Intentional Marriage

1. performed by or expressing intention; deliberate.
2. of or relation to intention or purpose.

It was my turn to plan our weekly date for Friday night. I have been working out a plan in my mind for quite some time, and I finally perfected it.

Have you ever thought about the structure of dating, as compared to marriage?  For example, if the two people who are dating do not intentionally make time and schedule dates they would eventually forget about each other and move on. Dating is essentially two people taking time out of their busy schedules to get to know one another. It is planned, it is intentional, it goes against entropy.

Marriage, on the other hand, seems to succumb to entropy more than it should. Spouses seem to feel that living together is enough to keep their relationship alive. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Entropy eventually takes over and the couple finds themselves more like roommates living under the same roof and caring for the same children.

Dr. William Doherty is an amazing marriage and family therapist. He wrote The Intentional Family--a book that is quoted in almost every family life textbook. He describes this phenomenon as "paddling upstream." If you don't keep paddling, you will eventually be swept downstream to a place you did not intend to go.

After marriage--and after the honeymoon effect wears off--couples may find themselves drifting apart. They no longer (or very rarely) text incessantly, plan dates, or schedule time just to be together. Their relationship slowly becomes less and less intentional and more and more just a part of their daily routines. This doesn't necessarily mean that their love is deteriorating, it simply means that their relationship is becoming less intentional and, in some cases, less important compared to other things in their lives.


Couples can counteract this by creating rituals. Rituals are the glue that hold any relationship together.
Think about it: what defines any relationship in your life? It is most probably the things you do together; the activities that carry some kind of emotion and symbolism.


Realizing the importance of rituals, Aaron and I decided to sit down and make a list of the rituals (no matter how seemingly insignificant) that are important to us. We made a list of our current rituals, why they are important, and the positive feelings we get from them. We then made another list of rituals that we want start soon.
We both really enjoyed this date night. It was fun to brainstorm rituals that bring us closer as husband and wife, and then verbally discuss the emotions and symbolism behind each ritual.

It is so important for couples to recognize the rituals in their lives that make their marriage more meaningful and bring them closer together. Each couple has their own rituals that they employ; however, according to marriage therapists, there are a few rituals that every couple should include:

  1. Weekly date nights (group dates do not count)
  2. Go to bed at the same time
  3. Spend at least 15 minutes every day talking to each other (should not be about finances, kids, or anything that could create tension)
Aaron and I are going to revisit this list every so often to ensure we never forget the rituals that define us as a couple.
Here are some great articles that are all about intentional marriage and how to get back on track if you've given in to entropy :)

Living an Intentional Marriage
Intentional Marriage--Doherty

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