Entering a new decade, I think we all want to embrace it with open arms. To think of it as beginning afresh, our hearts full of optimism. A question my husband and I have been discussing since January 1 is “what do we want the state of our union to be by the time we enter the next decade?” What do you want the state of your union to be in 10 years?
State of the Union
Our American Constitution requires that the President of the United States deliver a State of the Union (SOTU) address to members of Congress annually. The purpose of this address is to give information of how he sees the state of our union overall.
I’m certainly not going to mention politics here, but in researching the purpose and content of the SOTU, there is an example I think we can apply to our marriage. According to Wikipedia:
In the State of the Union address, the President traditionally outlines the administration’s accomplishments over the previous year, as well as the agenda for the coming year, often in upbeat and optimistic terms. It has become customary to use the phrase “The State of the Union is strong,” ..(with the exception of Gerald Ford who said it is not strong.)
In taking inventory of your marital union over the last 10 years, what is the state of your union today? Whether the state of your marriage is strong, not strong, or failed–ending in divorce, the start of a new decade is an excellent time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t.
What does your marriage say about the state of your union?
The Marriage Union is Strong
Dennis and I believe the state of our union is strong. Here are questions (you can borrow) that we ask each other to evaluate our marriage’s strength:
What do you think we’ve done right?
- We keep a balance between work and play
- Our sexual intimacy is a high priority
- God is the King of our hearts (and marriage)
- We keep short accounts. Forgiveness is a lifestyle
- Conflict never goes unresolved. (We take time-outs to calm down and regroup.)
In what ways do we still need to grow?
- To resolve conflict, we are learning to rewind, revisit and roleplay how we should have approached the issue
- Balancing individual interests and friendships
- Understanding and appreciating personality differences
What if the Union is Not Strong?
Begin by asking yourself these questions:
What are we doing that isn’t working in the following areas?
- In keeping covenant commitment
- Honesty and transparency
- Conflict resolution
- Sexual Intimacy
How is the State of our Spiritual Life?
- As a couple
- As a family
What is MY contribution to the present state of the union?
What am I willing to change to make this marriage union strong?
A Failed Union
As marriage coaches, we see our share of failed marriages. It is painful and sad, but we encourage each of them to transition into individual coaching. Because ultimately,
Marriage issues are essentially individual issues that show up in the marital union.
Allow the brokenness you brought into the failed marriage to be healed so whatever the future holds, you will face it Whole.
Release the guilt and regret of the past. A healthy marital union can be strong only if both the husband and wife are fully committed to their covenatal vows. The strength of one spouse cannot support the non-committal and uncooperative weakness of the other.
I’m a firm believer in the sowing and reaping principle. Choose to begin TODAY. Take steps to change the future state of your union, using the questions above to check the temperature of your heart, soul and mind.
A year from now you will wish you had started today. ~ Karen Lamb
For the state of ANY union to be strong, there must be solidarity, unity and harmony.
Embrace this new year and decade as the time to make positive, lasting change.