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Saturday, January 28, 2012
Maybe you’ve settled it in your heart to grow your marriage, to make it stronger, more intimate, more passionate and full of life. As I encouraged in my last post, you’ve realized that there is so much more in store for your marriage. Good for you!
Maybe you’ve even take some steps and made some changes that are producing fruit in your marriage. Terrific! I’m excited for you!
Regardless of which scenario fits your situation, I’m going to offer you some important tools to help you navigate the marital road ahead. These are like a compass (or more aptly a GPS) for your marriage, to help you get from where you are to where you want to go.
The first, and in some ways most important, of these three marital navigation instruments is watchfulness.
Watchfulness is really about getting off autopilot. It’s about living your life fully alive and awake instead of dazed, dull and half asleep. It’s about keeping yourself focused and alert.
You can apply watchfulness to many areas of your life, including your spiritual life. But our focus today is on being watchful in your marriage.
Watchfulness is the key to transforming the mundane into the marvelous. When you begin to master the skill of watchfulness, you get in tuned into your spiritual, mental, emotional and physical senses and become fully aware of how all that you are thinking, doing and speaking affects your marriage and your spouse.
To gauge your current degree of watchfulness, consider how often are you really aware of how you are impacting your marriage and your spouse?
How and What to Watch
Watchfulness is mostly an internal discipline, yet watchfulness can strongly guide your actions in a way the hugely benefits the entire atmosphere of your marriage. Let’s look at a few key areas to watch.
- Mental – How well do you control your thought life, particularly with respect to your spouse and your marriage? Do you purposefully think thoughts of thankfulness and blessing or do you tend to focus on what’s missing or what you aren’t getting?
- Emotional – do you tend to be emotionally reactive or are you able to step back and keep negative emotions in check? Do you watch how you express your emotions to your spouse? Intentionally foster positive emotions of love and intimacy. Stir yourself to be emotionally present.
- Sexual – Did you know you can also be sexually watchful? Staying attuned to your sexual desires and fueling passion for your spouse can pay significant dividends in sexual intimacy.
- Spiritual – stay tuned into what God is doing and saying about your marriage. “Discern the seasons” and direction of things in your own spiritual life and that of your wife or husband.
The Habit of Watchfulness
I realize that there is so much competing for your attention these days that it can be a challenge to remain watchful over your marriage. The constant bombardment of our senses from every direction can actually drive us to want to disengage from them rather than pay closer attention to them.
But truthfully, learning to keep attuned in your spirit, soul and body in ways that benefit your marriage, as challenging as it might be, is a habit that can be cultivated and strengthened through regular exercise. The more you do it, the better you get at it.
I’ll conclude the topic of watchfulness with a caution: use it only to focus on the good stuff. Watchfulness is not about nitpicking or finding fault. Rather, its’ about keeping your heart alive in a way that enhances intimacy, passion and desire for your spouse.
What are the areas where you’ve tuned out and need to be more watchful in your own marriage? What have you done to cultivate a habit of watchfulness and to keep your own marriage off of autopilot?
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Some more related thoughts on watchfulness:
- More about watchfulness
- The habit of thankfulness
- Watching what you say
- Watching what you think
- Pursuing your spouse
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