Feb 162016 4 Responses

One Word That Changed My Marriage


If I only had one word to describe what makes marriage work, it is intention.

Other qualities are important:

Love. It’s hard to imagine a marriage without love. No meaningful marriage can be established or sustained without it. Yet the word love is often confused. We view it as something which happens to us rather than something we choose. (See: No Wonder You Don’t Love Each Other)

Commitment. Any couple who has a successful marriage is committed to one another. When it is absent, the struggles of making life work can be overwhelming and someone might be tempted to run.

Compromise. If a couple does not have the ability to find a middle ground on tense issues, they have very little chance of having a meaningful marriage. Compromise is integral to healthy communication and problem solving. A couple who can compromise can navigate difficult situations and still stay united with one another.

Relaxed. A healthy marriage isn’t on edge. Within a good marriage, two people grow comfortable with one another in every good aspect of the word. It is a relaxed relationship where both parties generally know what to expect from the other. (See: 5 Types of Women You Shouldn’t Marry)

As important as these words are to a marriage, they are secondary compared to the key word of intention. When a couple acts with intention in building the relationship, they are very likely to experience success. When two people act without any sense of purpose or intention, their chances of failure dramatically rise.

Rarely do we drift into success. In nearly all things in life, to achieve something meaningful we have to identify what we want, plan for it, strive to achieve, and get help from others to push beyond our own capabilities. It’s true in business, sports, emotional growth, physical fitness, and a host of other areas. It’s also true in marriage. While some may stagger their way into a meaningful marriage, far more drift apart. Without a concerted effort toward the goal of health, few couples will experience the full potential of their relationship.

Intention creates the possibility for success. It doesn’t guarantee it, but it does make it an option. Without intention, the average couple will be at the mercy of the circumstances of life. With intention, a couple will take control of their relationship and create a climate in which success is probable.

Intention in marriage centers around two questions:

1. What do we want? The first defines success. What does a healthy marriage look like? What characteristics define those who have meaningful relationships? What would success look like if we experienced it? Defining success gives a couple a clear understanding of what they are shooting for. While some qualities of a healthy relationship might be unforeseen, most of the characteristics are easily understood. (See: A Touchy Subject in Marriage)

For Jenny and I, we want:

  • To feel a deep affection for one another
  • To have a relationship which improves with every season
  • To be an example for others of the potential of marriage
  • For marriage to be a place of safety, rest, and restoration

After defining success, we can ask the second question.

2. How do we get there? Once success is defined, we can create a road map toward our desired destination. What are the skills we must develop? What are the character traits of someone who experiences what we have defined? What are the potential roadblocks we must avoid and what are the ones we must navigate through in order to reach our goals?

For Jenny and I, we are learning to:

  • communicate openly and honestly about issues in a way that is productive toward solving problems
  • turn toward each other as much as possible in the midst of busy lives
  • better understand how we look at life differently and to view those differences as strengths
  • put one another before our kids or careers

Through trial and error, as we learn these skills, they are taking us closer to becoming the people we want to be. While our relationship is not a straight line toward our goal, it is headed in the right direction. (See: How to Succeed in Marriage)

Many words could be used to characterize a healthy marriage. Yet intention is the word which makes all the other words happen. Love is nourished as we are intentional about spending time with one another and daily choosing to place the other above ourselves. Compromise happens as we intentionally place long-term goals above short-term objectives. Commitment is forged as we choose with intention where our loyalties will lay. A relaxed feel can permeate a relationship when we know we both are intentional about our desires and pursuits.

Where intention exists, so does a healthy marriage.

4 Responses to One Word That Changed My Marriage
  1. […] Kevin Thompson said something about marriage and intimacy the other day that I really liked.  He sp... https://thefragranceofmarriage.wordpress.com/2016/02/26/intimacy-that-one-word
  2. […] was intentional about being more vulnerable with my husband. (See Kevin A. Thompson’s great po... forgivenwife.com/tear-down-the-wall
  3. […] article suggests that one word could change your marriage for the better: intention. "When a co... newsfeeddaily.com/?p=25382
  4. […] One article suggests that one word could change your marriage for the better: intention. &... https://www.combatdomesticviolence.com/the-one-word-that-can-change-your-marriage

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