Today’s devotional is written by Lori Steinkamp Lassen. She is our only daughter, who has been married to her husband, Scott for 27 years. Lori is the mother of four children, and has worked with the ministry for many years. May her devotional deepen your spiritual walk with the Lord. – Charlyne
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4
A few months ago, my daughter had surgery on her foot. As part of her recovery, she has to undergo physical therapy. The doctor explained that we might be able to have her go to a couple of sessions and then do the exercises at home on our own. However, after some complications in her recovery, it became evident that she would need to go for much longer.
As I sit in the room watching everyone doing their physical therapy sessions, I can’t help but think about how similar their exercises are to the healing that takes place in a restored marriage.
You have been here before.
You have been married to this person. You know their likes and dislikes. You know how they like their eggs, and you know the fears they have. It can feel like restoration will be easy because there is familiarity in your relationship.
Ashley has to get the signals between her brain and her foot retrained so they operate as God intended. Simple things like taking a step were once done without much thought, but now, Ashley has to move slowly and methodically, so she doesn’t cause any additional damage.
Just as Ashley has to retrain her foot, your relationship will need some retraining. Old habits and ways of relating need to die. This is a new season, and you are both different people. You need to approach this marriage season with a freshness that can only come when you seek Christ in your relationship. If you don’t, there is a risk that you will fall back into old patterns. It doesn’t matter if you have been back together for one month or ten years, it is never too late to do some retraining in your relationship.
One way you can retrain your marriage is by communicating your expectations. Today is Valentine’s Day. Some people love the opportunity today will give to express your love to your spouse, and others think it is an ordinary Tuesday. It is important to know what your spouse thinks. Will they expect a card, romantic dinner, or flowers? The couples we talk to share that unmet expectation are a top reason that marriages see struggles.
One spouse thinks the other knows what they want, and when that doesn’t happen, it can lead to frustration and hurt feelings. The unmet expectations in marriage can happen in a variety of areas.
One spouse wants the house kept up a certain way, and the other has a different standard. One spouse thinks intimacy should happen three times a week, and the other is happy and fulfilled if it occurs only once a week. This is why communication in marriage is so important. You need to understand the needs of one another so you can retrain your communication to be loving and effective.
Don’t expect your spouse to be able to read your mind. How can you expect them to know if you don’t tell them what you are thinking and feeling? A loving marriage comprises two people willing to always put the other first. When you communicate your needs, desires, and expectations, you are helping strengthen your marriage.
Time to do some retraining!
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10