The Mental Tank
There are many things that fill your mental tank: reading, conferences, podcasts, messages. This is where you are challenging and filling your mind. Like what you’re hopefully doing right now—mentally wrapping your head around some principles that will help you become more of who God, and ultimately who your spouse, wants you to be. But it’s not just learning these principles; it’s applying them.
One of the things Nancie and I are most thankful for is that, from day one of our marriage, we have been surrounded by people who are relationally intelligent. In our first years of marriage, my boss and his wife introduced us to the idea of boundaries. They said in spite of, and because of, the fact we were in ministry, we needed to have boundaries. We were in student ministry at the time, and they said, “You need to have time that is just your own, when students can’t come over.” Our entire marriage, Nancie and I have always known about and had boundaries. Boundaries are just part of our relational DNA. I can’t tell you how foreign the idea of boundaries is for so many couples. They may be foreign to you as well. But once couples get boundaries, they can’t believe they ever lived without them.
Now, what does this have to do with your mental tank? It’s not that Nancie and I are smarter than other people; it’s just that we have been encouraged by and exposed to some great practices that have made all the difference in our lives. In fact, we have dedicated our lives in part to encouraging people to wrestle with their marriages on an intellectual level to become relationally intelligent. I see a lot of very smart people who are not relationally intelligent. But for the most part, it’s not their fault. They simply haven’t been exposed to relationally intelligent advice. But once they have, if they apply it, it can make all the difference. Learning about God and what makes our marriages work is a great way to love God first and a great way to love our spouses more.