How to Give Your Marriage a Makeover in Only 10 Days
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2014 3 Mar
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Philip Wagner’s new book The Marriage Makeover: 10 Days to a Stronger, More Intimate Relationship (Authentic Publishers, 2014).
Unresolved issues between you and your spouse can make your marriage messy – and a messy marriage can discourage you to the point where you lose hope that your marriage can ever improve. But no matter how messy your marriage is, it can significantly improve in just 10 days if you dedicate yourself to changing the environment of your relationship during that time. If you change the environment of your marriage – from one that’s hostile, cold, and distant to one that’s trusting, warm, and embracing – you’ll create a safe and promising atmosphere in which you both can successfully work on the issues between you.
Here’s how you can give your marriage a makeover in only 10 days:
Start with the right attitude. Approach your marriage with an unselfish, loving attitude that’s conducive to bringing out the best in each other. Rather than focusing on what your spouse can do for you, focus on how you can serve your spouse in a way that will produce love and respect in your marriage. That will set the stage for positive change to occur in your relationship with each other.
Day 1: Make your marriage a top priority in your life. Honestly consider how much time and energy you spend on your marriage every day, versus other relationships (such as with your children and friends) and activities (such work and watching TV) in your life. Make a conscious choice to avoid neglecting your marriage by giving it your full attention as one of your top priorities every day. Ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind every day so your marriage is at the forefront of your thoughts. Look for opportunities to nurture your relationship with your spouse regularly, such as date nights. Eliminate excess activities from your schedule so you’ll be free to spend time together to grow your marriage. Let your spouse know how important he or she is to you, through both your words and your actions.
Day 2: Honor each other. Pray for the ability to see your spouse from God’s perspective, which will inspire you to honor each other’s true worth. You can honor each other by loving and respecting each other unconditionally – no matter what – as a way of honoring the fact that God has made you both in his image. Take advantage of opportunities to communicate encouraging messages to your spouse and serve your spouse through acts of kindness.
Day 3: Admire your spouse. Move beyond simply tolerating your spouse to truly appreciating him or her, and expressing genuine admiration that will improve your marriage. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see how your differences (in personality, background, strengths, weaknesses, and gender) can complement each other so that you all can accomplish more together than you can apart. Remember why you fell in love with your spouse in the first place, and express your admiration to your spouse in fresh ways.
Day 4: Build greater trust between you. Trust is vital to the health of your marriage, but in order to develop more trust in your relationship, each of you has to work to earn it from each other by being trustworthy. Pray for the wisdom you need to know what to do to earn a deeper level of trust from your spouse. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you when you’re not giving trust to your spouse when he or she deserves it from you. After either one of you breaks the trust between you (such as by lying or cheating), confess, repent, and do whatever it takes to restore trust over time so you all can feel safe with each other again.
Day 5: Forgive each other. Choose to obey God’s command to forgive each other for all of the ways – both small (like neglecting a household chore or saying some harsh words) and large (like betrayal or an addictive behavior) – that you hurt or offend each other. Remind yourself regularly that God has forgiven you of many sins, and let your gratitude for God’s forgiveness motivate you to answer his call to forgive each other. Think about issues about which you all may be holding grudges against each other and come up with ideas to resolve each one, while apologizing and letting each other off the hook for whatever you’ve been holding against each other.
Day 6: Change yourself to change your marriage. Instead of trying to get your spouse to change (which is a futile effort), ask the Holy Spirit to show you how you should change so your marriage will improve as a result. When you change your own attitudes and actions, the dynamic of your marriage will change, which can then inspire your spouse to make changes in his or her own life. If pain from your past is standing in the way of you making changes you know you should make in your life, pursue healing for that pain by talking about it with a trusted friend or counselor and processing it with God’s help.
Day 7: Increase your connection with each other. Get closer to each other spiritually by praying together (either aloud or silently). Deepen your emotional connection by scheduling 15 to 20 minutes of uninterrupted time to talk and listen carefully to each other, and doing activities that you mutually enjoy.
Day 8: Play together. Make time to have fun together whenever you can. Enjoy humor and laughter together. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you and your spouse a fresh dose of joy in your marriage.
Day 9: Help meet each other’s needs. Pray for guidance about how you can best contribute to toward meeting your spouse’s needs, and listen carefully to the needs your spouse expresses to you. Whenever your spouse makes an effort to meet your needs, thank him or her sincerely.
Day 10: Pursue God’s dreams for your lives together. Talk with each other about your dreams for the future, and ask the Holy Spirit to help you all identify which of those dreams God wants you to pursue. Then encourage each other to pursue God-given dreams, and figure out a plan to support each other in practical ways as you do so.
Adapted from The Marriage Makeover: 10 Days to a Stronger, More Intimate Relationship, copyright 2014 by Philip Wagner. Published by Authentic Publishers, Franklin, Tn., www.authenticpublishers.com.
Philip Wagner is the Lead Pastor of Oasis Church in Los Angeles. He and his wife, Holly, started the church in 1984 with 10 people, in a home Bible study in Beverly Hills. In 2008 he founded Generosity Water, a nonprofit organization committed to bringing solutions to the clean water crisis, and thus far they have funded more than 400 wells in 18 different countries, bringing clean water and hope to more than 250,000 people. Philip maintains a blog where he writes about leadership, ministry, relationships, marriage, social justice, and occasionally just living life. Visit at www.philipwagner.com. Philip speaks internationally on subjects like building healthy relationships, leadership lessons from a church in Hollywood, and social justice issues like the clean water crisis and helping widows and orphans. He is husband to one wife – Holly Wagner (the Godchick) – and father to two grown kids, Jordan and Paris. Follow him on Twitter at @PhilipWagnerLA.
Whitney Hopler, who has served as a Crosswalk.com contributing writer for many years, is author of the Christian novel Dream Factory, which is set during Hollywood's golden age. Visit her website at: whitneyhopler.naiwe.com.
Publication date: March 26, 2014