Razor Sharp: 6 Ways to keep your marriage sharp

From the beginning of this, please note something: Marriage is hard work.  In saying that, I want to pose a question: 

Are we working too hard on our marriage? 

Before you fire off emails, posts, rebuttals, etc at me, I want to work out a thought that came out the other day.  It stemmed from a simple saying:

Work smarter; not harder. 

When my son turned 10, he got his first pocket knife. He’s seen me whittle before (I’m not very good) and he’s been wanting to do it too.  I wanted to make sure it was sharp and it stayed sharp.  Anne was concerned he was going to lose an appendage keeping it sharp.  But I explained something key: The sharper you keep your knife, the easier it is to work on the project and, thus, less likely to get hurt. So, often I’d have Ethan bring me his knife and we’d take a few moments to sharpen his blade.  I know it frustrated him to stop his project for something that seemed so small, but little corrections to the blade made all of the difference.  Struggling with a dull knife invites motions and angles that can lead to injuries. 

Marriage is no different. Some of you are working hard on some areas with “dull blades.”  You find yourself getting hurt in conversations and conflicts.  You leave moments together with “nicks” on your heart.  I want to help you work smarter.  It doesn’t remove the hard work, but why make hard work harder? It’s time to regain your “edge.” It’s time to step back and make some small, intentional moves that can keep your marriage sharp. 

1. Monitor the Love Languages.  The longer we’re together, the more apt we take communication for granted.  We assume our spouse should just “know” what’s going on and/or what we are thinking. So we go on “business as usual” not realizing the sharpness of our talking has been dulled because we either stopped speaking appropriately to our spouse or didn’t realize that the season of life has changed our spouse’s love language.  Some of you are working incredibly hard communicating to your spouse and it’s not working.  Could it be that your speaking the wrong language?  Could it be that tones and mannerisms are dulling the blade of your communication?  

Sharpening Tips: Read “5 Love Languages” together. Be a student of how your spouse and how he/she communicates.  Find opportunities to pour into what speaks to them and not you.  

2. Keep in touch with each other. There’s no excuse in today’s age of tech to not have steady communication. From a regular time to go over the upcoming week to having daily time to talk about the simple things of the day.  These are quality moments that keep couples sharp and prepared.  It’s amazing how a 15 minute talk can keep a razor’s edge to your marriage and prevent unnecessary conflict.  It’ll astound you how a few texts during the day can prepare hearts for intimacy. Keeping in touch doesn’t take much but it is “jaw-dropping” how much benefit it brings for such simplistic actions. Remember, quantity doesn’t equate to quality.  A hand-full of quality daily moments can make you sharper than once-in-a-while quantity connection. 

Sharpening Tips: Get a google calendar to share so that appointments/schedules are understood.  Text to connect not to keep track. Randomly direct message, Facebook message, etc. your spouse about your day. Random “I love you” messages will do more than you realize.

3. Have Fun. I seriously can’t blog about this enough.  It’s, quite possibly, the area of marriage both husband and wife take for granted the most.  It doesn’t seem necessary for some. It seems to be the first thing to be sacrificed.  Yet it might be one of the most spiritual acts you do together.  Fun doesn’t have to cost anything!!! It can be so simple AND cheap. When you have fun…
– passionate feelings are rekindled
– defenses are lowered and the real you comes out
– intimacy is stoked
– you remember why you got married

Couples that don’t consistently have fun are working with a dulled-bland and have to work harder AND rarely get the results of couples who consistently feed their marriage fun. 

Sharpening Tips: Schedule, as best as you can, a regular “date” time for you two.  Look for random moments during mundane weeks to break away for a quick date (Anne and I do froyo). Take turns on who plans the dates. 

4. Show appreciation. There’s not a person existing that doesn’t like to feel appreciated. From gratitude to complements, don’t assume your spouse knows that you appreciate them.  Kind words and encouragement will build the infrastructure of servanthood in your marriage.  Appreciation sharpens the heart of humility. It creates in atmosphere where spouses look for ways to meet the needs of their partner.  Refusal to show appreciation dulls the joy in serving.  That which was once a labor of love is now a job of obligation. 

Sharpening Tips: Show gratitude for the not-so-obvious/normal things in life (doing well at their job, how well they’re doing as a parent, etc).  Using your spouses love language, express random appreciation that will benefit him/her more than you. Drop a note.  Make a favorite meal. 

5. Have a consistent love life. PLEASE DON’T SKIP over this if you have a lower sex-drive than your spouse.  Please don’t diminish this because it’s not a big deal for you.  Regular (defined by the two of you) sexual connection creates health on every level (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual). Like working with a dulled blade, frustration, confusion, and hurt are easy byproducts of an inconsistent love life.  Sexual needs are the only needs that NO ONE ELSE can supply in your spouse but you.  

Sharpening Tips: Talk frustrations through regardless of how previous talks went. See intimacy beyond sex by fostering healthy touches and communication that are not laced with sexual expectations. Plan out nights for intimacy and keep it consistent (that might sound unromantic, but for those who struggle with their libido, it actually helps them be ready on every level).  

6. Don’t tolerate bitterness. Call it bitterness.  Call it unforgiveness. Call it a grudge.  It really doesn’t matter what name it goes by, it’s poison.  It will be cancerous to your marriage. Bitterness will do more than dull blade of your marriage, it’ll rust it though. It’s designed to destroy you both.  Sharp couples know that bitterness is never worth it and work to keep their blade free of it.  Razor sharp couples make sure that forgiveness is asked for and granted.  These type of marriage live life free of the bondage that bitterness wants to lead to. Are you keeping score on each other’s faults? Are you trying to repay someone for their mistakes? You’re not just hurting them…you’re hurting you and the marriage.  Do not put up with unforgiveness.  Release it to the Lord and leave it with him. 

Sharpening Tips: Forgive in proportion to how God has forgiven you.  Get counsel on deep-seeded hurts. Communicate your act of forgiveness to your spouse.  If you’re the one who messed up, ask for forgiveness AND forgive yourself.

I know I could add more, but these are the few that have been weighing on my heart.  With your marriage, keep it sharp.  You will find yourself working smarter than working harder.  And by doing that, you’ll see yourself “whittling/sculpting” a marriage that reflects an image of God to be a testimony to the world around you. 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

 

 

 

2 Minute Devo: “Don’t be a liar”

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We started a new series this month called “His Faithfulness” We are looking at the faithfulness of God revealed to us in the scripture.  Take time to read the passage here on the blog or in your own bible.

Today’s scripture: 1 John 4:7-21

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us andhis love is perfected in us.

13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot[a] love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Confessions of a Marriage Blogger Part 6: “We don’t stay married for the kids”

Blog Thoughts of Pastor Dave Barringer

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Welcome back to the last installation of our “Confessions of a Marriage Blogger” series.  Thanks to all of those who visited our blogs over the past few weeks Part 5, “I had a mistress” and  Part 4 “Sex is not what we thought it was” and shared it.  It’s become the highest hit post in the past-year-plus of blogging on marriage.

If you’ve missed any of the previous blogs in this series of “Confessions”check out Part 1 “We irritate each other”,  Part 2: “Our kids are for sale”, and Part 3 “This is Not Who I Married!”.

Now back to breaking up the “Ken and Barbie” facade…

Ken and Barbie wedding

Part 6 We don’t stay married for the kids

Divorce sucks. (but I’ll get to that in a bit)

We can find a lot of reasons to do things.  For example, I find reasons to go to Best Buy.  What…

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2 Minute Devo: “Better than being right” Eph. 4:32

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August is our journey through the 2 minute series called “Watch Your Mouth”.  I want to invite you to join me as we. It’s as simple as viewing  the vlog and reading the passage for the day.  Today’s passage is Ephesians 4:32:

Ephesians 4:32

32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Punch Temptation in the Face: Dealing with temptation in marriage

New marriage blogpost

Blog Thoughts of Pastor Dave Barringer

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One of my all-time favorite athletes to watch: Mike Tyson (pre-ear biting).  To me, there was nothing so sensational to watch him dismantle opponents in the ring in the matter of seconds.  People would spend hundreds of dollars to watch him knock out opposing boxers in 30 seconds.  

Just in case you want to see him in action…

Iron Mike Tyson was the quintessential fighter of my generation. Mike is known for a number of things. But there’s one quote of his that makes me smile every time I hear it. 

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

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How true is that?  Life can seem so good…then BAM…something comes along and hits us.  We stand dazed and confused over what just hit us and where the punch came from.  Unfortunately we find so many marriages “down for the count” because of the “knockout punch” that came…

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2 Minute Marriage Devos: “My Help” #marriage

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June is our journey through some scripture selections on the topic of Marriage.  I want to invite you to join me. It’s as simple as looking at the blog and reading the passage for the day.  Today’s passage is Psalm 63:7.

Psalm 63:7

for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.

2 Minute Marriage Devo: “Watch your heart” #marriage

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June is our journey through some scripture selections on the topic of Marriage.  I want to invite you to join me. It’s as simple as looking at the blog and reading the passage for the day.  Today’s passage is Luke 6:45.

Luke 6:45

45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.