6. Own up. Paul himself notes in 1 Corinthians that though his conscience is clear, that doesn’t make him innocent. You’ve heard the 1% rule: Even if you’re only responsible for 1% of a conflict, you’re still 100% responsible for your 1%.Take time to pray through what you’re contributing to the rift. What’s the “log” in your eye? Are you forgiving your spouse, or developing even a hint of bitterness and resentment? Are you oversensitive, critical, or even apathetic? We always underestimate the impact our junk has on other people. Consider the pleading of Psalm 139:23-24: Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
7. Go back in the day. How did you and your mate first meet? What attracted you to each other? Consider recalling with your spouse some of your best memories together; some of the most intimate and celebrated moments; all those crazy places you’ve made love. You’ve got a story together, one God’s written. Take time to savor all you’ve had together.
8. Spend what’s precious on your mate. If it’s time, energy, cash, or attention, make as much space as you can for one of the top-priority relationships in your life. It could be surprising your mate with a night away, or a “date in” after a week of working up till bedtime, or finding friends to watch the kids. Employ plenty of forethought to carve it out and make it special—to communicate, we matter. You matter.
9. Protect. We’re more likely to wonder about the particular shade of grass over the fence when we’re struggling with discontent. If romantic stories or movies smother your fire for your spouse rather than stoking it, it’s time to cut them off entirely. If you’re struggling against the cancer that is pornography, get honest with a friend, get accountable, set up protection on all devices. Click here for 20 Ideas to Protect Your Marriage.
10. Get together about getting together. Gently, talk with your spouse about the distance you’re feeling–not accusing, but rather working together toward a solution (as opposed to working against your mate as the problem!). Start by expressing your desire to be closer–a positive thing–rather than focusing on what’s not happening. Ask for forgiveness for the stuff you’ve contributed. After you’ve done that, pray about how to lovingly talk to your spouse about a character issue that’s getting in the way of your intimate alliance.
11. Study hard. So much of love is truly seeing our spouse and their world in all its intricacies and complexities. Understanding him when you met…or even last month…doesn’t mean you see from his eyes now. Work diligently to comprehend and respond to your mate’s stresses, longings, griefs, joys.
12. Get down, get down. Get on your knees about your marriage; consider fasting on a regular basis. Beg God for oneness, passion, enduring love, and the grace to love your mate like He’s called you to. Ask Him for wisdom to know what to do, and all the affection you long for–so your marriage can show the world just how deep, wide, and long He loves us.