How would you rate your marriage right now? Ask a room full of married couples that question, and I can promise you that there will be a host of different answers. Granted, marriages cycle through periods of hot and cool, up and down, close and distant, but they often take on a long term overall tone. So where would you grade the emotional health of your marriage, good, fair, poor, average, great?
Have you thought about this question lately? When was the last time you took inventory of how things are in your marriage? I am pretty sure, if you answered that things are poor, it was on your mind long before I brought it up. When things aren’t going well in a marriage, an emotional storm cloud hangs overhead all throughout the year.
But with a good or average marriage, an inventory is rarely conducted. The couple just goes with the flow. As long as there are no serious problems present, and neither partner is in sheer misery, they generally define their marriage as good. My question is, are we happy with just good? Is good….well…..good enough? I don’t think we should settle for good.
Thom Rainer makes a penetrating point. He writes, “It is a sin to be good if God has called us to be great. Good is the enemy of great.”
So often, we are content in our marriages as long as there are no overwhelming problems. Why should we settle for good? Why should we let one of the most significant aspects of our life fall into the simply good category? Why are we not putting the energy into our marriages to make them great? Is it because it is hard work? Do we just become content and apathetic? Do we take the other person for granted or become distracted? Regardless the reason, we shouldn’t be content with a good marriage. We should strive for a great marriage (not perfect mind you, but great).
When I eat a meal, I don’t want it to just be good; I want it to be great. When I am preparing something for work, I don’t want the finished product to be good; I want to see something great. I think in just about every task we endeavor upon, we want the end result to be steeped in greatness. So why should our marriages be any different?
Now, I understand that all couples have their setbacks, struggles and problems. Marriage consists of one set of problems marrying another set of problems. When two broken people come together there are going to be difficulties to overcome, but this is no excuse for not striving for marital greatness.
So how do we start the ball rolling in our marriages from good toward great? First, I think it is a commitment to not be satisfied with good. It is an understanding that great marriages place inordinate amounts of time and energy into the relationship. Great marriages place time aside for the couple to reconnect a little every day.
It is also necessary that we be willing to invest and make changes in the relationship even if our spouse does not seem to be on the same page. Often, I encounter couples that only want to change and work on their marriage if their spouse does. They refuse to exert any more energy in bringing their marriage from good to great than that of their spouse. This is a sure way to keep an average marriage, which can quickly turn into a poor marriage. Great marriages always have people that strive for greatness regardless of where the other person is at the moment.
Great marriages also pay attention to the spiritual component. They realize that without God’s involvement, wisdom, and grace, the relationship cannot fully ripen. People in great marriages realize that there will be times where their faith in God is what will hold things together through difficult times.
Also, it seems like couples try to change too many things too quickly in their marriage. This leads to one or both partners feeling overwhelmed and they give up. Marriages don’t go from good to great in a single night. It is a process, often a long process. Instead of trying to fix or change everything that needs to be addressed in the marriage at once, what if we just focused on one thing at a time?
What is one thing you could do differently in your marriage? What is one thing that might make a difference? What is one thing that needs to be addressed? What is one thing that might change the emotional climate? Find that one thing and work on that, everyday. Once this area has improved you can move on to something else. So find the one thing you can work on right now, and perfect that.
So how is your marriage right now? Is it good or is it great? What do you need to do differently? Remember, good is the enemy of great.
Walk good. Live wised. Be blessed.
What else does it take to go from good to great in a marriage?