Last week I wrote about 5 ways to make your marriage delightful this year. #5 on the list was “establish your relationship normal”
Later in the morning, Lori Ferguson from Encourage Your Spouse tweeted the post and added “I’m intrigued & pondering #5 …”
I thought I’d take time today to unpack a few thoughts on what it means to have relationship normal.
If you haven’t read the first post yet, please do so here.
So what is a “relationship normal”?
Simply put, a relationship normal is who you are at your core as a Christ-centered couple. It’s who you are when you are yourselves; when you are not trying to be like others.
A relationship normal is not about “arriving” or settling into comforts. It’s simply starting to find freedom and joy within your identity and calling in Christ.
Why is it important to establish a healthy normal for your marriage?
1. We are all unique
God creates originals, not duplicates. You and hubby are true masterpieces. There’s no other couple on earth like you.
When you vacate your spot (through trying to be like others), you not only leave your space unoccupied, you also head off to unknown territory.
I wonder how God feels? Giving us this amazing gift only to watch us throw it away for cheap imitation?
Your marriage will thrive as you embrace your identity in Christ. While it seem easier to imitate, true success comes from being an original.
You’ll impact others, enjoy marriage more, like your spouse more when you are free to be yourselves.
2. You’ll want to protect your normal (we protect what we love)
My husband and I have worked (and are still working) to create our relationship normal – an easy atmosphere is our marriage normal. We are not clowns or anything, in fact we are a bit old-fashioned.
But we laugh a lot, touch a lot, play a lot and get all silly; we enjoy having a good time. Our normal is Easy, Fun, Intimate.
We like our normal. We’ve had unhappy moments and we now like happy very much. Our love for our happy place motivates us big time when we deviate from the path.
We don’t need a rocket scientist to help us figure out when things are not right. We know abnormal when we see it.
Your normal will not look like our normal, or another couples normal (although it doesn’t hurt to create a fun marriage!) But everyone is unique in how they express themselves, how they communicate and how they love.
The goal here is to continually build towards who you are, not who you are not.
It’s okay to learn how others couple do their thing, but your marriage is an original. You have to learn how to do your thing.
Again, a healthy normal is not something you stumble into, it’s more a result of nurturing your whole marriage. It involves time, effort and grace.
Think about this way, when you chase happiness in life, it will elude you. But when you make it your goal to do and be the best with what you have, you become happier.
A healthy thriving normal for your marriage does not come as you aim directly..
Rather you discover your normal as you work at being the best spouse you can be to your husband (instead of waiting for your hubby to be the best spouse for you)
You achieve it as you keep your eyes open for what works and does not work for your relationship. You edge closer as you continue to lean on God and bath your marriage with extravagant grace.
3. It teaches you to put someone else before yourself
Finding a relationship normal is not about getting what you want or settling to personal comforts. In fact, it involves leaving your comfort zone and losing “me” and embracing “us” .
If I was to have my way, our normal would include a lot of outdoor life – hiking, camping, biking. But my husband, born and raised in the city, is not a friend of dust, mud, bugs and such kinds of excitements!
So embracing our normal has meant letting go of the idea that the best time we can have as a couple is hiking up a hill. And appreciating long walks and drives instead.
My husband has done a lot of trade offs as well. He loves logic and reason and can disseminate thoughts and ideas until there’s nothing left! But he’s learned to listen (and participate!) in conversations that make zero logic and see things through my eyes.
So what I am saying here is, don’t expect personal comfort. Rather, expect couple comfort. Where both of you are making trade-offs, getting into each others worlds, accepting one another, discovering new ways to thrive together.
4. We need the security and anchoring.
In my book Blues To Bliss, I wrote
“Marriage, ideally, should be an incubator of greatness where world changers are nurtured and unleashed into the world.”
Research shows that happily married people are more likely to live longer, be happier and become more successful. Having a solid reliable foundation, which is what marriage should be, helps you function at your optimum.
If you can go back home every day and you know exactly what you’ll find on the other side of the door, you’ll be more secure and therefore happier and healthier.
If on the other hand you can’t tell what kind of mood he’s in or if he’ll come home at all, your whole life is negatively affected.
So a good relationship normal helps you function at your optimum. Chaos and uncertainty takes away from that.
Psalm 68:6 says
God sets the lonely in families.
Most people have a deep longing to find a person to share their lives with. We want to know someone and to be known. And God brings our spouses along to answer that desire within our hearts.
But then He creates marriage in such a way that you only find the fulfillment when you are others-focused, not self-focused. When it’s no longer about you but about “us and what God wants for us”, then you start to settle in to a healthy thriving God-normal.
So that is what I mean by finding a relationship normal.
I pray that God will settle your hearts in Him. That as you focus on Him and His righteousness, all these other things shall be added unto you. I pray that your desire for a greater thing in your marriage will not be quenched.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6,7
Lets talk! Is this a new idea to you? How have you cultivated a good normal for your marriage? How can couples create a stronger foundation for their marriage?
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