Dare to dream big things for your marriage in the coming year!
The threshold of a new year is the time when many of us reflect on the previous year and set our plans and hopes for the next year.
Ideally, some of your hopes for 2018 concern your marriage. In truth, every year is an opportunity for more in your marriage. More intimacy. More passion. More freedom. More love. More generosity. More kindness. More grace. The “more” available to your marriage is limitless.
Dare to Dream Big
I want to encourage you to dream big things for your marriage in 2018. Whether 2017 was a year of disappointment and struggle or of flourishing for your relationship, look to the year ahead with the expectation that God will do good things in you and in your marriage. I honestly believe that God’s heart is that next year be the best year yet for your marriage.
In the coming days, I am looking forward to dreaming with my wife for our year ahead. I encourage you to find a time in the last few days of this year or the first few of next year where you and your spouse can spend some time thinking and dreaming together. Seek the Lord in prayer and tap into His dreams for you. Imagine writing your marriage story for 2018 a year from now. What story would you want to write?
Have a Conversation
If you aren’t in the habit of dreaming together with your spouse, this would be a good time to start. Talk about your wishes. Talk about your needs. Talk about your hopes. Any time you talk about improving your marriage, it is important to do so without accusation or defensiveness. As I wrote in a post on expectations in marriage:
It’s essential for each of you to take the responsibility to express your needs without demanding or demeaning. When you talk about your needs, it’s really important to explain to your spouse what that would look like to you. That kind of “what would it look like” conversation is great for identifying and exposing your expectations.
Dare to ask, “How can I best meet your expectations in this area?” Voice your needs and desires clearly in a way that best helps your spouse to love you well, but then have plenty of grace for when they get it wrong, because one of your expectations should be that they will, in fact, get it wrong sometimes.
Patience = Joyful Anticipation
We often think of patience in a negative light. But for us, as people of faith, it should not be so. Patience is not merely a reluctant acquiescence to our circumstances.
For us, faith means that as we wait for the longings of our hearts to come true, we can look ahead with joyful anticipation of God doing great things on our behalf. That includes God doing great things in your marriage. If you find that you have given up hope for attaining the marriage you dream of, it’s time to renew your hope.
As we turn the calendar page and face a new year, let me suggest a few thoughts to keep in mind.
- Realize that God is FOR your marriage. Not just marriage in general, but your marriage. His desire is to see it be all it can be in the realms of intimacy, passion, and fulfillment. And He is more than able to do it.
- Be thankful for all you do have. Whatever you focus on will grow. Concentrate on the good, downplay the bad. Deliberately shift your focus.
- Be open to change. It might be that even though you are waiting for your husband or wife to change, God may want to work a change in you too (or maybe instead).
- Give yourself generously. Our tendency during times of lack from our spouse is to withdraw and withhold until we get what we want. This tactic never works. In fact, it puts your marriage in a downward spiral that I call the Path of Separation. Instead, give yourself unselfishly in the way your spouse desires, without expectation of getting in return.
- Pray and worship. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus instead of the problem at hand. It’s amazing how small difficulties can become in the light of who God is. Enjoy him, enjoy his presence, and hear his heart for you and your marriage. Ask him what he wants of you in this season of waiting. Hearing his voice changes everything.
I’ll leave you with my prayer for you and your marriage as you dream big dreams for the year ahead:
Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope!
Romans 15:13 (TPT)