scripture together every night before bed.
• Read part of a marriage improvement book together each night.
• Spend 15-20 minutes talking each day.
• Kiss each other at least three times every day.
• Hug each other for 30 seconds every morning and every night.
• Schedule a date night together at least once a month.
• Put away your smart phones every night after work.
• Get involved in a marriage small group.
• Attend a marriage seminar or retreat at least once this year.
• Serve together at your church or a local ministry once a month.
There is nothing wrong with anything on the list. There is nothing wrong with everything on the list. But, do you notice anything odd about the list?
Some of the things on the list, like reading your bible and praying, are good Christian practices in general. And it is absolutely true that having God involved in your marriage is a good thing. But it has become a throw away line. When someone says “you gotta have God at the center of your marriage” what do they really mean? They mean, very specifically, read scripture, read some Christian marriage books, attend some Christian married groups, and pray, all with your spouse. I cannot necessarily disentangle those things from having God at the center of your marriage, nor, however, can I necessarily make them be the same thing…meaning, one can do all that and either have God at the center of your marriage, OR, have this list at the center of your marriage. And who likes this list….A LOT?
How about the other things. Date night? A kiss? A hug? Talking? Sure men like all those things, but these are there on the list for her. And every one of them can be done with someone else other than your spouse, though admittedly the kissing is of a different nature.
Men, sorry, sex didn’t make the cut again for 2014. Its just too risky for a national ministry to put that out there. It invites, “but, but, but, what if she was in a skiing accident and her knee is shattered”. Well, good point….what if.
This visage of the beta man, the servant leader, the kind gentile compassionate scripture quoting hand holding hugging singing prayer warrior of a diaper changing and domestic chore champion man…the one that Christian women say they want in a man….that guy….I figured out this past weekend watching all the couples at the holiday gatherings I attended, women want to see other men that way, and they want to hold it over their own spouse as nothing more than a shit test, but they no more want that kind of a man than I want a walrus for a wife.
And the church is so desperate to do something, anything, to try and pander juuuuuuust enough more to women to finally be able to say that they have led men to the promised land of marital bliss.
My advice, do those things if you want, but do them for the Lord, and for the Lord only if you do them at all. That will put God ion the center faster than any bullet point challenge made by some prattling evangelical.