By Jennifer Waddle, Crosswalk.com
One of the biggest blessings of having a significant other in your life, is to have someone you can depend on, someone you can trust, and someone with whom you can spend quality time. However, there is a tendency to grow complacent with those closest to us. And as we get comfortable in our relationship, it’s easy to lose the intentionality that first brought us together.
No longer do we spend hours planning creative dates and outings. No longer do we discuss the deeper things of life. And, no longer do we let the other person know how loved and valued they really are.
The good news is, we can be intentional with our significant other by taking a step back and reevaluating what matters most. Here are 4 ways to spend intentional time with your significant other:Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Priscilla Du Preez
1. Learn to appreciate their God-given strengths.
So often, when two people are attracted to each other, they find that they are opposite in many ways. My husband, for example, is quiet, methodical, and strong in action. I, on the other hand, am outspoken, creative, and best with words. But over the last 28 years, I’ve learned to appreciate my husband’s God-given strengths. I’ve stopped trying to conform him to my ways of doing things. And you know what? It’s made a huge difference in our compatibility.
We are gracious towards one another, having lowered our unrealistic expectations. And, we recognize areas of weakness as opportunities to step up and help each other out. All these years later, we are much more attuned to each other’s likes and dislikes. We treat each other mindfully and respectfully. And ultimately, we’ve experienced happier times because of it.
While it takes a measure of yielding and submitting, appreciation of individual strengths is a quality that can take your relationship to a whole new level. Spend time with your significant other by investing in who they were made to be. If they are especially gifted in acts of service, join them in volunteer opportunities or outreach programs. If they are strong encouragers, be sure to encourage them as often as you can, realizing that they need words of affirmation as well.
Consider your significant other’s primary love language as you find meaningful ways to build them up. Recognize one another’s weaknesses without judgment. Encourage one another’s strengths and learn from them. By doing these things, your intentionality will not go unnoticed!
For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Romans 12:4-8
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Justin Follis
2. Learn to communicate.
When couples are too focused on having fun, without ever stopping to invest in deep and meaningful conversations, the relationship will most likely be built on shallow ground. When storms come—and they will— the foundation may start to crumble.
Learn to communicate with your significant other and be intentional about discussing important issues. Don’t be afraid to open up about your stance on marriage, family, finances and more. By developing a strong communication habit, you will better withstand the winds of conflict that are sure to come.
It’s not unlike the parable that Jesus taught, about the house being built on sand instead of rock. Even though He was talking about hearing His words and putting them into practice, the idea of having a solid foundation with your significant other is crucial for withstanding inevitable storms that will arise. If you are having trouble communicating, consider meeting with an older, wiser couple in your church. Mentorship can help open up the lines of communication and ultimately deepen your relationship with your significant other.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Christin Hume
3. Learn how to love God together.
One of the most important things you can do with your significant other is to spend time in prayer and in the Word. If you aren’t intentional about seeking God together, you may find yourselves growing in different directions.
Allow God to be the center of your relationship—in every way. This is the best pattern to set for the health and wellbeing of your commitment to one another. If there are any issues that are complicating things, don’t hesitate to reach out for wise counsel to help you navigate.
The reminder to love God and love each other may sound too simple, but putting it into practice is the best way to grow together in the Lord. Through regular Bible study, worship, prayer, and church attendance, you will nurture the most important part of your relationship—unity in Christ.
Here are a couple of Bible study resources to consider as you seek God together:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/CassidyRowell
4. Learn how to commit.
One of the major obstacles for relationships seems to be an obstacle of commitment. For some reason, the word commitment has adopted a negative connotation and tends to scare couples away from devoting their lives solely to one another. However, I’d like to encourage you to be intentional in considering a lasting commitment with your significant other.
If the Lord has brought you together, and has shown you that your relationship is part of His will, take the necessary steps towards committing your future to one another. Don’t let fear or doubt stand in the way of moving forward with blessing. This is a seriously intentional thing, but it can be a wonderful way to solidify your devotion to one another. For one thing, commitment establishes trust, and trust is crucial to a healthy and lasting relationship. And when you actually verbalize your commitment to one another, you eliminate the unease that sometimes surrounds noncommittal relationships. It is so important that you and your significant be on the same page and proceed as the Lord leads.
Commit yourselves first to the Lord, and then to each other. By doing this, your relationship will be on its way to not only surviving, but thriving. Discuss your beliefs and ask the hard questions. Dig deep to find out if your significant other is on the same page as you. I realize this can be somewhat scary, especially if you find you aren’t in agreement. However, gain a right perspective concerning commitment and allow it to be an exciting possibility moving forward.
We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer. People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives. Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:1-3
Significant others are true blessings in our lives. They afford us companionship, camaraderie, and hopefully, lasting commitment. Be intentional about time spent with them, and go beyond the surface stuff of life. Your relationship will only be strengthened when you learn to appreciate one another’s gifts, communicate well, and commit to one another according to God’s will.
Jennifer Waddle considers herself a Kansas girl, married to a Colorado hunk, with a heart to encourage women everywhere. She is the author of several books, including Prayer WORRIER: Turning Every Worry into Powerful Prayer, and is a regular contributor for LifeWay, Crosswalk, and Abide. Jennifer’s online ministry is EncouragementMama.com, where you can find her books and sign up for her Encourage Letter, “Discouragement Doesn’t Win.” She resides with her family near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—her favorite place on earth.
Photo Credit: ©Pexels/Snapwire