INVEST IN YOUR MARRIAGE!
All of us understand that if you want your car to last a long time, and run reliably, you need to invest time and effort to maintain the vehicle and take care of it. It won’t change its own oil, fill its own tank, wash off its own dirt, vacuum its own floor, and fix and maintain its own tires, brakes, and belts. You and I must invest our own time, money, and effort to make sure these things are done. It isn’t complicated to understand. Still, many neglect and ignore these things, costing them big-time in the long run.
Yet the truth of the matter is most men do not seem to grasp and understand that their marriage needs the constant investment of their time, energy, and intentional effort to help it grow and thrive, and last for the rest of their lives. Nothing is more painful and costly than a neglected marriage that eventually breaks down. If you and I neglect our marriage, if we fail to invest our time and emotional energy into it, it will eventually begin to break down. It may languish for years under the weight of your neglect, but slowly and surely it is dying. Don’t let that happen to you! It doesn’t have to be this way.
With all my heart, I want to help each of you build a marriage that thrives and lasts a lifetime.
Here is an investment strategy that has a proven track record when you put your whole heart into it.
1. Tell your wife often that you love her. Use your words to encourage her, lift her spirits, express how valuable and important she is to you, and praise her for the wonderful things she does. Value her and appreciate her. Do not take her for granted. I find ways to do this every single day. Even go so far as to put it in a written note to her.
Every wife needs encouragement and the reassurance that they matter, that they are important to you. That you love her and her only.
Taking time to listen to her is a great way to make her feel valued, significant and appreciated.
2. Spend time with your wife. Even during the busiest period of our lives raising children and my very busy ministry life, I always made time to be with Kathy. We often went on dates, or mountain biking together, and took many, many walks around the lakes here. One of the great joys of my life now as an empty nester, is getting to spend so much time with Kathy, having her all to myself.
3. Serve your wife in every possible way you can. Serving your wife is an outward expression of your inward love. It demonstrates to her that you care about her and that she is important to you. There are many ways you can do this. Fill her car with gas. Run some errands for her. Help clean up the house. Take the kids so she can get some time to herself. I personally find a few ways every single day to serve my wife around the house.
4. Be generous with your wife. Most of us as Christians are not wealthy with money to spare. I’ve spent almost my entire adult life in Christian ministry and ministers do not make a lot of money. But I always found ways to be generous with Kathy even in small ways. I would get her a treat, or give her some cash, or buy her something special. Even keeping the house cool by using the AC often was an act of generosity to bless and care for my wife. I love this woman.
5. Be winsomely affectionate. Why do I say it like that? Some wives like lots of affection, some like a little less. Whichever it is, be winsomely affectionate. Hug her often, kiss her on the cheek, show her loving, thoughtful affection. Many of us have aching backs and muscles. A great way to show affection is by giving your spouse a regular massage on these painful areas of their body.
6. Pray daily with her, over her, and for her. This shared spiritual experience of vital dependence on God by seeking Him every day of your lives, will bind you together and strengthen you in tremendous ways. It generates a strong unity between you as husband and wife.
7. Identify and work to change specific bad habits that negatively affect your marriage and wear it down.
If for example, you tell your wife you love her often, but consistently degrade her for every mistake she makes, you are undermining every good thing you said. Your bad habit of degrading her, and tearing her down with your words, is destructive to any investment you are trying to make in the marriage. If you do not bring fiscal discipline and restraint to your own spending, you never have any extra funds to be generous with your wife. If you keep saying yes to every person at church who asks for your help and you don’t learn to say no, you probably won’t have any margin of time left to give special time to your wife.
Looking back now on 42 years of marriage I can tell you with absolute certainty, from this vast marital experience, all these investments in my marriage paid off tremendously. What a blessed life I have with this wonderful lady God gave to me. I love her now, more than I did when I married her.
* Wives reading this. It is just as important for you to be making constant investments in your marriage as it is for your husband. Take the time to think through for yourself, under each category I mentioned above, ways you can apply each of these to your marriage.
Helping you become a Strong Disciple,
Because of Jesus,
Pastor Mark Darling