Intentionality is typically a word reserved for self help books and motivational speakers. It means to be purposeful and deliberate in your actions with a larger goal in mind.
Being intentional is a lifestyle choice that doesn’t come naturally to most of us, but it’s necessary in some areas of our lives. For example, your job inherently requires intentionality: you set your alarm, get started on your to-do list, do what it takes to keep your job until 5pm, and then repeat. We’re wired to do what we want to do when we want to do it, so most of the time, restrictions and requirements feel unnatural or unpleasant—who doesn’t love a three day weekend? Fortunately, your intentionality has a huge upside. It keeps you functioning as a financially independent adult with a place to live and meals to eat, even if you don’t like what it requires at times.
So at what point do marriage and intentionality cross paths? I think it’s when you start developing your rhythm as a married couple.
When you’re newly married, it’s much easier to say and do all of the special things that show your love for your significant other. You write the notes, buy the gifts and spend the time together without a second thought. Your new marriage is likely the most exciting thing in your life at the moment, and humans have a tendency to take better care of things when they’re new and shiny, don’t they? The good news is that marriage doesn’t have to stop shining just because it’s no longer new. Mignon McLaughlin said it this way:
A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
I’m always honest when I tell you I’m still figuring this marriage thing out. I have no problem admitting when I don’t know something, but one thing I do know is that my marriage flourishes when I add intentionality to the mix. Sometimes that intentionality looks like setting reminders to show my husband I love him that day in a creative way or making sure I’m present in our interactions. If I require myself to be thoughtful and creative at work, why wouldn’t I require the same of myself with him, the most important person in my life?
There are moments when I love my husband without a second thought. In this photo, he was playing a love song on a grand piano in the mountains, and I seriously couldn’t get enough. I remembered all of the reasons why we were almost three years into this thing, and I fully embraced the moment. And while these magical moments are glorious blips on our marital radar, everyday life isn’t always full of them. Intentionality is our tool for creating moments like these every day.
There’s a reason that being purposeful and deliberate in our actions is at the center of so many self help books and motivational speeches, and it’s a lesson we’re still learning in our marriage. John Maxwell says it simply, “When you get right down to it, intentional living is about living your best story.”