So, today was kind of long. Tasha had an appointment mid-day. Nothing major, but it took me a long time last night to get to sleep, so I was a bit sleepy when I got up. Well, I made the mistake of sleeping from around 5 to 7 tonight. Guess what? I'm still up at 2:17 in the morning, knowing full well that I have to be up at 8 am tomorrow morning to go walk. Ug. Anyway, I guess I'll try to get to sleep here. More later!
Mawwage. Ok, had to get that out of the way.
This week I've been reading a book called Why Marriages Succeed or Fail by Dr. John Gottman. This is obviously a book that I had to read for class, but one major fault that I see in it lies in that it does not really give a way for people to realize the major foundations that a successful marriage can be built on, even when everything's gone to pot. Tasha and I talked a good bit yesterday and today about what a great marriage is built upon. What we realized is that there are four basic points.
1) Always put God first.
This seems like an easy one, especially to those of you who read this blog. But for the vast majority of people who are married, this perhaps in the most difficult; this is especially true in our society today. Even in Christian homes, there is a lot of 'me first' mentality. This is not always an individual me first, but can be a couple we first. What we have realized is that when God is displaced from being first, everything else comes apart. It says in Ephesians 5:21, "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." (NIV) What this means for us is that we must love as Christ loved us. If need be, we have to be prepared to love someone so much that we would die for them. I'll say it again, whenever we displace God, everything else falls out of place.
2) Communication is key
One major part of this book that we read showed examples of different conversations that happened during sessions for couples to be worked with. What I found is that there was a major lack of healthy communication that happened with many of the couples. Of course, this was all verbal communication, but you could tell that the non-verbal communication matched what the verbal was. This is something that I personally have to watch out for. Also, having hostile humor and mocking the spouse, even in good fun, can be damaging. Something that I have realized between Tasha and myself is that we have excellent communication. This is not something that happened overnight, and it is something that we have to constantly work on. Whenever we don't talk about something (and not necessarily at length), I inevitably do something that isn't quite right. Thankfully, I've not done anything that couldn't be reversed, but we see that when communication breaks down for most people, then couple start to lose control of the peripheral things in a marriage. (i.e.: money, possessions, etc.)
The next two are interchangeable because they are related.
3) Respect one another
4) Love one another
Without respect, there cannot be love, and without love, there cannot be respect. Tasha and I did a study with our small group about a year and a half ago about marriage, and we found out that the majority of men are much more keen on respect than love; women are the opposite. God hardwired us this way, and even addressed it in Ephesians 5.
22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Paul wrote this I believe very intentionally in this way. It is harder for men to show love, even to their wives. It is not necessarily easy for women to show respect as it is to show love. This also goes back to keeping God first in our lives, too! If we don't respect Christ, we don't love him. If we don't love him, then his sacrifice on the Cross is meaningless to us personally.
I know that there are a lot of different opinions on marriage, but I truly feel that if these four things happen, then the majority of marriages would not end in divorce. I hope that each of the people that read this will be blessed and hopefully will know that God is with them. As always, more later...