How are you doing in your marriage? Every couple faces challenges, and may need outside help at times. One great idea is to take a reputable marriage course with a proven track record, which will equip you with practical strategies to keep your marriage healthy and strong. Another good strategy is finding a trustworthy accountability partner to walk alongside and keep you motivated to do the right thing.
Of course, a husband and wife should stay accountable to each other and to God, first and foremost. You should be communicating regularly about issues and working together to find solutions. But sometimes a supportive friend can offer encouragement and a valuable outside perspective.
The Bible’s book of Proverbs contains several verses about the value of friendship (such as 13:20, 17:17, 27:5-6, 27:17). Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity” (NIV). As we wrote in one of our devotional thoughts, sometimes the adversity they help you through is trouble within yourself.
If you struggle with your thought life, your attitude, or any behavior that isn’t up to the standard you want (and more importantly, what God wants), consider finding someone who can challenge you to be that person. A couple of thoughts to keep in mind when you’re making a search.
Qualities of a Good Accountability Partner:
- This person needs to be the same gender as you.
- They should have a track record of making good decisions in their life.
- This person should know and love your spouse.
- They should be willing to tell you the truth, even if it’s hard at times.
- They should rely on God and the Bible for guidance in their own life.
And, an obvious point but worth a mention—they should be supportive of marriage. And in particular, they should support the success of your marriage.
With those basic ground rules in place, you can move forward and discover how greater accountability can help you and your marriage experience more positive growth.
Still not convinced? Here are a few reasons why it’s smart to have a person like this in your life.
Having a great accountability partner confronts you with the assurance that there are going to be hard questions asked.
This is really where it all starts. Make sure you find someone who you’re willing to be open with about anything and commission them to ask you the difficult questions. How is your spiritual life? How is your marriage? Are you staying pure? Are you staying positive?
One of the best ways to do this is simply to plan a regular time to meet for coffee, talk on the phone, or even schedule a text. This isn’t a time to sit and shoot the breeze. Rather, it should be a dedicated slot to check in on your status in the key issues for which you need encouragement to stay the course.
When you don’t sidestep the hard questions, you’re in the right place to find some answers.
Simply knowing you’re going to be in a position to have to answer some difficult questions does a couple of different things. When you’re faced with a choice that could cause you to do something that would violate the standards you’ve set for yourself, you know you’ll have to report back on that to your friend. Plus, if you repeatedly find yourself in a position where you’re faced with that type of choice, you need a strategy that will keep you on the right track.
When you find the answers, you’re in a position to make a plan.
Just because you know what needs to happen doesn’t mean you know how to get it done. Work on strategies with your accountability partner. Translate your desire for improvement into steps to try to actually bring it about.
When you’ve got a great source of accountability, you’ll get to report back on the effectiveness of your plan.
Some ideas and strategies work better than others. Having a friend who can hold you accountable means you can be open about how well you did in implementing your personal marriage improvement plans.
Did things go swimmingly and you saw improvement? Great! What can you do to build momentum, or what new area do we need to tackle?
Did you fail miserably at your plan? What went wrong? What needs to be adjusted?
You can use this process as you cycle through an unlimited number of issues in various seasons of life. And having the right person outside your marriage to help point you in the right direction and keep you on track can make your marriage relationship that much sweeter.
If you are experiencing significant problems in your marriage, you may need to seek help beyond an accountability partner. A New Beginning workshop has helped thousands of couples in crisis rebuild their relationship and save their marriage. Call 800-650-9995 or click here to contact a consultant.
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