As we’ve learned over the last few blogs, personal change, growth, and taking care of ourselves mentally, physically, spiritually, and especially emotionally are what God wants for each of us on our journey. He wants that for us because all these things are good for us as individuals, help us be more Christ-like, and also set the foundation for having a safe and connected marriage. And all of us definitely want that, right?
I was going over these elements on a Facebook Live recently. They blend perfectly with a concept that I learned from the National Institute of Marriage on the marriage journey. There are three distinct journeys that make up a marriage:
- My journey
- My spouse’s journey
- Our marital journey
Marriage is a journey of adventure and discovery. Embrace it.
My Journey —
When you think of your own personal journey, you have to remember that this is 100% your responsibility. It’s not your spouse’s; it’s your own — independent of anyone else. The goal is to become the man or woman that God created and called you to be … to conform to the image of the Son. Remember that from the beginning, God had a plan for each of us, and as a result, our opportunity is to think, act and BE like him. This is how we will live in freedom, peace, and learn to do our own journey well.
Two verses are perfect to repeat to yourself as you take this path:
“For God knew His people in advance, and he chose them to become like His Son.” — Romans 8:29 NLT
“We are to put on the new self, created to become like God in true righteousness and holiness.” — Ephesians 4:24 NIV
My Spouse’s Journey —
This, too, is where people often struggle. Just like your journey is your own, the same can be said for your spouse’. It is 100% their responsibility and ZERO % yours. It is their opportunity to become the man or woman that God created. We only “work” on our spouse at their invitation. In the meantime, we are there to:
- Encourage, and
- Assist our spouse on their journey.
Our Marital Journey —
This is the only journey within the marriage that has a 50-50 shared responsibility. Our goal is to work together, communicate, grow together, and create a Christ-centered marriage where we share in His love.
With all three of these individual journeys, I am reminded of this quote from the National Institute of Marriage.
“If I am a follower of Jesus Christ, my personal journey is to be centered around becoming a more complete representation of the man or woman that God has created and called me to be. My model is to be more conformed to the image of Christ. I am fully responsible and therefore also accountable for how well I handle that calling during the span of my life.”
Remember: We are made…
- For relationships.
- With the capacity to choose.
- To take responsibility for ourselves.
God created us for relationships and closeness. Anything that promotes a sense of isolation leads to illness and suffering. Anything that promotes a sense of love, intimacy, connection, and community is healing.
All we are saying here is that to have a safe and connected marriage, we must take our own individual journeys. By taking those individual journeys, as a result, we can bring those learned skills and improved sense of self to the marital journey. It’s the best way to lead a complete and full marriage that is loving, caring, and leaves us open to express ourselves as the individuals we are.
We care about You and Your marriage!
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Did we leave anything out? How are you trying to be more mindful of your individual journey and your spouse’s journey? And how is that benefiting your marital journey together? Please send us a quick email and help us keep this conversation going at Mike@MikeandSusanDawson.com.