035 – Growing Together Instead of Drifting Apart

Calibrating Marriage

If you are married, your marriage relationship is the most important relationship in your life. It is worthy of calibration. On the occasion of their 3rd anniversary (with a tongue-in-cheek cumulative experience of 67 years), David and Donna discuss 6 marriage calibration points every couple should observe.

Listen to the podcast using the player above, or read the notes for the episode below. The notes are clickable time stamped keyed to the episode.

Growing Together Instead of Drifting Apart

We celebrated our 3rd anniversary last week. With the celebration of our anniversary came lots of discussion

I was aware that when I got married I would not be inviting someone to join me on MY path, but I would be making a commitment together with someone to walk OUR path.

When you are married 30+ years that path just emerges into what it is and sometimes we don’t give it a lot of thought, but from our perspective, we’ve realized that you do need to constantly give thought to the path you are walking and living together.

Calibrate360 and the CalibrateLife Podcast are about calibrating our lives to live a joyful life. It is about lifting those we love and lead through applying these calibration tools through our leadership opportunities. One thing we’ve not considered yet is that the marriage partnership has to be calibrated, to a certain degree, as a unit.

True, most spouses go off in different directions for 8 hours a day, working in separate places, working toward different missions, but as partners, we have to be growing together and calibrating together.

We’ve been unfolding 6 Calibration Points in recent podcasts. We’ve identified 6 life areas to guide us in our calibration journey. They are:

  1. Our Spiritual Life
  2. Our Passion and Mission
  3. Our Resources
  4. Our Relationships
  5. Our Life Development
  6. Our Life Practices

So, how do we lift those areas of our life together, as partners, as a married couple who have become one?

2 Corinthians 6.14 tells us to not be “unequally yoked” with unbelievers. The context of this scripture is not referring to a marriage relationship, per se, but is a warning that in our spiritual partnerships we need to have an understanding of different “wavelengths.” It is a teaching that the perceptions, goals, mission, and passions of Christ-followers will be different from those who are not affected by a relationship with Christ and the heartbeat of the Father as expressed through the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians, chapter 7 teaches that if a believer’s  spouse is an unbeliever, and the unbeliever is willing to allow the believer to follow Christ, and if the unbeliever is willing to stay with the believer, that the believer is not to divorce the unbeliever, but stay with them. It goes without saying that relational navigation and relational give and take (compromise) will be necessary, but not to the extent of forsaking Christ.

We bring these scriptures up because they do show us the importance of being on the same “page” and the detriment of moving in different directions. It does not mean it is impossible to walk separate paths and still be married, but it does highlight the difficulty of such.

Suffice it to say, it is a better way to work to calibrate our lives together, as one (in that marriage makes us “one”), than it is to grow apart in these critical areas. So lets take these 6 calibration points one at a time and consider each of them.

Our Spiritual Life [9:27]

Our spiritual expressions as a couple are not just about reading a devotional and saying a prayer together, that’s fine and important, but it also includes living our spiritual journey together.

We talk about what God is saying to us. We talk about our individual relationships with the Father. We spend hours talking about where God is taking us, how he is changing us, and how it is setting the course for our lives.

Our Passion and Mission [14:10]

  • Our passion and mission arise out of our spiritual lives, so it connects with the way we do spiritual life together.
  • We have to calibrate spiritually first, because if we don’t we will not be on the same page.
  • We have different interests, but life passions have to intersect.
  • We must consider whether or not we want the same things out of life.
  • Are we moving in the same directions with compatible goals?

Our Resources [17:09]

Again, it flows out of the previous: our spiritual lives together and our passions… If we have the same passions and life directions we are going to direct our finances in unity.

Last week’s podcast was about resources, so we won’t go into all of that again, but the principles of resourcing apply to our marriage relationship and vision.

Resources are not only about finances. Resources include relationships, time, gifts, and anything else that resources our lives.

Finances are the number one tension point in many marriages. It can be a stressor. The way money is spent and the way resources are expended.

When a couple has two visions for how resources should be allocated it brings division.

Our Relationships [20:29]

We had two sets of friends, heck, we had two sets of kids.

We connect with and in our relationships as a unit. We may have friends that we individually spend time with, but we have to both be in the relational “loop.” In other words, relationships do not create islands in our marriage, if they cannot be to some degree incorporated, they no longer fit.

For those in a season of life different from ours, you will notice your kids will divide and conquer you. You have to be of one mind, even if you have slightly differing opinions. As “one” you have to agree together and then stand together.

Problems can be avoided if we stay on the same page in spiritual life and in life passions and mission. These two points manifest themselves in every other calibration point.

One lesson I (David) learned is that my relationship with my wife is important enough to me to adjust my life in any way necessary to keep that relationship as God intended.

Our Life Development [24:54]

We have to grow together.

Our passions are going to drive new learning. If we are on the same page with the spiritual and the life passions and calling, then we are going to be seeking new information together on our journey.

We have to grow together physically. We want to stay close together in our physical fitness for as long as we can so we can do things together that we love.

We have to grow together intellectually so we will have a shared information base in order to have mutual understanding of the fulfillment of our mission.

We need to grow together emotionally. It’s like trying to get up a mountain and occasionally lending a hand to each other to get over the tough stuff. As each of us grows we are able to lend our emotional strength to each other to help the other.

When a one half of a couple grows exponentially, leaving the other behind, it can cause a shifting of the passion and mission part and there is a drift in different directions that can become irreparable.

Our Life Practices (practical framework) [31:00]

How do we do things? How do we fly? What are the rules? What are the policies? How do we approach situations?

After being married three decades there are a lot of unspoken and unwritten “rules” as to how we fly that do not need explanation. From our perspective, we’ve had to establish those things. We are still establishing those things.

How much do we spend on the kids for Christmas and birthdays? Where are we going to eat Thanksgiving dinner? Etc. This is a very practical (practice / actions) point.

In premarital counseling I used to ask a few standard questions, “who is going to take the trash out?” “How many kids do you want to have?” It always amazed me how two people who were going to get married had not yet discussed expectations.

This is not one discussion. This is a life time of discussions.

When you come to junctures where a new or revised “policy” is necessary, you have to get on the same page.

No, we are not going to write a policy manual, but we have to have mutual understandings of “how we fly around here.”

It really wears on someone when they live in someone else’s framework all the time. We both have to adjust our life practices so that everything works, and so we can pursue the passions God has placed in our hearts.

Calibration Points… Calibrating Your Life and Lifting Those You Love and Lead [35:59]

  1. With your spouse, review the 6 Calibration points and identify the one that represents your greatest need for lift and alignment as a couple. What are a few things you could do to lift together?
  2. Discuss your life mission as a family or couple. Where are you going? What do you hope to accomplish? Are you moving in the same direction? If some calibration needs to happen to bring alignment, what are the things that need adjustment? How will you move toward making those calibrations?
  3. Discuss your framework. Do you have the same vision as to how you fly as a family/couple? Identify something that causes regular conflict and discuss the framework that governs and guides that area of your lives.

Finally…

Calibrating together as a couple takes a lifetime. We can only address issues as we become aware of them. Start organically moving toward the identification of some practical frameworks that will keep you together in your spiritual lives, your life mission, your use of resources, your relational priorities, and your growth as individuals and couples.

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