“In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” – Proverbs 14:23
The saying goes, “Marriage may be the closest thing to heaven or hell any of us will know on this earth.” I don’t know about you, but my desire is to have a TRUE relationship with my wife — one that is full of love, joy, peace, happiness, etc. I desire to laugh together, cry together and communicate honestly with each other. I don’t want to “just exist” in marriage together. I want to be best friends with my wife. Best friends are committed to one another, regardless of circumstances. Best friends go out of their way for each other, willingly and consistently serving the other person. Best friends are at peace with one another.
Marriage is hard. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. It takes a lot of work, which is why the lifelong commitment should not be taken lightly. But like anything else that is hard, the reward is so great. The ‘ROI’ on the relationship with your wife is directly correlated to the amount of investment you put into the relationship. The greater the investment, the greater the return. The more labor you put into your marriage, the greater the profit.
King Solomon reiterates this promise in Proverbs 14:23 where he says, “In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” Author Steven K. Scott says, “Apply that labor to your marriage, and your profit will be measured by the amount of fulfillment you and your wife gain. Mere talk, on the other hand, Solomon warns, is cheap and easy, and leads only to poverty.” (1)
He goes on to say, “Diligent labor is demanding. It requires vision, creativity, commitment and effective partnering. Essentially, Solomon is telling us that if you are not profitable in your career, or if your marriage isn’t as fulfilling as you wish, you are probably not working diligently enough.” (2)
I read that sentence several weeks ago, and I realized the diligent labor I was putting forth in my marriage was nonexistent. My wife and I had been irritable with each other. There was very little joy and happiness oozing from our relationship, and I decided to take responsibility and make some changes.
In my previous blog, I shared a model to help you ‘Start S.M.A.R.T. in 2017’ . Below is a step-by-step model to Start S.M.A.R.T. With Your Wife in 2017.
After realizing I needed to put forth more diligent labor in my marriage, I sat down, wrote out a plan and executed it. I’ve noticed a big change in my marriage since, and I want to encourage all of us to start your marriage out with a bang in 2017. Here’s the plan…
1. Schedule a day to personally get away – Use this day to establish your personal 2017 goals. Keep it simple by using the 5F Model (Faith, Family, Friends, Fitness, Finances). IMPORTANT — this day is for you. Don’t invite anyone else. Turn your phone off, limit distractions, etc.
2. Schedule a day to get away with your wife – Don’t let her know about it until you’ve handled all the details — lunch and dinner plans, babysitting, a fun activity, etc.
3. Text your wife the details – “Hey hun, I planned a day away for just me and you. Please block out the entire day next Thursday. I’ve already made babysitting arrangements and have lunch and dinner reservations. Be ready to leave the house at 9 am.
4. Start your day out light – Do something fun together. Take her shopping, grab coffee, etc.
5. Share the why and take responsibility – When the moment is right, share with her why you planned this day. For me, I had to be honest. I said, “I planned this day because I felt like we are going through the motions in our marriage. It’s not what it could be, and I take full responsibility for this. I want to use this day to get things back on track and to share my goals and plans with you.”
6. Recap the year with vulnerability – Share a summary of your year. Tell her about your personal successes, failures, disappointments, etc. Take it one step further by sharing your feelings on the marriage. Let her know how you appreciate her, what you love about her, etc. Go even further by sharing where you have failed her and what your desires are.
7. Share your personal 5F goals – Give her permission to hold you accountable. Encourage her to check in with you (Recommendation – make sure one of your family goals is focused on diligently loving her more effectively).
8. Encourage her – Ask her to consider establishing a 5F plan for 2017. Set a time the following week to sit down together after the kids are in bed to review them.
9. Schedule monthly check-ups – Schedule a consistent day, time and location to check-in with each other. Review your goals, talk about your marriage and be diligent!
Garret Barbush, Executive Director
1 – Steven K. Scott, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived – King Solomon’s Secrets to Success, Wealth & Happiness, page 17.
2 – Steven K. Scott, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived – King Solomon’s Secrets to Success, Wealth & Happiness, page 17.