A routine or ‘ritual’ in a marriage is very important. It reconnects us to the intimacy of these sacred relationships on a weekly or monthly basis. This focus of time can be displayed through monthly dates, end of the day talks or an idea of a weekly ‘marriage journal’.
Jeremy and Audrey Roloff with Little People Big World, recently got married and have a weekly ritual they practice together every Sunday. Audrey writes in her beautiful blog about the importance of a Marriage Journal and turned the idea into their own, with a personal touch.
“We have prioritized an imperative rhythm in our marriage, and it has led to tremendous pay off so far. That rhythm is something that we call, our “Navigator’s Council.”
“Navigator’s Council” is taken from our favorite book, “A Severe Mercy,” which we read every year to/with each other. The book is an autobiography by Sheldon Vanuaken, about his love for his wife Davey. It’s a passionate love story that begs to inspire and multiply love stories like theirs. In the book, Davey and Sheldon had a knack for naming things; they named seasons, places, objects, circumstances, moments, decisions, rhythms and routines. One of those rhythms is something they referred to as their, “Navigator’s Council,” which was a set aside time for them to review where they’d been and where they were going.”
“When we got married we knew we wanted to adopt a similar rhythm. During our pre-marital counseling with the couple that married us, one of the things we learned that stuck with us the most, was a rhythm they call their, “marriage journal.” It’s a journal containing five questions that they ask each other and record each week. The questions are simple, but paramount for hedging against conflict, and fostering intimacy. They have “marriage journals” dating back to the early years of their marriage. It’s something that they have committed to as a way of growing, protecting, and strengthening their marriage.”
“My mind immediately went to “A Severe Mercy,” and “Navigator’s Council.” My heart leaped at the idea of a journal that would strengthen and record the growth of our love, while also, “fixing the broken pieces.” So we decided to take on this rhythm with a “Roloff flare.” And of course we call it our, “Navigator’s Council.”
“Each week we ask each other a series of questions that we came to a consensus on during our honeymoon. Many of them are similar to the “marriage journal” questions that our premarital counselor’s urged us to use, but we added/subtracted/changed a few. These are the seven questions we ask each other and record our answers in our Navigator’s Council journal every Sunday.”
Weekly ‘Navigator’s Council’ Questions
What brought you joy this week?
What was something that was hard this week?
What’s one specific thing I can do for you this week?
How can I pray for you this week?
Is there anything that’s gone unsaid, convictions, confessions, unresolved hurt?
What’s a dream, desire or thought that’s been on the forefront of your mind this week?
Ask each other a question.
We always end our time in prayer, and once a month we ask two additional questions that we don’t feel are necessary to ask each week.
How are we stewarding our finances?
How is our sex life?
“I can honestly say that because of Navigator’s Council, I can count on one hand the amount of fights we’ve had since we’ve been married. Arguments and disagreements arise, but they are fleeting and diminished because we know that each Sunday is a call to reconciliation, a burning away of bitterness, and a revelation of truth.”
“Although the purpose of the journal is to cultivate consistent communication on important matters each week, it’s also incredible to see how effective this practice has been for our marriage. As we’ve reflected on old entries, we smile at what this mere journal has prevented us from, and the standard it has held us to. The hour that we set aside on Sundays to create time and space for the discipline of communication has been crucial. Yes, it’s a discipline, and I would argue, a vital one to marriage.”
“No circumstance is acceptable for missing a Sunday of Navigator’s Council. We figure if we can’t commit to this one thing, that takes less than an hour, once a week, how can we expect ourselves to commit to a lifetime of marriage? So even when we’ve been traveling all day, arrive home after midnight, have to wake up at 3 a.m. on Monday, or the to-do list is over-bearing, we still make time for our Navigator’s Council.”
Photography: Cassie Rosch