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The Marriage Solution
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On January 1, your whole life can be transformed. For one day at least, all your good intentions can be jump-started and all your bad habits unplugged. At least for a few hours—minutes?—the year is a perfect reflection of your best self.

But January 1 is followed, inevitably, by January 2 and January 3. Someday soon you will opt for snuggling in a cozy bed a few more minutes rather than plunging out into the cold on that jog. Pretty soon candy wrappers will pop up in your desk drawer again. By January 4 or 5, you will surely have been aggravated by a bad driver or a dropped glass or a stubbed toe to have let loose a blue streak of unsanctified thoughts. By the 7th, your socks sleep on the bathroom floor and your dental floss collects dust. By the 10th you fall asleep before you can even get the Bible open. For all but a few of us, most New Year’s resolutions get packed away with the last of the Christmas decorations.

The problem with most of our resolutions is that they are too safe, too sensible and too self-centered. We resolve to make tiny cosmetic changes in our lifestyles but refuse to consider restructuring our lives and changing the paradigms by which we live.

For those of us who are married, what if this year we resolve to make a real, lasting, drastic change? Not finding a new spouse, but to be a new and improved husband or wife?

Here are several suggestions from which to draw up a New Year’s resolution for your marriage: (If you are single, the first sentence of the first suggestion applies also to you in enriching your discipleship journey.)

1. Go deeply into the word of God. Spending daily time for your individual walk with Him will help you grow closer to your spouse in the journey of marriage. Prayers for and with your life partner will drift to heaven as sweet incense before Him who created marriage.

2. Set daily time aside for just the two of you. Start by clearing the clutter from your busy schedule so you may serve your spouse instead. Cook with and for them, help with the laundry, instigate one of their favorite activities and always listen attentively.

3. Recommit, daily, to each other as you did on your wedding day. “This commitment cannot be a one-time affirmation, for buried within each of us is the deep psychological need for constant reassurance, to know where we stand with our partner in the relationship of marriage. It is the awareness that we are loved and accepted that builds our own sense of self-esteem and self-acceptance and makes it possible to give and express love in return.” 1

Most of the resolutions we will make this year have to do with ourselves: our weight, our exercise program, our school, our work, etc. Let’s make a different type of resolution this year, one that will bless our spouses, and ultimately, our marriage.
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By Claudio Consuegra. Reprinted with permission from Mid-America Outlook, January 2008. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

1 Floyd and Harriet Thatcher, Long Term Marriage, (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1980), p. 63.

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