Tonight I thought I would write about the importance of growing together as a couple. When people divorce, you often hear the phrase, “We grew apart.” How does that happen? I think it probably starts subtly. It likely creeps in and before you know it, you feel like you don’t recognize the person you’re married to. I strongly believe any good marriage takes work. When I look at couples I admire who have amazing longstanding relationships and are still in love, I hear the same thing! What you put into it, you’ll get out of it.
But back to my point, how do you fight against the whole growing apart? I think you learn to grow together! This is something my husband and I try to work on daily, weekly, and just make part of our relationship. We don’t always get it right but we constantly are evaluating what we can do to do better, be better, and love each other better.
Here’s the thing: there are so many times we fail! We snap at each other, attitudes get the best of us, we want to be right so pride kicks in, and the list goes on. I can probably write several books on our imperfections and shortcomings. But I want to be married to this man for forever because I love him. This means I will do everything I can to continue to strengthen and build our relationship.
What I’m sharing here is what we’ve done in the past and what we are currently doing. Please share what you and your spouse do, would love to hear it!
Ways You Can Grow Together:
1. Pray together and keep a prayer journal together.
This is simple and if you think you don’t have the time, I promise you it’s not some long drawn out process. Also, there are times where we miss some nights. Give yourself grace, don’t be hard on yourself, and get back on the horse. Anyway, we sit down together and we come up with a list of things we want to pray about. Topics are sometimes broad but usually super specific. The more specific the better. We write these down and take turns praying for each one. This isn’t longer than ten minutes. I really like doing this because I feel like I get to hear about what’s on my husband’s heart, different parts of his day, and what he feels a particular burden for. Then I can share with him what’s on my heart and we can share that together and pray about it together. We’ve seen God do some amazing miracles in our lives in direct correlation to what we’ve prayed about together during our sessions.
2. Find hobbies or interests you enjoy together.
My husband and I are really similar but we’re also complete opposites in a lot of ways. The things I like and the things he likes to do vary on a really wide scale. In the past, I’ve focused more on just what I liked (because God is still working out the selfishness in me – don’t judge me y’all) but recognizing that marriage is about compromise. The things we enjoy doing together are reading a book together out loud and talking about what we’ve read, watching comedic shows, riding bikes, and singing/playing music together.
3. Take a genuine interest in each other’s life.
Ask questions! Don’t get so comfortable that you forget the wonder of each other and the wonder of marriage. Be interested and engaged in what’s happening in your spouse’s life. If you know me, you know I love to ask about 101 questions. Sometimes I drive Jose crazy because I will ask about everything. He’s a realtor so when he gets home I’ll ask him about the houses he showed, the clients, his day, anything else, and it may drive him nuts sometimes but I am genuinely interested in what’s going on in his life! This is because I am highly interested in HIM! Never stop asking questions, never stop caring, don’t just ask mundane questions but be specific. Can you tell I’m all about the detail?
4. Challenge each other.
Challenge each other to be better and do better each day. ENCOURAGE. Push. Build one another up. Don’t do it in the form of nagging. It’s really easy to slip into the nagging mode, which I know pretty well! Ha! Don’t be afraid to call each other out on the carpet. My husband calls me out and I call him out. I don’t mean to publicly shame your spouse. I mean that when you’re on your own time, don’t be afraid to call them out/call them up to all who they are as needed.
5. Hold each other accountable.
Earlier this year I asked my husband to write down a list of his goals: specifically what he wanted to accomplish this year. I asked him to share those goals with me and then we talked about it. I shared my goals with him. Because we both have an idea of what we are aiming for individually and as a family, it’s easier to hold each other accountable. For example, I know of my husband’s goals is to cycle more. It’s a hobby of his and he enjoys it. Because I know this, when I see life getting hectic I’ll ask him if he’s cycled this week. If the answer is no, we’ll look for a way to pencil that in so he can do that. It may seem silly/simple but it was something on his goals list. One of my personal goal’s was to work more on a story that I’ve been writing. I enjoy writing. When there is down time, my husband will say, “Hey, how are you doing with your story?” or “Why don’t you take some of this time to write?” In this way, I feel like he’s holding me accountable to my goals. This kind of goes with #4 and it’s important that we don’t nag, but it’s nice to know that I have someone who will hold me accountable and push me forward.
6. Serve together.
This is probably the most important! Grow together by thinking outside of yourselves and thinking of others. So much of a healthy marriage is about living a life of selflessness.
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10
For Jose and I, this looks like serving in ministry together! We both serve in our local church. We have always served in whatever church we have attended together because it’s important to us. Find a place or a way you can both serve together.
These are just a few things that we do that work for us and that, in my opinion, help us grow together. What are some things that you and your spouse do to grow together? Would love to hear your thoughts below! Thanks for