Most people who develop true wealth have a strategy. Clearly I’m focused on material wealth here. People who do best with their investments understand the long-term view and make commitments based on that. They invest regularly. If you talk to a financial adviser about how to do well in the stock market over time, he or she is likely to tell you about a strategy called dollar cost averaging, or DCA. With DCA, you decide how much you’re going to invest in the market and invest that amount at regular intervals, whether the market is up or down, soaring or crashing. You invest no matter what.
Having a long-term view and a plan to accompany it keeps you from bailing out during short-term dips and losing what you invested.
What does DCA look like in marriage? Only you know the best investments for your marriage, but following are some of the more powerful investments for most marriages. If you don’t carve out time for them, the investment can’t be made and the benefit won’t take place. Nothing will happen without the investment. Thriving couples proactively invest in each other and in their marriages. Here are some great ways to invest relationally:
- Leave small notes of appreciation
- Do something fun together
- Plan a special date (together or as a surprise for your partner)
- Work on a budget together
- Pray for your spouse and your marriage
- Resolve a conflict about money as a team
- Learn how to communicate better together (in a class, from a book, on the Web, or however else you can)
- Plan a vacation together
- Go to church together
- Get involved in some ministry together
Do you want a relationally rich and full life together? Regular investments like these will keep your marriage alive and thriving. Commitment requires action. You can’t just sit back and reflect on it or wish you had it. Acting purposefully on your commitment from deep within your heart will accomplish the most in your marriage. It’s your choice today and every day for the rest of your lives.
Think about areas in your lives where you’ll need to say no more often to something that will detract from your marriage so that you can say yes more fully to your spouse. Come up with a way to remind yourselves of the importance of making your marriage a high priority.
Sit down together as a couple and identify types of investments that matter to your relationship. Start by listing, separately, things that are important to each of you. Put down whatever is important to you and whatever you think is important to your spouse. Next, talk. You may discover some things that matter to one of you but not to the other. Take the time to talk through the kinds of investments you both believe are most important to keep making in your marriage, and commit to doing what it takes to have a marriage that thrives.
Dr. Scott Stanley is a research professor and co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver. He has authored or co-authored a number of popular books on marriage, including A Lasting Promise.