From time to time, I’m asked about how to work on marriage, that is, to make a marriage stronger–more stable and healthy. When ever I think about working on anything, I think of my father.
My Dad was a hard worker and a good man. He was often the first one up in the morning and the last one in bed. In the 70’s, he sold petroleum products plus nuts and bolts straight commission. Still, he earned around $40,000 a year doing it. For a guy selling to farmers with no college degree, etc.; that was and is pretty impressive.
Dad always saw himself in terms of his work and his ability to provide. Thus, full retirement with nothing to do was never a good thing. When, at age 77, he came to the place where he couldn’t work or drive any longer, it was over. He retired and had a party on a Tuesday, had a stroke on Thursday, and was dead by Sunday.
Work was important to Dad. In many ways, it defined him. He enjoyed it. It wasn’t drudgery or something he resented–it was what enriched his life.
Work Your Marriage
I think the key to working on marriage and making a marriage healthier is to see it in much the same way. It’s not exhausting labor or agonizing, stressful effort. Rather, the effort to serve and express love to one another is what defines us. It’s enriching–even fun. I’m not suggesting it’s easy, just as it wasn’t easy for my Dad. What I AM suggesting is that it’s worth it and, we can learn to enjoy the journey as we do it.
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