Saturday, February 14, 2015

Shared Lives. Shared Goals. Shared Dreams.

Valentine’s Day provides us with a great opportunity to reaffirm our love to those we are in a relationship with. This reaffirmation cannot be a once-a-year event but one that we need to do each day of the year especially those who are married or preparing for marriage. It has to be consistent if we are going to keep our marriage vibrant, fresh and thriving.

It takes wisdom to build a house, and understanding to set it on a firm foundation; it takes knowledge to furnish its rooms with fine furniture and beautiful draperies.”
– Proverbs 24:3-4 (The Message Bible).

My take away from these verses is that it takes wisdom, understanding and knowledge to build a strong, vibrant and thriving marriage that will last for a life term. It is important for us to know and understand that in building a long-term and lasting relationship, we must understand that it is about sharing our lives together. It is a journey that we embark on for the long term and the long-haul. Simply put, we are doing life TOGETHER. Marriage is designed by God to be a life-long relationship. It is primordial that we jointly as a couple do the work of making it work.

“Marriage is a joint quest for the good, the beautiful and the divine.”
– James E. Faust.

I read recently, in a devotional devoted to encouraging a view marriage as a life-long journey, that the main purpose of marriage is that through your marriage you become confirmed to the image of Jesus Christ. We conform to the image of Christ by learning to exhibit unconditional love, mercy and grace to our spouse in marriage. In marriage, you learn to pour yourself lavishly out on a person who may not respond appropriately. This is what grace is all about.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will share on this blog how we can deepen intimacy in our marriages by focusing on the concept of sharing lives together as a couple. I will look at some of the elements that will enhance our appreciation of our shared lives.

How much do you enjoy being with each other and sharing life with your spouse?

There is the need for couples to share a common vision or ministry otherwise we will begin to grow apart. Talking about the possibilities of what your lives together hold in the present and in the future is a starting point for having shared vision.

You build intimacy in a relationship through communication, commitment and clear shared goals. Making decisions together will enrich your relationship and deepen your intimacy.

Emotional connection begins to wane when communication is strained and limited. Good communication is important for a healthy and thriving relationship. Improving communication requires multiple and sustained efforts. The more time we spend together as couples, the more we will long for that deep connection. Shared goals create opportunities for an intimate connection between the couple.

Sharing our lives together requires us to have shared goals. Shared goals are things two people in a relationship strongly desire and are committed to accomplishing together.

Three elements of this definition require further attention;
  1. Strongly desire: there has to be a mutual desire shared by the two in a relationship. It has to be something you both want with all your heart. You both agree to have it. If you both have deep and strong desires for your marriage, it will keep you focussed working towards that dream when things get tough.
  2. Committed: shared goals have to be something both of you are willing to commit yourselves, including your energy and efforts, to accomplishing. In a sense, there should be a joint commitment to this cause.
  3. Together: it is something you want to do together, something you are both willing to work towards as a team.

Shared goals and dreams provide the glue that will keep you and your spouse working together in marriage. It provides you a defined purpose for your daily activities. These shared goals will determine which path you both choose to follow. There is the tendency to walk on different paths if you don’t have shared goals as a couple. It enables you to have greater communication as you discuss what you are doing and where you both are in the journey towards accomplishing your shared goals. It encourages greater collaboration and brings about unity.

As couples work together towards accomplishing their shared goals, each person’s role becomes clarified with each one knowing the value and importance of his/her contribution. You cannot accomplish this without communicating. The more you communicate, the more you are better able to clarify your goals and understand the value of our contribution. This will strengthen the bond between you and your spouse and also deepen your intimacy. Shared goals bring both of you a sense of joy and fulfilment when it is accomplished.

Our deepest and strongest desire, when my husband and I got married, was that our home would be a haven of peace, a place where others will come and find succour and counsel. That was what we wanted, and this strong desire still guides us till date. There have been many times we lost track of that vision. I bless God Who in His infinite mercy and grace has always refocused our attention back to it.  

I am grateful that this desire was top on the list of our prayer points when we got married. As I look back over the years we have shared our lives together, I see how God has processed, pruned and refined us so that our home can be a place of succour and peace that we desired it to be. So as we reaffirm our love for each other today, I focus my attention again on our shared vision and ask God to keep us align to it every day we share together as a couple.

I will continue this post next week. In the interim, I encourage you, my married friends, to take time today and in the coming days to review what your shared goals and vision are as a couple. Are you sharing yourself with your spouse as you both work towards your shared goals?

Please feel free to share with us in the comment box how we can do better in sharing our lives together as couples, 

Grace and blessings of God abound to you and your spouse as you grow in the knowledge of God’s purpose for your lives.

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