Normal people are reactive. Successful people are proactive. It’s true. In business, those who succeed are the people who have a vision. They think ahead and plan accordingly, are sensitive to the people around them and how they are likely to act and react to decisions, and have definitive goals. They are proactive! Normal people come and do their jobs, and try to keep their heads above water, with no real ambition. They are reactive. In handling money, those who succeed will budget, plan for the future, and look for opportunities for improvement. They are proactive! Normal people are reactive. They respond to crises without a plan, but because they have no plan, any stressor becomes a nearly impossible task and money flows from them. (It’s no wonder that most people who win the lottery are bankrupt and broke again within just a few short years.) They are reactive. The same principle applies to churches. Growing churches are proactive. They have a God-centered vision and they share the vision with the congregation. Reactive churches continually try to stomp out the closest fire while pretending all is well.
The principle of being proactive or reactive also applies to marriage. More often than not, when a couple has a healthy marriage it is no accident. It is simply a husband and a wife being intentional together in how they will view their marriage relationship, relate to each other, and manage life together.
So, is your marriage proactive or reactive? Here are a few questions to help you decide:
- Do you communicate with your spouse openly and honestly about where you are now and where you want to go as a couple?
- Are you sensitive to your spouse’s spiritually, emotionally, and physically health?
- When crises come, do you blame others or do you and your spouse navigate hardships together?
- When failures come, do you live in grace and forgiveness toward your spouse, yourself, and others?
- Have you built your marriage on God’s design, or are you trying to retrofit God (and your spouse) into your own plan for what a good marriage should be?
- Do you dream together?
Please note that the key to all of these questions is “together.” Marriage is not about two individuals making individual efforts with individual goals. For a marriage to be healthy and proactively successful, you must embrace the idea that husband and wife are one flesh, with God firmly and fully at the center. God is not static or reactive, but is always purposefully moving forward as the day of Christ’s return approaches. A proactive Christian couple sees their marriage as having a purpose in God’s Kingdom. A reactive Christian couple hopes that Christ doesn’t return before they can “get it all together.”I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a normal marriage. I want a healthy, Kingdom-oriented, successful marriage—a union that lives in love, goodness, grace, and forgiveness—a covenant relationship that dreams big for me and my spouse, and sees God as the source of that vision. Be proactive in every aspect of your marriage and then whether smooth waters or rough waters, you’ll navigate them a whole lot better. Don’t settle for being normal.