Here is a recap of today's message. Tomorrow, I'll give you the references to the books I've recently read or am currently reading on marriage.
I mentioned 3 things you could do to move from mediocrity to greatness in your marriage. These aren't meant to be quick fixes. Some marriages need a lot of time and effort to begin to feel great again. If your marriage is in bad shape, it likely didn't get that way overnight, and it won't become great overnight, either. But slowly, with high commitment and sacrifice, there is a great reward for the work. Here were my 3 suggestions:
1) Elevate Your Spouse's Value. Genesis 2:18-24. The Hebrew word from which we get 'helper' means a counterpart, a mirror resemblance, neither higher nor lower than, but in all things equal to. There is no implied inferiority in the word. God created both of you in His image. Both of you.
Exercise: List 3 positive qualities that you have ever seen in your spouse. Just 3. No more and no less. There can be a hundred choices...sexy, loving, caring, kind, selfless, handsome, macho, strong, determined, confident...the list goes on and on. Now, list at least one specific instance when you remember your spouse displaying that quality. Calendar some time together - an hour, or better yet, a date night. The agenda is to each share your 3 things. Don't just name them, but share the details that you remember. Nothing negative. Just positive things. You'll be amazed at the impact it has.
2) Say great things about them and to them. This isn't the same as the first point. That one looks back to the past. This one is ongoing. It's designed to get you into the habit of regularly complimenting your spouse. The idea here is not to be phony, even though it may not be natural at first. The Scripture was Prov. 31:28-29 and Song of Solomon 1:9-10, 4:1-3.
Exercise: Say something nice every day for a week about your spouse, to them, and in a different way each day. Leave a card. Write with soap on the bathroom mirror. Leave a note for them in the front seat of their car. Send a text. Write on her Facebook wall.
3) Eliminate some Distractions. I almost worded this as "Decrease Distractions and Increase Attention" That's the point. Marriages are bombarded by distractions. Kids. Work. Home Maintenance. TV. Then we added serious technological complications by being tethered to our smartphones 24/7 and the constant need to have our laptops. A good friend tells me it's impossible for them to go 24 hours without checking email. I adamantly disagree. Tell the one's who need to know how to reach you if there's an emergency and then...TURN THE THING OFF. That's my issue, it might not be yours. But let me say this: if it's a problem for your spouse, it's a problem for you.