48 Hours to a Better Marriage
Can’t get away from town to participate in an organized marriage seminar or retreat? No problem. There’s a lot you can do together—right at home—to reconnect and strengthen your relationship in a weekend.
1. Make a plan together.
Talk about your relationship “recharge” ahead of time to clear the calendar of other commitments, make sure the children are cared for, and do some advance prep work. One of the best things you can do to kick off some meaningful discussions is to read a great marriage book together beforehand.
2. Kick it off with some fun.
You don’t want your marriage-building weekend to feel like a chore (especially if one of you is skeptical of the whole idea), so make Friday night about fun and relaxation. Go out for a great dinner and catch a movie or concert. Don’t feel any pressure to discuss anything of importance—just enjoy each other. Plan to make bedtime a little more special, too! Light a few candles and wear something awesome. Trust us, it will be appreciated!
3. Saturday Morning Reflection.
On Saturday morning, take time to prepare a special breakfast or go out to one of your favorite places. Plan to linger after breakfast to talk about what you learned or found meaningful in the book you both read. If you didn’t read a book, use our Talk: Marriage Conversation Starters. How does what you learned apply to your marriage? What did you discover that could smooth out some of the rough places in your relationship?
4. Put Your Core Values on Paper.
For every marriage and family, there needs to be a small number of fundamental values that govern your everyday decision-making. If you’ve never done this before, take time to pin down at least three or four key values that you want to adhere to in all things. Agreeing on these can stop a lot of relationship static before it ever starts, or can make it clear when one of you is off-track.
5. Take a Break and Play.
Take advantage of your free day together and do something fun. It might be doing something active together like going for a run or playing a little tennis. Or you might want to spend some time browsing around a favorite bookstore. Just get out and have some fun!
6. Identify the Challenges Ahead.
One of the best ways to keep your marriage on stable footing is to keep an eye out for the storms and be prepared. Is one of you facing a lot of stress at work? Pinpoint specific things you can each do to make sure that pressure doesn’t rock your relationship. Do you have a parenting challenge with one of the kids? Work together to decide how best to handle it. A united parental front is far more effective when dealing with your child, and can safeguard your marriage from arguments about what should be done. Have a major financial challenge on the horizon? Work together now to make a budget and a plan for meeting it. But, set a block of time for these discussions on your weekend. When the time is up, the conversation is over.
7. Name the “Wins.”
It’s easy to get caught up in what’s lacking in your marriage when you take out a magnifying glass to examine it. Don’t forget to celebrate what you each get right! Is your husband a great provider? Tell him how grateful you are for that. Are the two of you on-track to meet a significant goal together (health, financial, relational, etc.)? Celebrate that! It’s encouraging to remember what’s good about your life together, and it can energize you to tackle those weak spots with the knowledge that they, too, can improve.
8. Worship Together.
Wrap up your weekend of relationship building by worshipping together on Sunday morning. If you don’t have a regular church home, check out someplace new together. A loving church family can be a great source of support for your marriage and family in good times and bad!
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