Before we owned our home, we rented it for three years. During that time, we didn’t do many upgrades. We weren’t too interested in investing in a place that wasn’t permanent. We dreamed of owning our own home, but because we weren’t sure how long we would be in this one, we didn’t care for it like it was ours.
Two years ago we signed those long awaited papers, taking ownership of the house. From that moment on, we have had a different view of our home. Our new thought process was, “if we’re going to be here a while, let’s make it the home we want to live in.” So, we stained the deck, painted the walls, and renovated the front porch.
What does this have to do with marriage? Everything. Some people view their marriage like they view a rented house. They stop investing, stop being intentional, and suddenly “this old place” isn’t as attractive as it was at first, so they start looking elsewhere for a better one. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Marriage can be wonderful, even decades into it. But a great marriage requires regular maintenance and investment: date nights, talk time, intimacy, respect, acts of love, the list goes on and on.
If your marriage has started to crack, to break apart, and to lose its luster, don’t lose hope! You can decide today to start owning it! Maybe you even sign a document as a symbol of your re-commitment to each other.
How do your own your marriage? Begin to do the things that you did at first. Speak to each other with love and respect. Crack open a marriage book or devotional (I can recommend some great ones). Prioritize date nights, even if they’re late night after the kids are in bed. Hold hands. Hug. Kiss goodbye. Kiss hello. Start something new together. Dream together. Talk about the future. Pray together. It’s amazing how quickly your view of your marriage can change when you start to own it.
Justin and I have a similar thought process about our marriage that we have about our home: “If we’re going to be together for the rest of our lives, we’re going to make this the best marriage possible!” We’ve been together now over 15 years, and married over 10, and I can say with confidence that our relationship has got better and better every year. We’ve shared our office with many struggling couples, helping them to revive their marriage. They come with baggage, hurts, mistrust, and deep issues. But fixing problems isn’t always the solution. It’s the couple that invests in their marriage on a weekly basis that makes it in the long run, and ends up happier than newlyweds.
You aren’t stuck in your marriage. You own your marriage, and it’s up to you to make it the marriage of your dreams!