Good afternoon readers! What a beautiful day it is here in Oklahoma City. The weather is awesome today! I hope that those of you celebrating Valentine’s tomorrow are prepared and ready to go.. I know I am!
Anyway, today we are going to continue the series about love. To start at the beginning click here.
Today we are going to touch on the subject of the slumps and ruts of marriage. Life isn’t perfect. Humans aren’t perfect. So why do we expect them to be?
As I have been doing, this blog series is coming from the January/February 2011 issue of Relevant Magazine. Enjoy!
Slumps & Ruts
This is where the “marriage is work” stuff really ramps up–everybody has rough patches in their marriage. You get tired. You see their mistakes. There are low-grade, grinding annoyances for both of you.
“Date your mate.” These words have come to us from a bunch of you, wise, well-married folks. Another pithy saying explains why it’s so important: “Familiarity breeds contempt.” It’s easy to start to forget one another, to lose sight of what brought you together. That’s a problem, as it’s often what keeps you together. You must be disciplined in having fun. Make sure it happens, and make sure it’s really fun.
Money causes tons of marital strife. Commit to viewing money as the Bible does. That means no greed, no coveting, no hoarding, no waste and no selfishness. But rather give, save, steward, enjoy, share and use money. When you take the Bible seriously on money, it sets some pretty significant parameters for how you can think about and relate to resources. Talk openly about your spending choices, consider your money yours together (not owned by the one whose name is on the paycheck), and when there is a discord about finances, err on the side of loving your spouse (after explaining your perspective) rather than squeezing the life out of your principles.
Talk about your life, even when it seems boring. Verbally processing lets your spouse know he or she is valuable enough to be in on the decisions and emotions you face during the day.
And listen to your spouse talking about his or her life, even when it seems boring. They’ve trusted you with the emotional energy of telling you about what happened today, so listen. Learn to ask good questions . Learn to repeat back what they’ve said in ways that say you heard between the lines and you care.
Talk about temptations, and don’t put yourself in temptation’s way. Have close same-sex friends who you can talk to about temptations and challenges. Watch your attitudes and subtle cues in any relationships with the opposite sex, and give particular attention to ones your spouse doesn’t share.
In the same way you aim to stay faithful to one another, stay connected to church and to a community that supports your faith and your commitment to one another. Find a couple who has walked the walk a few more years or stages than you. Soak in wisdom and perspective by osmosis, then ask questions of those who share your worldview and priorities and are happily married. There’s no shame in finding a small group not just to be a perfect Christian, but because you’re really needy.
Pay attention to what makes your spouse feel loved, and do it, even if it seems trite or unromantic. Ask what he or she likes– don’t assume you’ve got this all figured out. Those roses you’ve been pouring your savings into might mean far less to her than a foot rub, an evening snuggle in front of a movie or taking her turn washing dishes. And he might really desire more or different sex, or he might be happier if you played tennis together, read to each other, cooked more nice meals or kept a cleaner car.
Two Paths Diverged In A Wood…
Laying our dreams down for another is contrary to most messages we hear today. But if you can’t make sacrifices for your loved one–if you can’t say, “My spouse is more important to me that my dream” — your love will get slammed as you face the tough questions of life.
Questions like who will pay the bills if you both want to go back to school? What if babies come when you have fulfilling jobs but also want someone to stay home? How will you balance a job offer in Seattle with family in Kentucky? What if you dreamed of moving to Europe, but the years are ticking onward in any direction but there?
Make your dreams and plans together early. Be honest now, so you’re not surprised later by warring wishes. Talk about how many kinds you want, how far you want to live from home and how important your career is. Then expect these to change. As they do, keep talking to see how things fit, and say how you feel about it. Be honest with your desires, but also willing to give.
When two paths diverge in a wood, you need to take just one. Together.
Well I hope all of you gained something from that. Have a great day tomorrow!
Until next time readers, God Bless!
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