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Intentional Love

In order to build your marriage, you must be committed to being intentional. A good marriage doesn’t just happen over time, it is cultivated.

When planting a garden or a field, it’s important that the soil be broken up and prepared for planting. Cultivation helps control weeds and helps ensure a healthy crop.

To have a healthy marriage, you have to cultivate the soil of your relationship to keep it from getting hardened, weed-ridden, and unhealthy. Here are four tips on how to cultivate love in your marriage so the two of you can THRIVE in the fruitfulness of your marriage!

1. Think the Best

Cultivating the soil of your marriage begins in your mind (surprised?). All too often we allow seeds of doubt to infect our thinking. We doubt our spouse’s intentions. We doubt their motive. We doubt their honesty.

And once those weed-seeds are planted they start sprouting up in our thoughts and we don’t see them as they are, but as we THINK they are. Here’s the antidote: make the choice to think the BEST about your spouse. When you see the seed of a weed coming into your thoughts, reject it immediately. As the Apostle Paul wrote: “…take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

2. Choose to Serve

Cultivating the soil of your marriage requires an act of the will to serve your spouse. Marriage is an act of selfless care for each other. This creates an atmosphere of trust, safety, and intimacy. It’s easy to do things when we feel like it, but the hard soil of OUR heart—and our mate’s—is tilled when we serve willingly when we least feel like it.

3. Forgive Quickly

Choose to forgive the wounds you have received from your spouse. In an intimate relationship there is vulnerability and that exposure brings pain—unintentionally and sometimes intentionally. Make the decision not to hold the offense against your spouse. Follow the example of Jesus who was wrongly accused, condemned, and killed. Peter describes it this way: “When they hurled their insults at him he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23)

4. Speak Positively

Sow words of encouragement into your spouse. Tell them regularly the positive qualities you see in them. The character traits you admire. The places where you see effort, growth, care. Find one thing each day which you can communicate to your spouse—verbally or written—that you affirm in who they are.

We are sure that these four tips have stimulated more ideas of your own—follow through! Then watch in amazement as the depth of your mutual love grows as you Build Your Marriage!