Following God's blueprint for dating and marriage can save you a lot of regret. (Pixabay)

I've been in construction long enough to know that blueprints matter.

One of the most frustrating things about starting to build something is getting a set of drawings that are only 50 percent complete. They give you a rough idea but don't quite offer the information you really need. And you ultimately know big changes could be in store. I suppose blueprints like this are better than nothing, but they still leave a lot to be desired.

Many times, I'm simply left designing or re-designing issues that come up on my own. Figure out what works, come up with a sketch and implement the plan as soon as possible. That's great if you're ready to take on the liability. The other issue is the time factor. If the prints already had a good design, then you lose no time. You take what you've been given and go.

Dating is a lot like getting a set of 50 percent drawings. You've been with your spouse long enough to kind of know them, but some "design" issues or "drawing changes" will definitely be coming, and you better know how to handle them.

I really believe most couples think saying "I do" suddenly raises their level from 50 to 100 percent. I'm here to tell you, you're wrong. If I tried to build an entire building from 50 percent drawings, the process would be slow and painful. 

Now imagine living out your marriage at 50 percent. In similar form, it would be slow, painful and feel like a truly successful marriage would take forever. So what do we do? We give up. We quit. We find someone new. Or we forget about marriage completely. It's unfortunate, because it doesn't have to be that hard or that way.

It takes time to get above the 50 percent level. It takes working together and communicating likes and dislikes on a near daily basis. It takes two mature humans, just as it would take two qualified architects, to make an everyday effort to raise the percentage of their marriage and work towards God's design.

"However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband" (Eph. 5:33).

So where does your marriage stand? Are you still at 50 percent?

If you are, I would guess and say you've encountered some rough times and things aren't looking good. You may not even be sure there's hope.

One of the best solutions I can offer you is my new book, The Marriage Advance. In it, my coauthor and I discuss 15 different areas where you probably have questions but aren't willing to ask anyone. Get it here.

You don't have to lose hope, though; instead, solutions should be recognized and enforced as soon as possible.

Simple steps like going on dates again or taking time each day to communicate away from distractions and technology are great things to start doing. Or making it a point to ask each other "How are you?" or "What can I do to make our marriage better?" or "What can I do to love and respect you more?"

Manturity is a blog built on establishing spiritual maturity in today's man. The goal is to assist men in building better marriages and help them in grow in maturity and explore different aspects of manhood. Manturity.com features new weekly blog posts, daily social media updates and a powerful resources page. Stay up to date with the Manturity blog communities on Facebook and Twitter.

This article originally appeared at manturity.com.

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