Back is not the direction we usually want to head in, but sometimes it is only in moving backwards that we can begin to move forward.
It's that age old adage that we have to learn to crawl before we can walk, and walk before we can run. It's the crawling that builds the muscles and gives us necessary strength for the next step, literally.
There’s a proper order to things, and if we skip over something as foundational as building muscle strength before we start off on a journey, we might find ourselves in some trouble, and perhaps falling a bit more than we normally would. The same is true if we were to run a race without practicing or training. We might survive it, but it will likely not be a new personal record, and we will also more than likely pull a hamstring. This is true in our physical world as much as it is in our emotional and relational worlds too.
In our marriages, we always want to keep practicing, and we don't ever want to feel as if we have arrived at mastery. Mastery is one of those things that we will never achieve this side of heaven. Especially over something that is constantly changing, like a marital relationship. Let's face it, we're all vulnerable to failure and to making mistakes. Mistakingly believing that we have reached mastery can breed not only arrogance, but also complacency. Achieving mastery, fools us into thinking we need not do any more work because we have arrived. It is in that moment that we let our guards down and become vulnerable.
If you want to revamp your marriage, or if you need to get back on course, take the time today to go back to the basics. Go back to the fundamental place in your marriage where it all once began, the sharing of your vows. Whether you wrote your own or used traditional ones, pull them out, re-read them. You now have experience in your marriage that gives you a new lens to view your vows from. When you originally promised them to one another I'm sure you believed they would come with ease, but I'm betting your "experience" now tells you otherwise. There may even be some that you haven't been putting into practice for a while.
Take the time to read those words that you declared and promised to your spouse in the sight of God, your family and your friends. (You can even google some vows for a reference.) As you do, ask yourselves and one another these questions...
What exactly was it that we promised to each other?
What did we each say that we, as individuals would do and how am I, and how are we, living up to it?
What kind of spouse did I say I was going to be, and to what ends?
Do I still mean and take action on these things today, or does our marriage need help? Honestly.
Are we willing to return to the basics of loving one another as we once declared?
In light of our vows, what is at least one practical thing we can begin to change?
It's probably been a while since most of you said those vows. I'm sure you've realized that time, circumstances and aging, changes people. Some of that change is good and some, perhaps not so good, but regardless, change doesn't release us from our covenants.
Take an honest look back, reboot those fundamental promises in your marriage. Make a realistic plan for getting back to the basics with your spouse. Even if you choose one thing to change, that's a great start in the right direction. Honor that covenant you made to your spouse and to God. You won’t regret it!
Every once in a while it's good to restart your journey!