This past summer, our family spent a week together at Pine Cove Family Camp. The key verse this summer was Ephesians 5:15-16:
"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil."
For the past few months since we left camp, I’ve often reflected on the phrase “making the best use of our time” from verse 16.
I want to make the best use of my time in every aspect of life. For this reason, I’ll work hard to maximize my time at work. I’ll study the craft of speaking so that I can be a better teacher. I’ll read books on pastoral care so that I can better lead and mentor couples. I’ll study the scriptures in depth on topics like cohabitation, remarriage and pornography so that I can better counsel couples. I want to make the best use of my time as a pastor.
I noticed I do the same thing with my hobbies. I want to be a great writer so I read books and listen to podcasts on writing and building your platform. I’ll do the same thing with parenting and just about any other role or hobby in my life.
In marriage, I want to make the best use of our time together as a couple. We want to have fun, serve, enjoy intimacy with each other and create memories as a couple and family. But I know none of those things will happen unless we’re intentional to make the best use of our time together. And this is one area where I often miss being intentional. I work hard in every other part of my life, but for some reason I think we can drift into a great marriage. You and I both know that’s not the way relationships grow. Today I want to share a few ways for you and I to make the B.E.S.T use of our time in our marriages.
1. Be a Nerd: Discover how you best learn and grow.
Some people like to read. Others like to listen (i.e., podcasts and sermons). Others need to walk through an experience or ministry like re|engage to grow and change. Some grow by serving others. What’s the best way for you, both as an individual and as a couple, to grow?
I’m a marriage book nerd! I love to read books about marriage and grow. Sometimes I read marriage books to be a better marriage pastor, but most of the time I read them because I desire to be a better husband.
Figure out what it is and spend some intentional time growing your marriage through your preferred method of learning. Shamelessplug: every two weeks, someone from the Watermark marriage team is going to write a new post on this blog. Read these posts and apply what you learn!
2. Enjoy each other: Have Fun!
Man… life is stressful and busy. Jobs, finances, homes, kids, mortgages, sports, and so much more dominate our lives. Remember what it was like when you first started dating each other? Life was probably a lot less stressful and hectic.
Remember the things you did in the beginning and do those things again (see Revelation 2:4-5). Explore, go for a bike ride, or go eat someplace you’ve never eaten before. Wrestle, get a hotel, watch funny YouTube videos, go camping, or if you prefer, glamping. Rediscover the fun and do those things together.
3. Spend Time with Jesus: Pursue the Lord together as a couple.
Third on the list, but first in importance (I had to make the acronym work!), pursue Jesus together as a couple. Nothing will grow your marriage more than knowing Jesus. When you and I become more like Christ, we become more humble (James 4:6), better servants of our spouse (Mark 10:44-45), and more selfless (Philippians 2:3-4) in the ways we pursue each other.
4. Talk to others: Invite your community into your marriage.
Invite your community/friends into the marriage growth equation.
- Read a marriage book together (i.e., something like Tim Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage or Matt Chandler’s The Mingling of Souls).
- Discuss your marriage with others on a regular basis. Ask for help when you’re struggling, share victories, confess when you fall short, and celebrate your growth with others.
- Go on dates with other couples or invite them over for dinner.
- Do a 30-day prayer challenge with your spouse where you pray together for 30 days in a row. Invite others in to encourage you and to hold you accountable!
So much more can be said, but start with these four opportunities Be a nerd, Enjoy each other, Spend time with Jesus and Talk to others. Pick one area and decide one step you can take today to grow your marriage and make the B.E.S.T. use of your time.