Take Time Every Year to Evaluate Your Marriage
By Gina Smith
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 2 Corinthians 13:5
My husband and I try to take time, a couple times a year, to evaluate our lives and our marriage and see where we need to make some adjustments. Life is always changing, and it is easy to slip into a new season and not realize that what worked last year doesn’t work as well anymore. As we spend time evaluating, we often find that some changes need to be made in order for us to be the most effective in our marriage and in our life of service to God.
The areas that my husband and I evaluate are:
- Our health and fitness
- Individual and joint time in the Word
- Commitments outside the home – family, friendships, ministry, church
- Time together and nurturing our relationship
1. Health and Fitness
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
My husband and I have recently entered the empty nest season, which means we have been enjoying our evenings together alone! Although it can be tempting to snuggle up on the couch, night after night, watching our favorite show, we know that we need to prioritize our health and fitness, especially as we get older. We both want to work hard to not become overweight, unhealthy older people! We want to be the best we can be, for each other and for the glory of God, even in our old age.
We may not be able to do what we used to do physically, or keep up with our children who are in their late 20’s, but we can do SOMETHING! We can be active. And so we have come up with a plan that works for us and we help each other stick with it. We walk. We go to the gym. I ride my spin bike. He runs. Whatever it is that is on our schedule that day, we work hard to choose to do that. And if we can, we try to do it together.
2. Individual and Joint Time in the Word
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up…" Ecclesiastes 4:9
It’s good to take the time to evaluate how you are doing in your time in the Word, making sure that you are being consistent. My husband and I take time to talk about what we are reading and how God is working in our lives as individuals.
It’s also a good idea to pinpoint areas of life that you want to pray over together, choose a Bible reading plan that you can do at the same time, and then take the time to share with each other about what God is showing you. When we take time to do inventory on how we are doing spiritually, see what needs to be adjusted, and then help each other to move forward, it knits our hearts to each other and it knits our heart together with God.
3. Commitments Outside the Home – Family, Friendships, Ministry, Church
"So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31
My husband and I recently had to stop and evaluate how we were spending our time and all we had committed ourselves to. We have entered a new season of life as a family, as a couple, and with my aging parents. We were feeling overwhelmed and took time to write everything down that we are committed to so that we could reprioritize and see what could be eliminated. We made our list, took time to pray over each item, talked about our new season and what we felt called to, and then took the action needed.
Although it was a hard decision to let some things go, it did feel good when we took action and eliminated a few things. It was necessary in order for us to do our best at what we are called to do. - - for the glory of God.
4. Time Together – Nurturing Our Relationship
It doesn’t seem to matter what season you find yourself in, there is always going to be something there trying to pull you away from that most important priority. And why do you think that is? Because life is always busy, there are now more distractions than ever before, and because Satan would like nothing more than to divide Christian couples! Because of this, my husband and I evaluate how we are doing in this area several times a year. We recently decided that we needed to try to have as few work-related commitments as possible on the weekends so that we can have time together.
Whether it be a relaxing Saturday morning of coffee and breakfast together, an evening out for dinner alone, or cuddling on the couch watching a movie and eating ice cream, we try to find ways to be together and nurture our relationship. It’s amazing how often, when we take the time to evaluate, we discover that several weeks have slipped by and we have been too busy to spend quality time together.
When we take time to evaluate and are honest about any bad habits or laziness that we have allowed in, we often discover other areas of our lives that we have become lazy in as well. We are finding that if we lack discipline in one area of life, it is probably happening in other areas of life as well.
Stop! Take inventory! Do it a couple of times a year! Your marriage is worth it!
Gina Smith is a writer and author who has been married for 31 years to Brian, a college professor and athletic trainer. For the past 20+ years Gina and her husband have served on a Christian college campus as the on-campus parents, and her husband has been a professor and dean of students. They have lived on the campus where they raised both of their now married children. In her spare time, she loves to write, writes for several websites, and recently authored her first book “Grace Gifts: Practical Ways To Help Your Children Understand God's Grace". She also writes at her personal blog: ginalsmith.com.
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