5 Ways to Intentionally Grow Our Marriages This Year

Last weekend, Trice and I went on our Vision Retreat. Our Vision Retreat was a breath of fresh air, a wonderful time of bonding, and a time of encouragement for Trice and me.

I loved seeing my Trice light up as he talked about his passions. And I cherish the time that he spent encouraging me in my dreams and passions. We had fun and made memories and were reminded yet again why God placed us together. Out of alllllll the people in the world, God placed Trice Head and Sarah Head together as husband and wife. We are thankful for this time together and look forward to it each year!

We want the year 2015 to be filled with intentionality. Intentionality in our faith, in our marriage, with our kids, and in every area of our lives. As we looked over each area of our lives on our retreat, God showed us different ways that we could grow and be more intentional. In looking over our marriage, God gave us a few ways to intentionally grow this year, and I wanted to share them with you!

Before sharing this list, I think it's vital to mention that nothing is better for a marriage than daily praying together! This is an area that the Lord is really calling Trice and I to cultivate this year. I'll share in the near future how we are intentionally making prayer a part of our marriage, family and daily lives!

5 Ways to Intentionally Grow Our Marriages This Year:

1. Go on a Vision Retreat.

Seriously. I know I wrote about this already, but it has singlehandedly been the most effective tool for us to grow as a married couple. You don't have to do one in January; that is just our preference. But start saving and carve out a two-night window of time where you can get alone and talk with your spouse about life. As soon as possible. Like yesterday ;) And the offer still stands for us to babysit your kids for you! We even decided that this year we are going to do a mini-retreat in June and reevaluate and see how our goals are coming along.

2. Bring some creativity into the bedroom.

As I talked about HERE, sexual intimacy is vital to a healthy marriage. But sometimes our sex lives can get a little stagnant. One of the things that I have committed to this year is to do a CWIVES dare every month! CWIVES is a ministry that encourages wives to initiate intimacy more and enjoy sex more. When you subscribe to their site, they send you a monthly email with a creative "Dare of the Month." These are super fun. They have done all the thinking for you, you just have to initiate the fun. You two will LOOOOVE this!

Also check out the Christian website The Marriage Bed for lots of fun ideas and resources to bring creativity to the bedroom.

3. Play games together.

...outside of the bedroom too ;)

Find a game that you and your spouse love and play it all throughout the year. Perhaps it's Monopoly or Scattergories or Poker. Keep score, and at the end of the year, the winner should get a nice prize. Like a trophy. Or a T-Shirt that reads "I am the champion." Or maybe just a nice back rub. I'm currently beating Trice in our game of Nerts that we started at the new year. [Thank you Josh & Alyssa for introducing us to this fun game!] However the last several rounds he started kicking my butt. But I really need to win. I need that trophy.

Playing games together has been awesome for our marriage this year so far! It has reminded us how much we like each other. And it's fun to be friends with your spouse rather than all business, you know what I'm saying? Once you get started playing games together, it's hard to stop. For many of our date nights we even end up at Starbucks playing a few rounds of Nerts together. With our scoring notebook of course ;) I think a little healthy competition is good for a marriage!

4. Do a quarterly "relationship audit."

Okay, I know that sounds totally boring. But stick with me here! Last year I stumbled across one of my now favorite blogs, Intentional By Grace. She has this amazing resource that guides you into having an intentional conversation with your spouse quarterly. We have done this since June 2014 and it has truly been amazing for our marriage!! With this guide, we talk about what we love about each other, what things we need to change, how we can have more fun together and what areas we need to work on. If you can't get your hands on the guide, just make up your own guideline! How are you and your spouse doing? How is your communication? Do y'all feel divided in any area? What are your top 5 favorite things about one another? What do you appreciate your spouse for? Is there something you need to change to better your marriage? These are just a few ideas as to the different questions you could ask. Be sure to go into your conversation with an open heart and leave condemnation out of it. Make it a safe place to discuss how you two are doing! 

5. Schedule date nights in advance.

For us, we never know if Trice will be out of town or not; but nonetheless, we have committed to having two out-of-house date nights a month this year. We have pulled out our calendars and set the dates for February and lined up the babysitters. If Trice has a gig pop up, we will reschedule our date night, but otherwise, we want date nights to be a priority. And for them to be a priority, they need to be PLANNED. I so desperately need this time with my husband. Sometimes the responsibilities of the day make it feel like Trice and I are so distant, but we always feel so much closer and united when we have that planned one-on-one time together. 

These are just a few of the things that we plan to do this year to grow our marriage. We don't want 2015 to go by and us look back over the year and realize there was no growth. We always want to be growing together!

What are you and your spouse doing this year to intentionally grow your marriage? Would you consider doing any of these ideas? I'd love to hear your ideas too!

I am praying today that God grows and strengthens each and every one of your marriages!!