Intentional: Def – Done on purpose; deliberate.(adj)
Synonyms deliberate – willful – purposeful – intended
Every married person walks into marriage carrying a lot of expectations and dreams.
But all too soon and on top of discovering the extent of their own humanity, they also discover they married another human being.
As the reality calls out, the challenge lies in what we do with it, how we allow it to shape our thinking, actions and habits.
Because so often, our attitude determines the health of our marriage from that point on.
Loving the choice you made.
In his book Secrets Men Keep, Stephen Arterburn says
“..unfortunately, we live in a culture that has one of its many mantras “if it feels good, do it!” The converse of that philosophy is obviously “if it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it!”
We have put such a premium on feeling good that we have neglected the time-tested truth, in the long term, feeling good is always a result of doing good. And doing good involves the will, that steady sentry that stands silent guard over a man’s moral matrix.”
I am convinced that “having it good” in marriage comes from being deliberate, purposeful, willful in our thoughts, actions and habits.
It comes from being intentional in living out God’s blue print for marriage.
Thoughts on being intentional in marriage
1. God never gives us what we deserve
We won’t pursue (our spouse) intentionally if we keep a “tit for tat” mindset.
God wants us to love lavishly, the same way He’s loved us.
That kind of love is not dependent on feelings. It’s purposeful and deliberate.
2. Intentionality costs
Intentionality looks beyond temporary discomfort.
It embraces the cost of the journey because the end result is precious.
We may not like dying to self but we walk in the understanding that a thriving marriage is counter cultural and counter flesh.
3. Your happiness is your responsibility.
We set ourselves up for a mighty dreary time in marriage when we hang our ability to be happy on our spouse’s ability to change.
An intentional mindset understands that happiness is a personal choice.
It’s not even something God can be or do on our behalf. We have to make up our mind to be happy.
4. You must love the choice you made
Our premarital counselor used to tell us that a person might have been an “imperfect match” before the wedding.
But once the vows were taken, they became the “perfect choice”.
His point? It didn’t matter what happened (or didn’t happen) before the marriage vows.
Once married, people have to make up their mind to love the choice they made.
Yanking that rear view mirror goes along way in helping a marriage thrive.
5. God won’t do marriage on your behalf
An intentional mindset understands that God doesn’t do marriage on our behalf.
For example, many people are peace keepers, not necessarily peace makers.
There some things we chalk up to “God’s will” or “it is what it is” mindset.
But the truth is that we stopped pushing for solutions and making a demand on His promise.
Being purposeful in the relationship means walking the extra mile, filled with a burning hope for greater days.
No easy answers
I know that there are no simplistic answers to marital challenges or one-size fits all answer for “how to do marriage”.
If there were, we would not need God.
I believe however that when we approach marriage with an “intentional” mindset, when we push beyond selfish desires and activate our will to do good in our marriage, we can experience amazing relationships.
Question – What are your thoughts on being intentional in marriage? Please share your thoughts in Comments.