Investing in Marriage

Posted: November 26, 2010 in Marriage / Family

Think about these two scenarios…

Scenario #1: When you were 25 you put $5,000 in a retirement account and said, “Well, I’m glad that’s taken care of so I don’t have to worry about my retirement,” and then you never made any additional investments in that retirement account.  You never made changes to your mutual funds, rebalanced your stock/bond ratio over the years, etc. By this action and lack of action you would be setting yourself up for a very disappointing retirement!  You may have more money than the original $5,000 you put in, but you would be way short for what you need to live off of.

Scenario #2: You opened up a retirement account with $5,000 at 25 and then put in $500 a month for the next 40-50 years, and you annually reviewed your retirement funds, portfolio, etc.  By this initial action and your continual actions you would be in much better shape and you would have income for your retirement years.

The difference between these two scenarios is in scenario #1 you make an initial investment and don’t do anything else, and in scenario #2 you make an initial investment and you keep investing and working at it.  In the long run scenario # 2 is the one that sets you up for success and long term stability.  You may say, “Thanks David for pointing out the obvious!”  But if this is so obvious, why do we treat our marriages in the same way as Scenario #1?  Why do so many people put an initial investment in their marriage and expect it to be a successful, long-term marriage with no continual investments?

I was struck with this thought this week as I am reading “The 5 Love Needs of Men & Women” by Gary & Barbara Rosberg.  Now this principle of always investing in your marriage I know, I try to do, and I tell others to practice it. Over my brief marriage to Kendall (a little over 3 years) I feel like I’ve done a pretty decent job working to learn to be a better husband for her, but every time I take steps to learn more (reading a book, listening to a message about marriage, reading my Bible, etc.) I realize just how much more I have to learn!  Once again as I was reading “The 5 Love Needs” I was filled with a new passion to love, cherish, and serve my wife.  I was filled with questions that I want to sit and talk with her about for hours, and as I was reading I was longing to be able to spend time with her and learn more about her.  All of this comes about because when I invest in my marriage continually it arouses my heart for her.  As we invest in learning more about marriage, our spouse’s needs, how to have God as the center of our marriage, etc. we gain the tools necessary to have a successful marriage, and this process brings us closer together and creates intimacy in the marriage.

There is an investing principle called “Dollar-Cost Averaging.”  This principle basically states that you continually invest in your retirement account on a monthly basis no matter what the market is doing.  Each month you put in the same amount at the same time, whether the market is up or down.  You just keep plugging away.  The reason for this is that over time if you averaged out the “dollar-cost average” of all the times you bought high or low, the odds are you are way ahead of those who tried to practice “market timing,” which is trying to play the market by putting money in when its most beneficial, or those who just dropped in a large lump sum.

Marriages that are the most successful over the long haul are those that invest small amounts every day, week, and month in their marriage. Whether things are going good or bad, or emotions are high or low, you keep plugging away at investing in your marriage.  Over time, if you invest consistently you will be far ahead of those who just make a large initial investment, and those who practice “relational timing” by only investing when needed or beneficial for them.  Keep investing regularly in your marriage and don’t ever stop!

Practical Ways to Invest In Your Marriage (There are many more ways than these):

  • Pray together (meal times, bed times, mornings before leaving for work, etc. – even just 1-2 min as a start makes a difference)
  • Share what you are learning about God and your relationship with him.
  • Read marriage books together and discuss them.
  • Go for a walk, get coffee, or go out on a date and just talk!
  • Play together.  Have hobbies that you share with one another and learn about your spouse’s hobbies and interests.
  • Attend a marriage conference or workshop.
  • Seek out couples who have a solid marriage and try to learn from them.
  • Develop a list of 10 questions that you don’t know about your spouse and then ask them (Ex: What are your spiritual gifts? What are your passions? What do I do for you that shows you I love you?)
  • Go to a small group at church together.
  • Serve together.

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