This past weekend our church hosted the 2019 XO Marriage Simulcast. The conference took place in Texas but we participated through simulcast and experienced some incredible speakers. Every marriage I know can use some help. Some of it is just tidying up places that we have let go while other couples need a complete makeover. Over the two days, I took lots of notes and plan to implement some of the things that I learned. I want to share eight of my takeaways that might give you some encouragement and insight as well.
Time For Communication – Jimmy Evans
Communication is critical for any marriage. It serves many purposes from information, to conflict resolution to romance. We can use words to heal our marriage. Jimmy Evans chose to allocate times to different types of communication we all need. This simple guideline may be of assistance in your marriage.
- Proactive time: 3-5 days per year where you plan and decide what the year is going to look like and what your plan of action is from money management to parenting to dates.
- Personal time: 1 hour per day where you unpack your day and talk about what happened. He encouraged this to be electronic free.
- Intimate time: 3-5 minutes per day where you tell each other how much you love one another and what you mean to each other.
Rhythms and Stories – Jefferson Bethke
This presentation was jam-packed. The essential point, however, was for us to look at our view of time. The Eastern world views time circularly. You live and die and then it starts all over. The Western world sees it as linear. We will one day die so do as much as you can before that happens. God’s timing is rhythmic; it is both circular and linear. You are going somewhere but there has to be time to reflect. He spoke about the importance of the family table and the meals we eat and the stories we tell. The world’s story will win if your family does not have one of it’s own.
- Daily – some things should happen daily that strengthen our family
- Weekly – this might be a date night or family game night
- Yearly – Holidays, birthdays and anniversaries are built in times for us to celebrate together
Don’t confuse the faith to believe with the discipline to endure – Jimmy Evans
Some people think that being an optimist solves many problems. Attitude toward anything does have a significant impact but the divorce rate is not that different between optimists and pessimists. Why? Because marriage still takes discipline. Hope is not a strategy. You still have to take the steps necessary to have a successful marriage and you have to be willing to endure even the most difficult days. It will get better but you must be willing to endure until it does.
Great marriages are great because they deal with their baggage – Tim Ross
Everyone has baggage. Some have a little and some have a lot. The question is not whether you have baggage, but whether you are going to manage it. Identify it. Talk about it. Deal with it. Then put it away so when it pops up again you know how to respond.
A successful marriage is less about finding the perfect match and more about working on it every day – Dan Liam
Mr. Right. Mrs. Perfect. We are all looking for that exact match when we get married. When it doesn’t work out we excuse ourselves by saying we were just not compatible. You will never find the perfect match. You will have a great marriage if you work on it every day. That is not an excuse to settle for anyone. It is just a reminder that daily work is more important than the perfect match.
Sharing Withholds – Les Parrott
We forget to say things from time to time. We meant to, but it slipped our mind. Sometimes it is a positive thing or a compliment while other times it is something negative. Sharing withholds is a time you set aside each week to share 3 things you forgot to mention. Two positive and one negative. After each person shares, you have to wait at least 30 minutes before you can talk about any of them. This gives you time to process so you respond and not react.
Your problem is not a punishment, but a platform for God’s power – Michael Todd
Just this morning I was sharing with someone in a message that something that happened to them years ago would make them a better parent to their married children today. The thing you are going through or struggling with in your marriage right now is not punishment. It is a platform for God to work and use it for His glory.
One of the reasons you are acting the way you are is because you don’t know who you are – Jimmy Evans
We struggle with our identity in Jesus Christ. We do not know who we are and are seeking someone to affirm something in us. One of the reasons why we act the way we do is because we have not discovered who we really are. We are a child of God. Stop letting culture define you. Live the life God created for you and be who He designed you to be.
I hope you will take some of these and apply them to your marriage and family. You will be better for it. If you attended the conference, I would love to hear your takeaways as well. They might benefit someone else.