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Why We Stay Married

This is what the lord says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest in your souls." —Jeremiah 6:16

My husband and I reached a crisis point, dealing with an issue that had to be resolved one way or the other. I wasn't sure how I could stay in the marriage if things continued as they were.

We sought the help of a counselor, and I was surprised when he asked, "Do you know why you're staying together, or is it just an unquestioned sense of duty? Why have you chosen to stick it out?"

Staying together, I realized, was not the same as "sticking it out, no matter what." In sticking things out, we only seemed to remain stuck. But I believed that God could do anything, didn't I? Was I really trusting him with my marriage?

My husband and I came to the point where we could focus on working though our problems with all the energy and commitment we had. I chose our marriage above all the other possibilities—leaving, ignoring the problems, going my own way while living under the same roof—and I continue to make that choice every day.

Love is both risky and immensely rewarding precisely because it is something freely chosen and freely given. Remove the element of choice and you cut out the very heart of love. Marriage that does not rest on this kind of love may be tight-lipped commitment, but it's not all that God had in mind when he created marriage.

By Diane Eble from The Couples' Devotional Bible (Zondervan)

Play Time

Try these 4 tips to enjoy new activities together:

Plan your time. Studies show that marital happiness is highly correlated with the amount of time spent together. So get out your calendars and find a time slot you two can call your own.

Broaden your sphere of interest. List the recreational activities or hobbies your spouse likes. Circle the ones you also enjoy. Then schedule one or more into your free time together.

Recognize what you bring to the picture. Your presence means more to your mate than you may think. Don't be afraid to jump into an activity you previously avoided.

Do something crazy. Browse model homes you'd love to own and dream together how you'd decorate the rooms. Don't let yourselves fall into a rut! Come up with an outing that might push your limits.

Adapted from The Love List by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott (Zondervan)

What are you really saying?

Nonverbal signals carry five times the impact of spoken words. So understanding your mate's body language can go a long way to avoiding arguments and strengthening your relationship. Here are six strategies for communicating without words.

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Couple Minutes