“You make known to me the path of life, you will fill me with joy in your presence…” Psalm 16:11

The Ideal Marriage

Do you have an ideal marriage?

What do you base your answer on?

What does the ideal marriage look like to you?  What do you envision? How would you describe it?

  • What roles would each spouse fill?
  • What needs would be met?
  • How much time would be spent together?  How would that time be spent?
  • What would communication look like?
  • What about intimacy?

One of the problems we often fall into when we think “ideal anything” is that we go by other people’s standards, which sometimes aren’t practical or don’t fit our situation or the way we’re wired.  That can lead to feelings of failure, not measuring up, or even frustration with your spouse.

Another problem we can run into is for only one spouse to determine what is, or is not, “ideal” and then expect the other spouse to live up to that standard.

So, back to the question:  Do you have an ideal marriage?

Do you have any areas that you think you could grow in?  Any changes that could be made?  Even small changes can make a big difference and have a huge impact on many areas of your life.  If your marriage could talk, what would it ask for? 

It’s important for both spouses to have input about which area(s) could be strengthened.

Here’s a simple exercise:

  • Have both spouses make a list of the top 2 or 3 things they would like to strengthen in the marriage.  Do this individually without discussing it while you make your list.
  • Next, get together with your lists and talk about what you chose and why.   Does anything on your list match?  (Don’t be surprised if you have different lists, or if they’re not in the same order of importance if you do have matching topics.)
  • Finally, decide together which of those topics you are both willing to focus on and set a goal of what you would like to accomplish.  Make sure you decide how you will know when you have reached that goal.

A few tips:

  • Just because you have areas you would like to strengthen, it doesn’t mean you have a bad marriage or that anything is “wrong”.  There are always ways to improve and strengthen any marriage, even good, healthy marriages.
  • I love to use scales of 0-10.  They help you to “define” where you are and where you want to end up.  Define what a “10” would look like to both of you and use that as a visual as you talk about where you feel things are and would like them to be.
  • Your idea of a “10” as a couple may be what another couple only defines as a “7”, so don’t go by standards that other people set.  Pray about where God would have YOU as a couple and then work toward having THAT marriage.
  • If you discover a weaker area that you both feel would be really low if you were to rate it, that’s ok.  It is what it is, as my husband would say.  Don’t let it discourage you.  The purpose is to get a realistic assessment of where you actually are at this point in your marriage and to clarify where it is that you want to be.  It’s wonderful that you have discovered it and are both aware of it!  The key is: what are you going to do about it and how can you work together to move forward and strengthen it?

Finally, what will the future look like when you are living out the ideal marriage you have both defined and envisioned?

  • How will it impact your life?
  • What will your marriage legacy be?
  • What will it cost you to get there?
  • What will it cost you if you do not make those changes?
  • How will your life and your marriage be different than it is now?

 

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