Heather and I love talking about marriage, speaking at marriage retreats, and sitting with married couples in order to discuss marriage. Marriage counseling has become a passion of ours, as we have now been privileged to sit with hundreds of couples and help them navigate the joys and dangers of relationships. In the last 12 years I’ve noticed a common denominator in each of our counseling sessions. Though each couple is unique and the answers are often very diverse, there is one thing we end up telling each and every couple. Work on the friendship!
We believe friendship to be the essential element in every marriage. The relationship is built on friendship, survives difficulties through friendship, and thrives through friendship. There are a few easy steps that every couple can take to work on the friendship.
1. Date Your Mate
We spend an inordinate amount of time attempting to convince a random stranger that we are attractive, smart, funny, and successful. We call this dating. We dress well, put on cologne, go out to nice restaurants, and speak confidently and kindly throughout the entire evening. Then, as the joke goes, we get married. This ought not be the case!
Every couple should strategically and intentionally take time to go to dinner, take a hike, or see a movie. Friendships are fed through time together. Friendships are starved through absence of time.
Practical Point: If you have not gone on a real date with your mate in the last 2 months, stop right now and schedule a date to take place in the next seven days!
2. Take Time to Talk
If your life is anything like ours you find that time is a luxury that you cannot afford to waste. Kids are crawling around or getting older. Jobs are becoming more demanding. The DVR continues to overload with great content. And the friendship goes without time invested.
Practical Point: Schedule some couch time. Shoo away the kids, turn off the TV, and spend 30 minutes talking about your day. Share your heart, discuss your dreams, or simply complain about your life. Just spend time talking.
3. Get Away Together
We find that there is nothing more refreshing for our relationship than getting away for a few days and rekindling the romance. This is why we love things like the Coastal Couples Retreat, which Heather and I attend every year. Practical sessions on love and romance, alone time for exploring Manhattan Beach, and ample time to talk. There’s nothing the sparks the friendship back into a roaring flame than a few days with my best friend.
Practical Point: Join us for the Coastal Couples Retreat taking place February 23-25. You can register today at www.coastalcouplesretreat.com
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