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Business owners are regularly reminded of the distinction between working in their business and working on it. And as tempting as it might be to simply work in a business, businesses fail when there’s not also intentional time to work on it. And the same is true relationally.

To be sure, early on we enjoy just being in relationship with each other – spending time together, sharing our hearts, and delighting in our mutual affection. But at some point we must step outside of merely being in relationship to consider the status of the relationship itself. Romantically, this is generally when, for example, we start to define our relationship as a “couple” moving toward marriage. But this dance between in and on should continue even after we walk down the aisle.

On the one hand, we should never stop doing life together and enjoying each other’s company. And when we’ve lost the spark between us, it might be less of a time to “work on” the relationship and more of a time to return to our first love of basking in the gladness and joy of our connection. There might be little to work on and work for when the heart of our union has grown cold.

At the same time, we must not grow so comfortable just being together that we no longer consider the state of our union. We’re not being good stewards when we just allow our relationship to coast on autopilot. Certainly, working on our marriage is potentially disruptive to our current status quo. And the fear of what might get stirred up holds many back. But it takes an honest assessment of our relationship to keep it on track toward God’s best.

In the end, enjoy being in your relationships without forgetting to work on them. Relationships flourish when intentional time is spent doing both.

Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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