Each and every marriage is different. I have said before the formula that works for me may not work for you.
Just like what looks good on you may not be well suited for me. We were not created as I always say to be
“Cookie Cutter Christians”. Life would we be quite boring if we were all alike. We need to learn to respect our unique differences. Sharing our life experiences shines light on the darkness. The foundational principles we should apply in marriage are ordained by God. Love, truth, mutual respect, fidelity, and commitment should be woven into the fabric of your marital relationship. A God given soul mate is a precious jewel. Since 55-60% of marriages end in divorce it’s important that you don’t let anything or anyone come between you. After 33 years of marriage I still remember our late Pastor Rev. Ruth Johnson telling us that marriage was a circle. That we should not let any one come between us. God must be in the center of your marriage! Your committed relationship with Him will fill the void in the center of the circle. The Holy Spirit will teach, lead and guide you how to love your partner. Begin to divorce proof your marriage. In order for your marriage to weather the
storms of life God must be at the helm. Think of marriage as and unending circle with God invisibly and ever present in the center.
I vividly remember our pastor explaining the significance of the wedding ring. How it represented a circle. How we should not let anyone else in the circle. You see a circle is complete it has no end.
Purchase your copy of “Holy Matrimony:Now That We’re Married” to read more!
Today in this 21st century when considering getting married please don’t go into the relationship thinking that you will be able to change each other. When planning your big day; The Sacramento Bride & Groom can help you plan out your wedding! For those of you who have never been married before, you must allow for a period of adjustment once married! Living with someone is not the same as dating or being married. You have not really made a total commitment and you realize that you can opt out at any time…
After the honeymoon period is over and you hit a kink see this as an opportunity to take your marriage to a deeper level! It is during this time you need to work together rather than pull farther apart!
If you have not married; please do not manipulate your potential spouse into a relationship; because if you do it will be an ongoing dynamic in your relationship! You should genuinely care for this person and desire to grow together! You want to encourage transparency in order to build a strong secure marriage! Before marrying really have some candid and open discussion as to how you would like things to be in order to see if you are on the same page! Don’t just assume?
For those of you in the Sacramento Area, The Healthy Marriage Project teaches a class that helps builds couple and family strengths! It is called “Smart Steps!”
It is a good thing to find out more about what each other likes and dislikes! Are you a morning person? Do you sleep with socks on? Do you snore? Are you patient? Do you yell scream and curse to get your way? Or do you sulk and stay quiet, remote cold and unexpressive? Or do you like to talk things through… Do you quit when the going gets tuff?
It really is the seemingly little things that add up and lead to arguments! It is easier for some to say how they feel when they are angry! Learn to be open and honestly discuss how you are feeling… Don’t make sorry a sorry word! Chill out and warm up to one another! It really is better to say “I am hurt!” Don’t let pride and insecurity dominate your marriage! How else will you settle disputes? Please do not think that by not talking about issues they will go away; they won’t!
Now that we have discussed some of the not so good things we can move towards what it takes to build a better marriage! You sit down at work and discuss whatever the problem is, right! Why? Because work is a priority and you do not just opt out of your job when things are not going your way! It is important that you like and respect one another in marriage even more so! Why? Because you say you love this person! You love them enough to get to know them better! You like them enough to care about their wellbeing! You care enough to develop loyalty in your marriage! Make sure to have a weekly marriage date! It is important not to lose sight of this or you will just take one another for granted and improving the marriage will no longer be a one of your top priorities!
Life is about priorities and taking the time out to do or tend to the people and things that are important to you! Marriage is the ultimate relationship between a man and a woman! If your marriage is going to last you have to make a conscious effort to work at it and keep the embers of love burning! To keep it exciting! To do interesting and adventurous things together still! You want to build a mutually satisfying sexual relationship between you as well! Coming together physically as one should be a special time of sharing… To experience a time of euphoria that can be experienced when you freely give of yourselves to one another in a loving environment. Keep the embers burning and be affectionate and caring towards one another! Each couple is different so together build what works for you…. It is okay to have your physical needs met, no reason to be ashamed. The marriage bed is honorable in the eyes of the LORD! Tend your marriage as you would a lovely well kept garden! Take care and tend it as you do everything else that is important in your life. If you leave your clothes lying all over the place and hang them up whenever you want to guess what? If you are selfish and insensitive and don’t really care what happens, guess what? Be attentive, respectful and thoughtul towards one another!
Preventive maintenance is the key! Each marriage is different and each marriage is what you make it! If you want to make it better and if you want to improve start improving you! Stop neglecting yourself and only fixing yourself up for everyone else or when you go to work or attend worship…! Men are visual and so are women. Change for the better not the worst! Do you take care of yourself like you did when you were dating? We are older; no! Still no excuse! Age like a fine antique… Or do you just throw yourself together now because after all you are married to him or her so what! Be the BEST YOU at any age!
Your marriage can last! Marriage can be a wonderful experience of growing with the one you love! Make it a point to get better not bitter! You truly can continually refine your relationship!
Make it a point to keep your marriage and your spouse happiness a priority! You can still enjoy the company of friends and loved ones. But don’t let everyone else but your spouse know what is going on with you and how you are feeling about you or them! Keep one another and your marriage a priority! True Love lasts through forever! You both desire what is best for one another and you want one another to be the “Best You” you can be with one another by your side! This is true when God is in the center of your marriage! You want and desire your marriage to last! You can’t make them happy but you can contribute to creating an intimate, loving, caring, warm, transparent, stable, mutually inviting environment where both of you can continue to grow and flourish together and make a beautiful fragrant bouquet that says “I LOVE YOU!” Now and through FOREVER!
In the Sacramento Area as well you can find many interesting stories about couples that are indicative of what is happening everywhere throughout the world! I refer to the Sacramento area because it is the area I am most familiar with as a marriage examiner & educator. Many couples are going through everywhere! But don’t be discouraged! God is always available, willing and able to help you. However you must be willing to submit to His Will & His Way!
A great marriage really is definitely possible! Marriage requires love, commitment, patience and lots of work! Counseling is an alternative that helps and it can enhance your marriage. But your goal must be to work through the kinks in the marriage rather than let them persist. If you wait until your problems are seemingly insurmountable it will take some time to plow through your relationship dynamics!
There are times when counseling is sought just as a last resort. You simply attempt to appease one another and are trying to buy some time… When this is the case; by the time the couple goes to counseling the problem is so bad that they just want to find out which spouse is responsible for their marriage problems? They do not always want to admit that they entered into marriage without resolving a load of baggage they were carrying prior to marriage. The unresolved baggage serves to compound what is currently going on in the marriage until it is addressed and released. They are quite often just seeking support and approval to justify why they act or behave in the manner in which they do?
The fact of the matter is your communication skills are lacking to the point you have lost some of your objectivity. Step back and look at the issues at hand and seek to break the strongholds that persist.
You may now need or desire a neutral third party to help you see if you can revive the marriage and get it back on track?
You can and should also incorporate the Bible as wise counsel in your marriage. Not in a rigid legalistic manner but in a way to enhance your marriage! It is important that you marry someone who values the same life principles. However if this is not the case you can still consult the Lord’s Word! There is some superb, really great “stuff” in the Bible that many are not aware of! I mean this in a complimentary way. There are some great love stories as well as excellent examples of tests and trials. The Lord never intended for any of us to be unhappy and disappointed all the time… I suggest that you to go to Galatians 5 and learn the differences between the works of the flesh and the Fruit of His Spirit!
Please, don’t just read the Bible you must actually implement the principles into your own personal life and marriage. It is not wise to use the Word to manipulate or hurl insults upon your spouse. After all the Lord KNOWS what He is talking about.
If you have a friend that is having marital conflict encourage them to seek helpful ways to resolve it. It is important to respect your marriage as well as the marriage of others! When asked for advice make it a point to be objective. Don’t experiment on their marriage and suggest things that are harmful rather than constructive! Help them look at the situation from all angle. Sometimes a listening ear is all that is necessary to sort through the problem. Never support abuse on any level in anyone… Learn to be a better friend by encouraging them to do what is right!
What is so interesting is that as adults you can do as you please! That is, unless you simply have no self control yourself and are rather compulsive. In that case you just cannot restrain or discipline yourself and you freak out at the slightest little thing If this is the case you need to put yourself in check and seek out getting some professional help. By the way prayer really does work!
Please if you know that your spouse has a short fuse don’t try to purposefully set them off! This does not mean that you are to be a doormat. Choose your battles wisely don’t encourage abuse or dysfunction in yourself or anyone else. Don’t be an enabler!
So why can’t you make a decision to work out your problems? It’s because you have opted to go the way of the majority or just “do your own thing!” You can simply do what makes you feel good instead at the expense of your spouse? Live together and really be miles apart! But is it really good for you or your marriage? No! That’s called being selfish! At this point, the marriage has become more about “you” rather than about “us!” It’s my house, my car, my money, my furniture my name my, my, my… Somebody has a bad case of “Me”ness! No wonder you are in such a quandary! You have now or will be joining the not happily ever after club soon. That is unless you decide to make your marriage a priority. So get busy!
The first step for getting your marriage back on track is taking responsibility for your own actions! Stop behaving as though you are in the relationship by yourself! Its not all about you. It is about the commitment you made to your spouse and to GOD! It is about being considerate. Your spouse is neither your servant nor your parent although you should learn to lovingly serve one another. What if you knew that today would be your last day here on earth what would you do differently? Remember your spouse is supposed to be your partner. Start treating your spouse the way you would like to be treated for starters. Share this article with him or her. Then Think about the vows you made to one another, now begin to really commit to Celebrate your marriage and recapture those feelings that you had in the beginning! Encourage one another and if necessary encourage yourself like King David. Don’t let anyone steal your JOY! If you have get busy getting it back!
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The statistics for marriages ending in divorce continue to rise! Why is that? It is simply because the spouses listen to everyone else except one another. Their marriage is no longer the top priority it was! They desire to please their friends, relatives and coworkers rather than one another or God!
No you do not have to live on an island! But you must continue to improve and refine your marriage!
Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with having good friends! Just don’t try to be like your friends! Especially if they are not married! Be original! If you notice you look different because you are different! Your temperaments are different and you like different things! So why is it when it comes to your spouse you listen to them rather than to one another! When you decided to get married you became a team! Or rather you should learn to commit to be partners in life. Build a great marriage and encourage those who are married to do the same. Encourage those who are single to cleave to the Lord as they seek to be married….
Hopefully you did not get married to make each other’s life difficult. Or to get someone to take care of you! You can do badly all by yourself! Or because you felt you were getting older and the clock was winding down or simply because everyone else was married? Or just because! Hopefully you got married because you want to give and share of yourself within the sanctity of a committed monogamous growing relationship! To experience the greatest partnership between one man and one woman!
Think about it for a moment! Why did you get married? Was there a goal to accomplish something? You have two eyes, two ears, two lips, two hands, two arms, two legs and two feet. They actually work together in pairs better! If one can’t do something the other one will… Well when it comes to marriage you should work together with your spouse as well! Two working together can accomplish much and often much more! If you do not desire to work together then don’t get married! Or perhaps that is why you no longer want to be unmarried? You want to try something else or someone else? You want to give of yourself in a relationship were you both have the same basic principles and morrals; here you are on one accord….
Many change partners like they are changing a pair of shoes! Fearful of being transparent and taking the time to really get to know your spouse you flee. Or you simply don’t open up to them and you two just coexist as strangers! Or listen to unwise, ungodly counsel or advice… Quite often everyone else knows what is going on before either of you! Your friends have become your confidants and you wouldn’t dare share TRUTH with your spouse! Well! That’s part of the problem!
Marriage is not about keeping secrets from your spouse! It’s about sharing who you are and growing and improving yourself as well as encouraging your spouse… To remain committed when there is turbulence and then together learn to soar above it! In a good marriage when you truly like one another you become friends as well as partners! It is better to be open and honest up front rather than waste time year after year dodging the Truth!
If you have been married before please take some time in between marriages and get rid of the extra baggage. If you don’t it will soon become part of your current marriage and you will recycle the same ole junk! You can’t change what has happened but you can go forward and do some things differently…
What is so interesting marriage was really designed by God to be the ultimate relationship between one man and one woman! Two become one! Being together is a desired choice and you vow and commit to grow together and become partners for life. Or did you? Or until… Well nowadays people stay married as long or as short as they can tolerate one another and something better comes along? So they think? The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence! It must be tended, fertilized and cared for to stay green and healthy!
Love becomes optional to some in marriage and is no longer the key adhesive that keeps the marriage together. Respect and commitment are secondary as well! “Intoxicating affections” mimic marriage. They don’t last!
What does it mean to love someone? Does it mean you give them everything they want? Does it mean letting someone run over you? Does it mean you tell them what they want to hear? Does it mean you never make them angry? Does love ever end? Webster defines love in this way; strong affection for another based on kinship ties. Example: maternal love for a child. Attraction based on sexual desire. Admiration or benevolence. Warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion. A beloved person: Darling. Brotherly concern for others. To hold dear. To feel a lover’s passion, devotion, or tenderness. An unselfish concern of God for man. The scriptures tell us that “God is Love.” Tell me can you really truly love someone and not know God? Or better yet to the degree you know God; does it help you love in a profound way? According to I Corinthians LOVE…is PATIENT…is KIND…does not ENVY… does not BOAST… Is not PROUD…is not SELFISH. Keeps no record of wrong doings…does not DELIGHT in EVIL…but REJOICES in TRUTH. Always protects. Always TRUSTS. Always HOPES. Always PERSEVERES. Does your definition of love encompass Biblical principles?
I have found that love is a term that many people use loosely. If you listen clearly they usually base love on doing or not doing something for them. Love is not giving someone what they want. Love is not letting people run over you. Love is not telling people what they want to hear. If you love them you will speak the truth in love. Just know when you truly love people they will get angry with you sometimes! Their perspective of you will modify. You are no longer the kind wonderful person that they thought you were. All of a sudden you will be perceived as being cold, uncaring, and selfish. They will accuse you of not really loving them when you don’t give them what they want. Don’t fret! God knows your heart. In the meantime pray for them. Begin to practice healthy boundaries with them.
There are many angry people who will chew you out at the drop of a hat. They have oodles of pent up unresolved anger. Cancer, high blood pressure, eating disorders, temper tantrums and depression are just a few results of stored anger. It’s okay for them to have a tantrum. But you are expected to appease them. Anger is natural. Encourage them to find healthy ways to express their anger. Suppressing anger is unhealthy. Just know it takes more control to not respond than to throw a fit. Did you know you can be angry and sin not?
By the way you must let go of some people you love. I am not talking about letting go like in divorce. Divorce occurs because two adults are not able to work through whatever problems they are experiencing. They are not able to keep the commitment they made to each other for whatever reason. Often this is because they really didn’t think things through first. Many couples are unaware of the necessary tenacity for an enduring marriage. (But that’s another column). When I say letting go I mean putting them in hands of the Lord. Allow Him to intervene. There are those who just enjoy a habitat of tension and confusion. Did you know you could break unhealthy cycles by employing better ways to resolve conflict? Avoiding conflict is not healthy. Allowing a cooling off period before discussing the problem may be helpful. Words spoken in a fit of anger can be very damaging. Letting go and allowing them space to feel the consequences for their actions can be beneficial to their spiritual maturity.
The world is a very inconsistent place. God’s standards are not respected nor appreciated. God must be the central focus of your life for true successful living. The prophets pleaded over and over with God’s people to return to his principles. God wants to be first in your life. God has instructed us to; “Hear O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thine soul, and with all thine might. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto they children and talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest……. (Deuteronomy 6) God loves us and is faithful. His WORD is true.
< God always allows you to choose. It is the unselfish concern of God for man that explains love in a nutshell. God loved us so much that He gave His only begotten Son to die for us. To redeem us from the power of sin. In order to free us from sin's captivity. He laid down His life for us! There is no greater love than this? Does grace give us the right to willfully sin? God forbid! Out of spiritual ignorance we support all the wrong things in people. We literally "love them to death". When they are six feet under we cry, rant, rave and shout. But why wait until it's to late? Why do we allow people we say we care about to slowly die little by little right before our faces? Why not do something while the blood is still running warm in their veins? It's because we don't want to hurt their feelings. Right! We don't want to hurt their feelings but what about hurting their life? We prefer to take away their motivation to change by comforting them in sin. Motive is always key in whatever you do. Some people have been loved so wrong for so long they can't recognize true love. We can not change anybody. But we can stop supporting what we know is wrong. Some thing's will just not be understood on this side of heaven! Believe it or not God does not support wrong! I don't care if you have two or two thousand or two million people to support you if it's wrong it's wrong. No one is above reproach. Just try reading Jeremiah. Look at what obedience and love he had for God and His principles! For over 40 years he pleaded with Israel. They ignored a great opportunity for spiritual, moral and ethical maturity. They still chose to justify their sins. Did you know that they did not repent in Jeremiah's time? I wonder if they thought Jeremiah was too negative and needed a personality adjustment? Just imagine the rejection and ridicule he received for taking a stance against sin! Jeremiah didn't just talk the talk. He walked it! He was steadfast! God is about freedom! Sin is a slavemaster. Did you know that it is easier for many to believe a lie rather than believe the truth? God is a Spirit of Truth. "They that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth"! God will bless and keep you in any and all circumstances. Remember GOD is Love! God is eternal! "Stand fast in the liberty that Christ has set you free and be not entangled with a yoke of bondage! Sin is bondage. The Love, freedom, and security that God provides is priceless! Get off the broad road. Discover that narrow road that only a few find. Commit to making a conscious effort to sin less and love with Godly Love! HALLELUJAH! “Love Is Patient, Love Is Kind. Love is felt most when it’s Genuine”.
Marriage on the rocks or on “The ROCK”
Is your marriage on the rocks? Have you done, or did all that you think that you could do and you still are not happy? Do you live under the same roof and barely speak or to say the least, your communication is just not happening?
Is your physical relationship few, far and in between or basically just nonexistent? Or on the other hand is your physical relationship all you have going on? But you both are just going through the motions? Do you jump at the opportunity to spend time apart and or enjoy the company of everyone else accept one another?
When you get angry do you often resort to disrespectful name calling , foul language and go as far as far as physical blows? Are you so tired of fussing and fighting and now you just want to go your separate ways? Do either or both of you just drink yourself under the table because you just can not take life without being under the influence of something in order to function? If yes to two or more of these questions your marriage is on the rocks! You are not just having a bad day, you are relating in a very bad way.
Did you get up early on Sunday morning, get all decked up or dressed down depending where you are going or what Sunday it is and go to Church? Once you got there did you teach Sunday School, sing in the choir, participate on the praise or dance team, serve on the Deacon Board, Ushers Board, Mother’s Board, serve on the welcoming committee, lead the morning altar prayer, give an offering or pay your tithes or sit in the pulpit or the front row or any other row? (I know that was a run on sentence.) But just be patient. Did you listen to a great sermon, a good sermon, a so so sermon or was it just rhetoric or just disguised gossip or plain messy? Or did you just stay at home and turn on your television and flip through the wide assortment of religious selections and pick someone? Yet you cannot take the time to have a decent conversation with your own spouse?
I am sure that I left out some scenarios. My point is to get you thinking? You do not have to confirm any of the above to anyone else. I just want you to consider making some changes. If you don’t your relationship will just get worst. The number of marriages ending in divorce is constantly rising. Did you know that 55-60% of marriages end in divorce? Each time you remarry the percentage of it working out rises as well. It almost sounds like a disease now, when you say you are a monogamous “ heterosexual couple.” We are becoming a rare breed. This should not be!
Take some time and think about where you are. Call a truce momentarily and say “time out.” Don’t wait until someone gets sick, dies, or has an affair. Remember those vows you made to one another! At what point did they just become words? If you look around you will see that the overall quality factor in relationships is constantly dwindling. Don’t let your relationship just be one big roller coaster ride. This does not have to be. Nor is it healthy. Keeping the lines of communication open is very important in relationships Couples are changing partners as if they were a new pair of shoes. They try on this one and that one and…. It does not matter if you are rich or poor, what color you are, where you live or if you are a star or unknown….
This is ironically interesting because there are so many gadgets to communicate and stay in touch now than ever before . You can call or text anyone just about anywhere in the world 24/7. But still many live right under the same roof and cannot even talk to one another. Don’t let pride continue to widen the gap in your relationship. Don’t keep living in an unhealthy environment. Things won’t just get better. You must make your relationship a priority. Take some time when you are not angry and set aside a block of time to spend some quality time with your spouse and get your relationship off the rocks and move it to “The ROCK”.
What has happened ? When did things begin to shift? Where is all the love that brought you together? True Love lasts forever. People use the word love so loosely. Since the world offers so many alternatives and loop holes it is easy to just say. “I’m done.” Next person please. If that is the case perhaps it was just what I call “intoxicating affections!” A good marriage takes work. At the heart of a good marriage is compassion, care and communication! A good marriage in time continues to improve and becomes refined. You work at everything else so why not start with your marriage?
Start by asking your spouse to write down 5-7 things that they would like to see different in your relationship. You do the same. Set a time frame maybe 30 minutes or so, for a little discussion. Then exchange your list with one another. See if you can immediately cross off any of those things listed immediately. For the next 5-7 days see if you can implement one of those changes each day? Just think you can rise to the occasion at work and do whatever is necessary? Yet your marriage has become an option? After a week see if your communication is beginning to improve?
Do you want your home to be a boxing ring and each spouse just stays in the corner? Or do you want it to be a place of gratification and contentment? It is possible. But is won’t just happen. Life is too short to live the majority of it unhappy. This may seem like a simple exercise; but it really is the little things that go unattended that begins to build the walls that eventually come between you. My point is to become conscious of your spouse’s feelings. Becoming more sensitive and thoughtful will help to shift some of the tension and break down the walls that have begun to come between you. Think about it? Can you think of a simple way to show them you love them “just because?” You don’t have to wait until a birthday or a holiday or … Do something totally unexpected, today!
Pray for your spouse and also ask the Lord to show you where you need to change. When you got married you made a vow to the Lord as well. But all too often God is left out of the equation. This really is what gets your marriage on the rocks. You slowly begin to set aside His principles. The proper way to point the finger is when more fingers are pointing back at you… In order to move your relationship from on the rocks to The ROCK you must begin to embrace God’s principles. He is a solid foundation. There is a wonderful illustration that teaches us that when you build your house on The ROCK it can withstand the pressures of life. Mathew 7 tells us “There fore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built His house on The ROCK. The rain came down , the streams arose, and the winds blew and beat against that house , but it did not fall, because it has its foundation on The ROCK.”
Marriage was meant to bring one man and one woman together who are committed to one another. Begin now, to allow the Lord and His principles back in your relationship. This will also help restore or build trust and intimacy. Don’t continue to allow conflict, pride, guilt, unhappiness and shame to be the bridge between you and your spouse. Remember, at the heart of any good relationship is compassion, care and communication! To move towards building a lasting relationship it is important to connect emotionally, intimately and physically with one another. In a marriage that is built upon The ROCK you can become stronger, loving, responsible, mutually satisfied, secure individuals that encourage one another to be the best they can be!