Imagine visiting with photographers back some 40, 50 years ago to describe how we make our favorite pictures today. With high-res cameras in our phones and apps like Instagram to edit every pixel, it’s a breeze to turn an average photo into something special. They’d be blown away by how we can edit and filter our images. And they’d probably be blown away, too, by how many of us try to edit our way into a better marriage.
Some people approach marriage as if they can use filters and effects to edit it to look like something it’s not, instead of using those tools to change it into what it can be—a truly better marriage. To do that, you need to work more on your marriage than on appearances. You want more affection or trust in your marriage? You need to show affection and build trust, not just look affectionate or trustworthy. Here are 6 questions to help you make edits so your marriage can become the marriage you want.
1. Is something off-balance in my marriage?
Sometimes, things just feel off-kilter. When you sense that, don’t ignore it. You might need to “straighten the picture,” as evidenced by poor or zero communication recently, by less intimacy than normal, or by a nagging sense that there’s something going on that just isn’t out in the open. Look at what’s going on at and below the surface in your relationship and ask yourself what adjustments you need to make to straighten things out.
2. Is my marriage under assault by outside influences?
Sometimes, parts of photos are really distracting or irrelevant and need to be cut out. Do you need to “crop out” people around your marriage who are pulling at it or tearing it apart? Consider together how you strategically can cut ties or diminish their influence, so that you’re focused on your health as a couple.
3. Am I showing my spouse enough affection?
Some photos need adjustments to warmer color tones to convey the right mood. If the warmth of affection is waning in your marriage, think about what you can do to heat things up. It’s not just about romance. Genuine affection and attention are necessary in a marriage. How did you achieve it when you were dating? Do that to achieve a better marriage.
4. Are we growing and maturing together as a couple?
The “fade” edit that gives your photo an aged look isn’t about looking older; it’s about carrying the gravitas of maturity. Imagine your marriage 20 years from now and what qualities you’ll still want it to have—or to have more of than it does now. Consider doing some double dates or getting together informally with couples who are already in that life stage. Get their tips on what to do and mistakes they had to overcome to get where they are today.
5. Does my marriage need some intensity adjustments?
In photos, the “saturation” setting changes the color intensity of the image. Some seasons in marriage get too intense, with life throwing a lot at us. It’s good to take time away, to unplug, to dial down the intensity of life. Then there are times when life is a bit on autopilot. That’s when you need to pause and take stock of the good colors of your life together, to dial up the saturation and appreciate the beauty of whatever is really, really good.
6. Is our marriage focused on the big things or the small things?
The “tilt” feature is all about focusing the viewer’s perspective on something in the foreground or the background while blurring out the rest of the photo. Sometimes, we need to blur out the circumstances that weigh on our marriage and spend time focusing on appreciating specific qualities about each other. For example, don’t let date night become a business meeting to catch up on the logistics of life.
There’s no such thing as an Instagram marriage setting that makes our marriage “picture perfect.” However, it is important for you to really picture what your marriage should look like and then make the changes and edits you need to get there.
In what ways do you have a better marriage today than you did when you first got married? What would you like to be better at in 10 years? Share in a comment below.