Of course, that is an unrealized potential for many. You simply cannot put your marriage on auto-pilot. It will atrophy and the relationship will deteriorate and slowly, over time, you will discover something a LONG way from what God had in mind.
I have some suggestions for you.
1) Read a book about marriage together. There are two new books out that I recommend, one that Susan and I are reading now and one that's on my list (I'll get to it in the next month or two). The one we're reading now is called Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship and Life Together by Mark and Grace Driscoll. The one I'm going to read next is The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God by Tim Keller. I don't always agree with everything an author says, but that's not the point. There is so much to learn about each other as we explore respected authors and their thoughts together. Susan and I try to read one marriage book (at least) each year. Here are some other suggestions:
- The Five Love Languages: The Secret to a Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman
- Rekindling the Romance: Loving the Love of Your Life by Dennis and Barbara Rainey
- Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs
- For Men Only and For Women Only by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn
- Marriage On The Rock by Jimmy Evans
There is no shortage of good marriage books. Go get one and read it together.
2) Ditch Boring Dates and Do Something EXCITING (for a change). Not the creative type? Try this on for ideas: Simply Romantic Nights. Ideas that cover every detail for the most romatically challenged person in the world.
3) Interview a couple. Together, talk about couples you know who have been married for a while and seem to have a good marriage. Decide together which one of those couples you will ask over for dinner or out for a cup of coffee. Interview them, ask them to tell you their stories, learn about their past, struggles, successes and secrets. Be a good student. And then talk about it together after you leave. You'll honor that other couple and glean a LOT of great wisdom in the process. Plus, it's a great shared experience.
4) Retreat. There are all kinds of marriage retreats. Personally, I prefer the ones where you actually leave town. Getting away is important. But these are also expensive - and a lot of couples just can't do $250+ right now. So, we're doing an retreat at PCC where you don't have to leave home and stay away overnight. Susan and I are leading it, the cost is relatively low, but the material and the experience will be high quality and highly effective. It's April 20-21. Find out more at 804.598.1174 or email Dennis.Green@PCCwired.net
5) Make Some REAL Friends. One of the great things about real friends is that they help make your marriage better. Susan and I count on our close friends to pray with us and for us. They support us, ask us the hard questions and don't take the standard 'We're fine' for an answer. Sometimes, they call us on the carpet, and we do the same for them. You need friends like that, and your marriage will be better because of them.