If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you must look forward, do so prayerfully. However, the wisest thing you can do is to be present in the present. Gratefully. —Maya Angelou

On the 31st of December most years my husband and I go on a date. We find somewhere quiet, away from the house, and we reflect on the year past, discuss the year to come and we pray.

This is not so much time for making practical plans, it is more a time to be still, to meditate on God’s word and to invite Him to please continue being a part of our marriage on a daily basis in the year to come.

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. —Proverbs 16:9

We are very aware that unless we have God’s input and His blessing on our plans, we are not going to have a good year.  The bedrock of our marriage is God and if He is not acknowledged in our plans our marriage is going to suffer.

We know that left to our own devices we will definitely make a mess of things.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. —Proverbs 3:5,6

During our 26 years of marriage, we have walked so many crooked paths in our relationship we long for only straight paths!

One year, we went to a retreat center near where we live. There is a tiny little chapel on the grounds and we spent some time together there in silent prayer.

On the door of the chapel was a notice that stated:

Every time you come here you have the opportunity to receive three free gifts – special graces:

  1. The grace of being spiritually at home – of belonging
  2. The grace of inner transformation and change
  3. The grace of a mission – of a purpose and meaning in life

The above gifts apply to marriage as well. We need to be spiritually at home in our marriage, to fully belong to our spouse.

We need to allow ourselves and our spouse the opportunity of inner transformation and change within the marriage.

We need to continually bring a purpose and meaning to our marriages.

I added a fourth gift to give to my marriage this year:

The gift of ‘being present’ — Of making my spouse my priority, of being aware of how he is doing, of consciously respecting him and making him feel valued.

As we give these gifts to our marriages, we also give them to ourselves and to God.

In Jeremiah 29:11-14, God says “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity…”

It is wise to regularly call out to God, to pray to Him and to find out from Him what His plans are for your marriage. As you seek Him together as a couple, He will guide you and if you allow Him too He will lead you out of captivity – captivity to anger, resentment, misunderstandings and hurt that may have become a part of your marriage.

Living in the moment means letting go of the past and not waiting for the future.  It means living your life consciously, aware that each moment you breath is a gift. —Oprah Winfrey

So I pray that in all our marriages we will consciously let go of the past and treat every moment we have with our spouse as a gift to be treasured.

Originally written for and published on Start Marriage Right, https://www.startmarriageright.com/2019/04/what-gifts-are-you-bringing-to-your-marriage/