Here we are at the final week of reviewing The Love List by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott. After looking at two things to do that build love in our marriage each day, each week, and each month, today we’re looking at two things to do every year.
#1: Review Your Top Ten Highlights
For too many of us (me included), our first thought when reviewing the past year (of anything…marriage, work, life) are on the negative side of things. We seem to gravitate to the if only’s.
According to the Parrott’s, the practice of reviewing highlights will help you (and me) steer clear of negative thinking and set you on a positive path that will reward you with more blessings. It helps us chart our course for the coming year, which will be #2 on our list today.
It’s nearly impossible to chart a course for the future without first reflecting on what you enjoyed in the past.
- Find a way to keep an easy record of things you enjoy throughout the year. Journaling comes to mind, which requires discipline. (Notations on a calendar would be very easy, too.) After the first “year of reflecting on highlights”, you may find yourself motivated to continue.
Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years. (Simone Signoret)
Dr. Leslie tells of a gift she received from Dr. Les early in their marriage. It was a scrapbook of every movie ticket, concert program, or some type of memento from every date they had in their seven years of dating. He wrote a note by each item that told at least one special thing he remembered about that date. Wow, right?!?! THAT’s the way to knock a girl’s socks off!
- Decide what constitutes a highlight. Travel, visits from guests, date nights, family events? I say yes, yes, yes, and yes! 🙂
- Make the review a memorable tradition. (I see family nights with our kids – and their future families – as part of this tradition, to gather with popcorn, video, fun tablescapes (of course!), or anything else to make it fun and filled with anticipation. What a fun Thanksgiving or New Year’s tradition that would be!
- Use photos and video if you can.
- Enjoy the process.
#2: Chart Your Course for the Coming Year
Setting your course for the coming year isn’t easy. It requires work and initiative, asking that you take responsibility for the condition of your marriage. It requires discipline and sacrifice to actively steer your marriage toward “heaven on earth”.
Don’t wait for someday. Without charting your course, someday will never come.
- Ask for divine guidance. Yes, God is the best Planner and Director of all!
- Consider what matters most. What things have you built together that you prize the most? What do you prize about your partner? (See Prioritize First and Schedule Without Stress.)
- Write a mission statement and revise it yearly. A statement of purpose serves as your compass.
Intimate relationships cannot substitute for a life plan. But to have any meaning or viability at all, a life plan must include intimate relationships. (Harriet Lerner)
- Consider what you’d like to change. More romance, fewer quarrels? This serves as a springboard for setting goals that improve your marriage over the next twelve months.
- Set specific goals. Goals serve as your road map as you achieve your purpose step by step.
- Understand the power of making resolutions together. Couples who make their resolutions together for the good of their marriage are far more likely to make their resolutions last than those making resolutions on their own. Why? You each have a built-in support system…each other.
- Awaken your can-do attitude. One little negative remark by your spouse can ruin your attitude. Guard your words.
- Trust God. Rather than seeking clarity, seek God and trust Him to keep your marriage on track.
So, tell me. What constitutes a highlight in your marriage? A date night? A trip? What?