For the past several weeks, our connect group class (a.k.a sunday school class) has focused on a marriage study called "Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage", by Mark Gungor. I was a bit hesitant about it at first because we've all heard "church sermons or studies' on marriages and it always goes back to how communication is always key and that couples just need to talk. Well pooey on talking! Yes, communication is great, but you have to know WHY spouses do what they do that upsets you. Communication is very important but it's not just about communication. It's about knowing your spouse, their thoughts behind their actions, why they did what they did, why they said what they said, etc.
Well, this study went beyond communication, we spoke about everything! Her brain, his brain. I recommend it for all couples going through good or bad. I have to admit, this study has opened my eyes!! I honestly believe my marriage will be so much better if I apply to my marriage what I've learned through this study. Divorce is not an option for us. I meant my vows and I know he meant his. We are partners for life. It's our job to work with each other to make marriage work. People make mistakes yeah, but who doesn't!
It's never really just your spouses fault (of course there are always special cases). It has to do with both of you. It all starts with something that leads to something else. Sometimes the dumbest littlest things. It's so sad when I hear people saying, 'if it doesn't work, we'll just get a divorce" as if it's a game. We should not try to mimick celebrities who play marriage or marry for 3 months and then divorce. That's just sad. Marriage is not a game. It's sacred. We need to understand each other and help improve our marriages. We should not sit in silence and suffer alone, but have other couples to look to and to mentor us. People, please talk about what you're going through rather than bottle it up. It's not healthy for you nor your spouse. Seek advice and don't think you know it all already. Don't hold grudges or resentment, don't say the words always and never. It only hurts your marriage.
Robert and myself go through a lot. I think people look at us and automically assume we don't ever have problems or that we are this happy little couple because we go to church. Yes, we are happy lots of times, but we go through difficulties like any other marriage. We have our struggles too. In the past, prior to this study we've just gone through, we didn't know how to fix the problem. We still don't and are learning! We aren't perfect. However, we know now how to go about making it better before the problem starts. We are working towards a better marriage. And I'm not saying we won't be arguing any more, because regardless, we are human and we won't always see eye to eye. We are working through things though that cause us to argue continually like not listening when I'm talking, not giving him enough credit for things he does around the house or out, not enough encouragment, focusing too much time on distractions rather than me or not giving enough of my attention to him, not meeting each other's love language ect...
Here are some of the things we learned and I will work on applying to my marriage:
*Know your spouses love language. Take this quiz and know your own personal love language, then have your spouse take it. Learn what each of your languages are and apply it to each other and your spouse. Works wonders!!! I loved it! www.5lovelanguages.com/assessments/personal-profiles/?profiletype=wives
-The five love languages are: Acts of Service, Quality time, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, and gifts.
If your spouse's love language is words of affirmation then try to learn to give them the praise they need, the admiration, thank them for something they've done, etc...
*Pornography and Lust in marriages-the uh ohs, what no one wants to talk about. How some people feel this could spice up your marriage or in some instances save it but really only (only lies from satan-the world-celebrity magazines suggest it) can overtime destroy your marriage-your sex life. Sad but true..think about it..do you really want to invite another couple, woman/man into your personal sex life. Do you really think your man/woman should be making love to you while looking at another man/woman rather than appreciate your body/you?! This can destroy your self esteem. More so for women than a men. This also opens doors for your spouse to watch pornograhy without you because you've given permission to it. Please becareful and think about it next time you pull it out. It does not help, even if for the moment you may think it does.
*Taking interest in what your spouse does. If your spouse enjoys video games (mine for example) take time to sit with them or even play games with them. Don't make fun of them for their hobby or belittle the hobby. It's what they enjoy and take pride in doing. If your spouse enjoys fishing, painting, going on walks, etc... surprise them and go with them.
*Most importantly, making God the center of your relationship. Only God can truly fulfil your desires for a better marriage, only God has the power to restore a broken marriage, and only God can make your marriage work and be healthy. God designed marriage as an instrument to make us more like Christ. As Christ loved the church so should husbands love their wives and wives love and submit to their husbands as leaders of their households. Make God a priority and your marriage will be so much better.
Those are some of the things I've taken from the study and will apply to my marriage. My goal is to be a better wife, appreciate him more, be the lover he needs me to be, believe in his hopes and dreams, love him more than I should and lastly support him through life. I'm going to try very hard to be the wife God wants me to be for the man who is not only my best friend or husband, but the father of my children.
I hope that if anyone reads this, you will make every effort to be a better spouse. Please don't give up on your marriage. Know that there are solutions to whatever happens. Always, always, always, put God first. I would highly recommend 'Laughing Your way to a Better Marriage' and taking the 5 love languages quiz. I suggest doing it together with your spouse. It's a fun quiz and a way to learn something new about your spouse. Seriously!
And people, please, don't think for one second, that there's such a thing as a perfect marriage! Because there's not. You work towards it.