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What Matters

The Four Steps to Make some Wonderful in your Marriage.

A great marriage simply takes two people willing to put in the work to discover what matters and pursuing it in love. Don’t worry about being compatible. If there are areas where your experience has been different than your spouse it doesn’t mean your marriage is doomed, it means you have more work to do.

Wherever you find yourself today, these four steps will allow passion to thrive in your marriage.

  1. Discover what matters
  2. Agree on what matters
  3. Renegotiate what matters
  4. Live what matters
Image credit: krasimiranevenova / 123RF Stock Photo
Image credit: krasimiranevenova / 123RF Stock Photo

1. Discover what matters

All relationships are built on discovering what matters. In marriage it’s especially critical to discover what matters in order to build intimate connection. Life experiences help formulate what’s important. Some experiences such as trauma drastically influence how people view life; other experiences are more subtle in how they determine our reactions.

For the best discoveries:

  • Take the time to discover what matters to you. You have to search your own motivations before you can effectively learn about your spouse. Take time to think about your own experiences. Growing up I saw my dad willingly work long hours to support our family. Due to his positive influence, professional diligence and loyalty matter deeply to me.
  • Commit to a lifetime of discovering what matters to your spouse. The more you know about their experiences and how they have reacted to them, the better you can understand what really matters to them and why.

2. Agree on what matters

Once you take the time to understand what matters to your spouse and why, you must come to agreement on what’s important for you as a couple. Now that you are married a cohesive vision is critical. Agreeing on what matters will clarify what is expected in the relationship. For example my wife and I have agreed that connection with extended family matters. From that agreement we have clarified how we prioritize travel to visit family. In a way marriage requires a behavioral contract. When you agree to react a certain way and keep your word over time, it builds strong trust.
Conflict can be dramatically reduced in marriage when you:

  • Agree on what matters about God.
  • Agree on what matters about extended family including in-laws. 
  • Agree on what matters about children and parenting them.

Once you agree about what matters it is much easier to determine together how to accomplish daily tasks. When you agree that it matters to have intelligent children, deciding to read to them easily flows from that decision.

When you agree on what matters you don’t have to worry about money. Agree what matters in your relationship and it will be much easier to negotiate how to handle your money.

Financial expert Dave Ramsey says “money flows to what you value.”

3. Renegotiate what matters

Here comes a tricky part, life has a way of changing. Your marriage has to change too. Previous agreements regarding what matters may no longer make sense. Successful relationships constantly adjust depending on the circumstances. When my wife and I became parents what mattered changed and we had to integrate new agreements on what mattered most as new parents. Negotiation is difficult work, renegotiating will take effort. The most successful relationships are intentionally adaptable.

  • When life changes you must renegotiate what’s important. 

4. Live what matters

Your marriage is most energized when you are living consistent with what matters to you. There is nothing as tragic as when couples lose sight of what matters and their connection crumbles. There will always be distractions that will attempt to divert you. When you have a larger mission in focus your connection and influence will grow strong. Wonderful marriages consist of regular people living out each day what matters most. Always continue discovering together what matters in life and pursue it with love.

  • Pursue your passion together; life is wonderful when focused on what matters.

Question: What matters most to you?  What matters most to your spouse?  How are you living it out together?

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