Marriage Tool #1: Get On the Same Page … Literally
It was a fairly simple activity. At least, it should have been.
Our task? To remember back to the early days of our relationship and share with our church small group the name of “our song” at the time. Unfortunately, when it came to this task, Ted and I had a small problem. We didn’t really have a song back then.
Sure, we both loved music. We even listened to it together a lot. But we weren’t exactly the type of couple you’d find hitting the dance floor on our evenings out. No, we were more likely to be at the local Italian hole-in-the-wall swapping stories over caprese salad, pasta carbonara, and tiramisu.
Yet, we weren’t going to let this minor issue keep us from participating. While we may not have had a significant “us” tune at the time, what we did have was a first dance at our wedding. Obviously, that dance was accompanied by a song. A song, I’m embarrassed to admit, that was selected by our live musicians, not by us. The thing is, if Ted and I did have “a song,” this one would have to do.
Here’s where we hit a slightly bigger problem. We couldn’t recall its name, not even after an extensive google search on my iPhone of all big band era songs, which was the style of music we’d had at our reception. I suppose rewinding over what was then eleven years, four daughters, and a handful of states was just more than our memories could handle.
Go ahead, laugh at us. We’ll laugh with you. Ha. There. Let’s continue.
Once we got home, Ted had to pull up the video of our first dance. And there it was. Our song: “I Only Have Eyes for You.” Hours of research, and we finally identified it.
Fortunately, the second part of the small group “homework” we were given proved much easier for us. We were asked to decide together what song best describes our marriage now. It took us all of two minutes to pick “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.” And not just because we watch a lot of Pixar films, though we do. (See four paragraphs above, where I mention that we have four girls.)
This song may not strike you as a terribly romantic tune, seeing that it was written as the theme song for a computer-animated film about rivals turned best buds, but seriously it can be very romantic. That is, once you banish the image of a talking cowboy doll and a space ranger action figure from your head.
Pause with me and ponder the lines: “There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you.” “None of them will ever love you the way I do.” These phrases speak of undying affection and loyalty. I don’t know about you, but those are qualities I want to characterize my marriage. Sacrifice. Devotion.
The fact that we were able to identify our here-and-now song so quickly shows that when it comes to our life together, we’re on the same page.
What about you? If I asked you to come up with the song that best describes your marriage this week, this month, even this year, would it be an easy task for you to do together? If not, it may be time to use Marriage Tool #1: Get on the Same Page … Literally.
Make an old-fashioned paper-and-pen list of what you value in marriage. Then look for creative ways you can develop those qualities regularly and consistently.
Grab some paper, a couple crayons (or pens, if that’s your thing), and head to a park or your favorite coffee shop. First, make individual lists of what you value most in marriage. Transparency. Acceptance. Security. Fun. That sort of thing. Then, share them with each other. Talk about how these qualities might better manifest themselves in your relationship, then how you can further develop and cultivate them.
Make sure you don’t stop here, though. Go on to look for creative ways you can practice those items on your lists regularly and consistently. Take a leisurely, talkative, walk. Fly a kite together. Join forces to make dinner. You get the idea.
This is a tool I encourage you to use at least once or twice a year. Because here’s the thing: Life is ultimately a story; a tale that the Author of all creation is writing. An epic drama that He’s actively directing with all of its ups and downs; both its tragic and comedic moments. And the truth is that in this story of His, no individual or relationship is static.
Ted and I are going to change. Our marriage is going to evolve, as will yours. The question is: Will we choose to change together, developing our storyline together through chapter after chapter of plot twists? Getting on the same page literally … helps us change together.
Be careful not to turn list-making into a way of criticizing each other. This activity isn’t about how one or both of you are falling short, it’s about creatively realigning your vision for your marriage. Keep it positive. Tool #2 will address how you can constructively express criticism with each other.
This is Tool #1 from my free ebook 5 Simple Marriage Tools You Should Know. You can receive the book free when you subscribe to my email newsletter. You can sign up using the form at the top of my website.