It was late one Saturday night when I left my wife’s house. We had been seeing each other for a while but were not yet engaged. We were falling in love and it was hard to leave her, so I stayed as long as I could. The hardest part about long-distance relationships is saying goodbye. So we reluctantly lingered on her front porch, and I finally faded back to my truck. I had at least a 3-hour drive home, so I put on a CD to listen to. The player was set to loop, and in the end, it would just automatically start over.

She lived in a small town near the Virginia/ North Carolina state line. It was about 40 minutes through tiny two-lane country roads to the interstate. When I got there, I settled into the leather seats of my truck and activated the cruise control. I could hear large transfer trucks passing by and could see the endless headlights coming at me from the other lanes. It would be like this for hours as I barrelled down Interstate 85. Everything looked the same, except the numbers on the mile markers went down and the inevitable construction zones just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. I think the road crews have been working in about the same spots for like 30 years.

About an hour from home there was a Kangaroo gas station/truck stop. I had stopped there before to get gas or a sida to keep me awake. But tonight I just kept going. That sign was the last thing I saw.

The next morning I woke up fully clothed in my bed. My suitcase was outside at the front door. To this day I can’t remember what happened for the last hour of that drive. Somehow I made it safely home, but I completely lost an hour of my life. I just missed whatever happened. 

This is the way that life and marriage can get if you are not careful. You just miss what’s going in your life. It’s like you are sleep-driving through your marriage oblivious to anything and everything until you realize it’s gone.

Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75

-Benjamin Franklin 

Table of Contents

5 Ways to Become Relationship Mindful

  1. Turn off Your Cruise Control
  2. Be Intentional
  3. Set Expectations for Your Relationship
  4. Make Your “Tuesdays” Meaningful
  5. Live Like You Won’t Have Tomorrow

1. Turn off Your Cruise Control

At some point in life, we all have a tendency to get comfortable, set the cruise control and just ride. The hope is that you will just end up where you are supposed to be. This is not healthy for your life or your relationship because life does not stay the same. And you will miss all those changes and opportunities to love and live life together.

God Doesn’t Want You to Stay the Same

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

II Peter 1:5-8

Life with God is a constant push to change and grow in your faith and walk with the Lord. If you are not moving forward with God, you are going backward.

[bctt tweet=”The gear shifter of your faith doesn’t have neutral, only a forward and reverse.”]

There are plenty of people who never grow in their walk with the Lord. But God is not pleased with that. In fact, He fills your life with changes to push you to change. Even hardships have a divine and ultimate purpose of changing you into the image of Christ. God wants you to constantly add to your faith. 

Your Marriage Demands that You Change

If you have been married for any length of time, you know that things change. These changes demand that you make adjustments in your relationship.

Things change in your relationship, and you must change with them in order to maintain a good marriage. You have to adjust your life to fit the needs of your marriage as those needs change. I think a big example of this is when you have kids. Whereas before you were just lovers, now you have to add co-parent to your relationship. Another example is health problems, if your spouse develops a health condition, now you must add “caregiver” to your relationship description. It’s apart of life and being married.

If you are going to leave your cruise control on and not make adjustments you are going to wreck your marriage. You just can’t stay the same!

2. Be Intentional

Be Aware of the Changes in Your Marriage

Notice when things are happening or changing in your marriage. If you know you have some life-changes coming soon, go ahead and prepare for those changes. You have to change you, in order to have a successful relationship. Changes may require you to make some personal sacrifices. So prepare yourself emotionally, so when that change happens you are ready to adjust.

It’s like when you are having that first baby, you get the nursery ready, buy diapers, and a car seat. You make adjustments to accommodate that change. Your love life is filled with making those kinds of accommodations for each other. 

So you have to notice when things may be changing and intentionally make the necessary personal changes to keep your love and marriage thriving. It also helps to intentionally communicate about those changes that you must each make in your relationship.

[bctt tweet=”Being intentional in marriage means you are communicating with each other.”]

There was the old TV sitcom from the 1960s called Bewitched. When I was little we watched the reruns. Not that I condone or endorse anything in the show, it was just hilarious! The nosy neighbor, Gladys Kravitzwould constantly witness incredible things happening to the main characters, like their entire house disappearing. Then she would call out to her husband, Abner, to tell him, but he always missed it because he was reading the paper! It makes me laugh to think about it!

A lot of people are like Abner in their marriage. Completely disconnected to what is going on. But you have to be aware and intentional to have the kind of marriage that you want to have.

Do Things on Purpose to Help Your Relationship

Marriage is a lot like your relationship with Jesus. If you want to have a better walk with Him, you have to do things intentionally to make that happen. For example, you might make the commitment to read your Bible and pray every morning before you eat breakfast. This way you make an intentional effort to grow in your faith. Or you may decide to listen to edifying, Christian music or Bible preaching instead of talk radio or the news. Maybe you could commit to spending as much time studying your Bible and praying as you do on social media channels like Youtube or Facebook. Those little intentional choices that you make can have a huge impact on your walk with God.

You have to handle your marriage relationship in the same way. I am going to take some time to spend with my spouse intentionally, to strengthen my marriage. Or I am going to make an effort to be more thoughtful and considerate to my spouse intentionally.

[bctt tweet=”You don’t get a great marriage on accident.”]

The following a few things you can do together intentionally to change your marriage:

  • Pray together
  • Plan a date
  • Take the time to talk and listen to each other
  • Think about each other during the day
  • Cook a meal together
  • Read a book together

You know the intentional things that you can do in your marriage that can help change things, you just have to be intentional about doing them!

3. Set expectations for your relationship

Having no goals or ambitions in life is like floating on a raft in the ocean and just hoping you end up in the right place. NO! You need a plan, a compass, and an idea of where you need to be!  Your goals should be realistic and Bible-based. You should never have a goal or ambition that will lead you away from God.

Have Expectations for what You Want for Your Relationship

Discuss your own expectations for your relationship with your spouse. And be willing to listen to theirs. You may have to compromise with each other in order to have shared expectations. But you have to talk about those expectations so that you will both be on the same page!

Examples of Expectations:

  • Serve the Lord together in a ministry
  • Become and stay madly in love with each other
  • Do more things together
  • Start a small business together
  • Move to a different area
  • Travel together

Talk to each other about these expectations. It may take time and planning together to meet those expectations, but you can’t get there without having them. Also, understand that it’s OK if it takes time to get the kind of relationship that you desire. It’s like having a goal to aim for. A great example would be a basketball player who is aiming for the basketball goal. He is shooting to score in the basket. Having expectations means that you have a goal to shoot at.

[bctt tweet=”Have something that you are aiming for, even if you miss, at least you know that you are heading in the right direction.”]

You should have personal expectations as well as expectations for your relationship. Maybe in your personal life, you are aiming for something small, like praying for 15 minutes every day. Regardless of what the expectations are, just having them is an important step in your personal life and in your marriage.

Develop a Plan to Make Those Expectations a Reality

It’s not enough to just have expectations. You must have the means to get there. If you want to have a closer relationship with each other, you are going to have to make time to spend together. If you want to serve together in the ministry you may have to make changes in your work or personal life. You may have to give some things up to gain your expectations. 

It takes a certain level of vulnerability to have expectations for yourself and your relationship. You could fail to make it. But you don’t really fail unless you choose not to aim. It’s ironic that not having the courage to aim, is worse than aiming and missing. You see, your love relationship is really about the process of aiming your lives together.

Again, it’s like your walk with God. Your aim is to be like Jesus, which is something you cannot fully achieve until you get to Heaven. The Christian life is all about the process.

4. Make Your “Tuesdays” Meaningful

Every day of the week has some kind of meaning. Sunday is the first day of the week and also a day of worship for me. Monday is the first day of the workweek. Wednesday is the middle of the week. Thursday is the day before Friday which is the last day of the workweek and starts the weekend. Saturday is the weekend and in some ways so is Sunday.

But Tuesday just seems like a meaningless day. It’s just Tuesday! Just another day on the calendar. Your marriage can get stuck on a “Tuesday”!? It’s just the same old thing all the time. It’s like the worn-out track on your favorite CD. You have just heard it too much. 

Make the Ordinary parts of Marriage Extraordinary

Let’s face it, most of your marriage is lived on a “Tuesday”. It’s in your every day that life happens.

[bctt tweet=”The small moments are what make your marriage what it is. Stop and enjoy your time together in those moments that are just ordinary and your marriage will become extraordinary.”]

Big Love Happens in the Small Moments

The small moments make your life what it is. When you just sit on the couch, hold hands, and look into each other’s eyes. When you shared a long hug together. When you hold hands while driving down the road. When just sit down and talked over breakfast. When you laugh together. In those small moments that may have only lasted for a few seconds, you define a lifetime of love.

5. Live Like You Won’t Have Tomorrow

Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 

James 4:13-14

Today is the Most Valuable Thing You Own

It’s like we don’t get it. That tomorrow everything could change. What you have right now, may be gone tomorrow without warning. It’s like we all think it’s going to happen to someone else. And then it happens to us. One moment, one phone call, or one event could change everything about your life. So live today with your spouse, as if there will be no tomorrow. Be mindful that today is the day that you have to be married to the love of your life. What you have today may be the only thing you will have to hold onto for the rest of your life.

Don’t End the Day on Bad Note

The Bible nailed it on this principle. 

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 

Ephesians 4:26

Let all the hard feelings and friction of living together go before you go to bed. Because you may not be able to fix it tomorrow. You may not have another chance to make things right with each other. 


5 Ways to Become Relationship Mindful

  1. Turn Off Your Cruise Control
  2. Be Intentional in Your Marriage
  3. Set Expectations for Your Relationship
  4. Make Your “Tuesdays” Meaningful
  5. Live Like You Won’t Have Tomorrow

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