Author Gary Thomas wrote in his book, Sacred Marriage, “…the opposite of biblical love isn’t hate; it’s apathy.” Do you agree? When a partner within marriage becomes apathetic, it can become a destroyer of the relationship. An intimate relationship like marriage takes effort, planning, intentional closeness and investment. In other words, there is a very clear plan of building.
My wife and I just finished our annual evaluation and vision weekend. We go away for an overnight and we give God thanks for all He has done in our lives. Then we evaluate our year. We evaluate our family, our marriage, our sex lives, our finances, our jobs, our schedules, etc. We simply evaluate everything we can think of to evaluate. After this time, we turn a corner and we pray about the future, our vision for our marriage, our family, our ministries, our volunteer projects and anything else we need goals and vision for. Lastly, we update our marriage mission statement. It is an amazing time of prayer, reflection, deep communication and stated succinctly: intentional, side-by-side effort to hear God, honor one another and build on our continued bond of oneness.
Mary often tells me, “I feel like we are on the same page when we leave this time to return home.” A marriage on the same page today is an accomplishment. It takes vulnerability, openness, humility to hear hard things about yourself and the desire to change. Because, let’s face it, going into this time we project hearing how well we’re doing and how great our marriage is. When we hear something challenging or confrontive and we must interpret that as a need for us (me) to change, it all starts to hit home and we can become defensive.
For this time, freedom is the goal. Honesty is the goal. Growing toward each other is the goal. That can only happen when we as a couple pursue interdependence and forsake independence. When we truly love each other and desire the very best for one another, we do not need to become defensive, but rather face the fact that I (we) am (are) not perfect. This time taken away to be ruthlessly honest with each other means we are willing to face the truth about ourselves in order to become the spouses that truly reflect the image of Christ to our family.
Do not let apathy into your heart. Fight it, pray against it and take steps to rid your life and marriage relationship of it. Consider an evaluation/vision weekend before the end of the year or early in the new year. We guarantee you will find it revitalizing, energizing and healthy, actually nourishing, to your marriage.