This week Scott and I celebrated 22 years of marriage! It is hard to believe how fast it has gone by. He and I spent some time on our anniversary discussing just how long it has been. Scott did the math and shared with me that we have been married for 8,030 days. That is a ton of days to spend with one person—even when that person happens to be your favorite person on earth. I remember thinking at the beginning of our marriage that I didn’t understand why people said marriage was hard work. I thought they must have gotten it wrong or picked the wrong partner. Soon though, real-life started to hit us and I realized that I was, in fact, the one who had it wrong. Marriage is indeed hard work! It takes vast amounts of communication, concession, patience, understanding, kindness, forgiveness, and energy to keep a marriage strong and healthy.
Marriage is a choice we make on a daily basis. We can either choose to give it our best or we can choose to checkout. Scott and I continue to try and give it our best. We don’t always get it right, however. One tool that we have found helpful is The Marriage Journal. I discovered this journal by following Jeremy and Audrey Roloff on social media and listening to their podcasts. I have been a fan of theirs for years. They are a young, but very wise couple, whom I have mentioned on the blog in the past. https://herheartstirs.com/compassion-international/
Jeremy and Audrey began their marriage by practicing what is in this journal. After sharing with friends and family what they did each week for their marriage, they were encouraged to share their idea with others. The two of them worked hard and came up with a printed marriage journal in hopes that it would bless other couple’s marriages in the same way it did theirs. The Marriage Journal is for sale on their website, The Roloffs. The cost is $28.00 and it will last you an entire year. Is your marriage worth a $28.00 investment? ABSOLUTELY!
The journal itself is simple but very helpful. Each week you and your husband take some time to sit together (Scott and I choose Sunday evenings) and work on the journal. It can take 15 minutes or it can take up to an hour, depending on your needs as a couple that week. It is totally up to you. How it works is one of you reads the quick devotional out loud (which is themed each week including topics such as, Boundaries, Forgiveness, Trust, Sex, Hope, Protect, Listen, Expectations, and Dreams.) Once the devotional has been read, you can discuss the devotion or you can move on to do a quick discussion of the upcoming week. It is a chance to communicate what is and isn’t on the calendar so that both partners know what to expect for the week ahead.
Once those two things are completed you and your spouse move on to the question and answer section. Each week you answer the same six questions. They are:
- What brought you joy this week?
- What is something that was hard this week?
- What is one specific thing I can do for you this week?
- Is there any unconfessed sin, conflict, or hurt that we need to resolve and/or seek forgiveness for?
- What is a dream, craving, or desire that has been on the forefront of your mind?
- How can I pray for you this week?
You and your spouse simply talk through these questions, with one person recording the answers in your journal. It is a wonderful opportunity to communicate with open hearts and open minds. For some reason, it is easier to hear something negative you did that week from your spouse when it is in this context. I suppose because you know going in that you will be talking through good things and possibly tough things—you are not caught off guard.
Once a month, you will also see two extra questions. They are:
- How are we stewarding our finances?
- How is our sex life?
Both of these questions address two very important pieces of a strong marriage and pieces that often don’t get the attention they deserve.
Once all questions have been answered, you can complete your journal time together with a joint prayer if that is something you and your spouse are comfortable doing together.
Now I know not everyone is religious and may feel like the prayer piece is not for them. I would suggest to you that you should not let it scare you away from purchasing this journal. Your marriage can still gain a lot from the devotions and from the first five questions.
***I would ask you though, to keep an open heart regarding prayer, and asking God into your marriage. I know personally, there have been times where God has been a true savior for our marriage. I have turned to Him many times to guide us and help us through tough times. I know He listened and helped us and I know He will do the same for you—if you just invite Him in!
I truly hope you give The Marriage Journal a try! Here is a link to The Roloffs website where you can purchase the journal. https://theroloffs.com/products/themarriagejournal
Even if you don’t get to it every week, that is okay. Do your best. You may find, that it is especially helpful when you and your spouse are going through a trying or difficult time. It is honestly an incredible tool for building and keeping a happy and stable marriage. I know I look forward to at least 8,030 more days of marriage to Scott. Whatever you and your spouse’s number is, I hope you look forward to adding to those days as well! The Marriage Journal just might help get you there.