In Part one we learned about the role of positive memories for marital success and some tips for strengthening shared memories. In part two we discussed the importance of getting couple time to make new memories as a couple. This weeks strategy is learning together.
STRATEGY 3: LEARN TOGETHER.
Brain research has demonstrated the importance of ongoing learning to fight cognitive decline in one’s later years. This should come as no surprise to Christians, as the Bible talks about the importance of life long learning in verses like “The wise also will hear and increase in learning, and the person of understanding will acquire skill and attain to sound counsel…” Proverbs 1:5 AMP. In addition to the physical and emotional benefits, learning together has many relational benefits as well. After all, what could be more romantic than building matching neural pathways together.
For some, the word “learning” may bring back bad memories of sitting in little desks, being sent to the principal’s office for his “board of education” (aka paddle), algebra tests in first period or a crazy roommate. If that’s you, take hope, formal education is only one of many ways to learn.
Engaging in learning together can be as simple as attending a church service together and talking about one or two points that stuck out to you from the message afterwards. Or it could be attending a home bible study together. Kim and I have been a part of or led small bible study groups during most of our married life together.
Investing in your marriage could also include learning a new skill together like taking a DIY class on tiling your shower. For some guys who aren’t secure in their masculinity, this next one may be a huge stretch out of their comfort zone, but you know their wives would be ecstatic if they signed the two of them up for ballroom dance lessons.
One of Kim and I’s favorite ways of learning together is reading together. Usually this happens at the end of the day after we crawl in bed. We read until one of us starts to nod off. We started reading books together before we were dating. Sometimes we read classic fiction like The Chronicles of Narnia. Our first journey together through Narnia took us from our dating days until after our honeymoon.
Other times we read books specifically about building our relationship. The most recent example of this is Spiritual Parenting by Michelle Anthony. A few books have brought up difficult issues and reading out load together has led to arguments. Instead of reading together we have read a chapter at a time separately and then discussed the chapter together.
If you’re looking for a book to start with The Five Love Languages,by Gary Chapman, is a good one. It examines how partners often give and receive love very differently. (For a review of Five Love Languages check out the blog article Loving in a Foreign Language.)
Whether you and your spouce engage in formal book learning together, start your own private book club, or learning a new skill together, the time you will invest will pay off big dividends in your marital investment account.
What ways have you and your spouse engaged in learning together? What relationship book has made the biggest impact on your marriage? Let us know by posting a comment below.