Consider these topics and questions to help refresh your marriage this year.
A new year is underway, and many of us are probably working on resolutions we’ve made to improve our lives. What better part of our lives to improve than our most important project, our path towards mutual fulfillment: our marriage!
It’s not impossible; yes, you can “reboot” your marriage! I’m not talking about forgetting everything that’s gone before, or anything like that, but about seeing and meeting each other again as as you did when you first fell in love.
All marriages, as perfect as they may seem in the eyes of the world, have areas where they can grow, and this seems like a good time to examine them. By doing so, we can reinvent our relationship, making it new and improved. Now, a marriage isn’t an isolated entity that works on its own; what makes it work is the union of two people’s wills. Consequently, both spouses need to nurture each part of their relationship.
I suggest you reflect together as spouses on your relationship and see if there are aspects you need to heal or build up. More specifically, I invite you to consider these 6 specific aspects of your marriage. Take this reflection as the starting point for an in-depth discussion of how you can grow that love that you vowed to each other “until death do you part.”
Remember how it was when you were dating. Why did you get married? What was that special thing about your spouse that made you propose marriage? Why did you accept that proposal? Bring that aspect of your past into the present, and feel those butterflies in your stomach again!
What place does God have in your marriage? How is your prayer life as a couple? Is there something for which you need to ask each other for forgiveness? Learning to forgive is essential to marriage. Try to forgive each other as soon as possible, and never go to bed angry.
How is your communication? What virtues do you need to cultivate, or what attitudes do you need to improve, in order to communicate more effectively and directly? Today, our smart phones bring us close to people who are far away, but they can separate us from those who are near us, at our side, such as our spouse. Let’s never forget the importance of face-to-face contact with the most important people in our lives. Communication is a vehicle of love. As human beings and especially as spouses, we need to give ourselves to each other, grow in familiarity with each other, and love each other more and more deeply and completely. Part of spousal love is the need to express ourselves and reveal our innermost thoughts and feelings, with confidence that the other person will understand us and accept us just as we are. There must be absolute trust that allows us — and demands from us — to open ourselves up completely. Of course, it also requires that we accept the other, just the way they are, with the same absolute love.
What are the emotional wounds that keep you from doing the good you want to do, and move you to do the bad things you don’t want to do? How can you support each other in the process of healing? Do you seek God’s help for healing? Remember, for a marriage to improve, change must begin with each one of us. I have to control my words, actions, and feelings, and take responsibility for my own decisions, mistakes, etc.
What are your emotional needs? Are you generous to each other? Do you serve each other with love and a positive attitude, even when you feel tired or in a bad mood? Do you ask each other these magical questions each day: “How can I make you happy today? What can I do for you today?”
Does your conjugal intimacy unite you, or separate you? Do your bodies speak of the love and respect you have for each other?
Marriage has many more aspects, but these 6 are key for growing in love. Lastly, only hold on to those things that truly help you to grow in unity. Leave the past in the hands of God’s mercy. And, if you have issues you can’t resolve on your own, seek professional help.