- Gender and Relationships»
How To Have A Great Marriage
One of the most influential points in determining if a marriage will not only last, but to thrive, is how much each partner is willing to give to the other. Many people come into marriage not even realizing how selfish they really are. It's a rude awakening when they realize the initial infatuation with their spouse has ebbed away and little annoyances have taken root. If you let these things grow and fester, you can even get to the point where you don't even like your spouse. This is why many people come to the conclusion that they must have "married the wrong person," or they "just don't love them anymore." When really, the truth is, no one will fit together perfectly with you without some work involved. Everyone has their own way of living, making decisions and behaviors. Many people realize this about their best friends. People say, "They are my best friend, but I wouldn't want to live with them!" Recognizing this is happening in your relationship and stopping this cycle before it gets out of hand is key to saving your marriage, let alone your happiness.
Find Out Your Spouse's Love Language
Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a great book called "The Five Love Languages." He says that there are five general love languages among human beings: quality time, physical touch, words of affirmation, giving gifts and acts of service. He goes on to say that people usually have one main love language and maybe a close second. A love language is the way someone feels the most love. For example, my love language is quality time. My husband could write all the love letters in the world, bring me flowers, tell me I'm beautiful, call me every hour to check on me, but if he works 12 hour days, 7 days a week, I will feel like he must not love me. On the other hand, he could do none of those other things, but if he puts everything else aside and we spend a whole day together, my love tank is full. Usually, we tend to give our love language to our spouse instead of giving them their own language. So if you think about what you do to show your spouse love, or wish they do more of, that's probably your primary love language. To find out your spouse's love language, watch to see what they do for you. Are they always cleaning up after you or making your lunch? They probably want acts of service to show them love. If they are always hugging on you or kissing you, physical affection is probably what they crave.
The beautiful thing about this is that when you start "speaking" your spouse's love language, they naturally give you love back in gratitude. It suddenly turns a bitter resentful relationship into an enjoyable, mutually benefitial relationship. It makes total sense if you think about it. And sometimes, you might have to be the bigger person and give when you don't feel like it. But don't worry, it always means more love for you in the long run. Not that getting should be your motivation for giving - hopefully you want to show love to the one you married - but it does make the hard times easier knowing your efforts will be rewarded. For more information about Dr. Chapman's book, visit: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/about/gary-chapman/.
What Is Your Love Language?
Learn How To Fight Fair
If you are constantly wounding each other in battles of words or actions, your relationship can quickly spiral in a downward direction. And when the wounding is deep, it take a long time for the heart to heal and trust again. Your spouse is the person who knows you the best, therefore they can hurt you the worse. They know where to hit you where it hurts. Many husbands or wives exploit each other's weaknesses in arguements. This is one of the worst things you can do to your relationship.
Your spouses trust in you, their commitment to you, is a precious gift. Do not take that gift for granted just because you are in a disagreement. It took me so many years to learn I was doing this. I can't take back things I have said, but I can vow to honor my mate by never criticizing him while I'm mad. Many, many times in marriage, a spouse hurts the other's feelings unintentionally. When a calm, humble plea is made to correct the behavior, the spouse generally will see they hurt you, and hopefully you will see they didn't mean to. It's hard to learn that people don't automatically think like you do.
If you can get one step ahead of your emotions and learn to keep calm and speak respectfully, leaps and bounds can be made in the violence and heatedness of your arguements, and you will find you will argue less. After all, when you see that your spouse is never meaning to hurt you, your feelings will get hurt less. Here are some great pointers for fair fighting:
1. Use "I" statements instead of "We" statements. For example, "I feel neglected" or "I feel lonely." Not "You need to be home more" or "You should take better care of me."
2. Never use the words never and always. Those kinds of absolutes flare emotions and are usually not true. No one really NEVER does something or ALWAYS does something. And even if they did, yelling at them will not motivate them to change their behavior.
3. Try to touch the other person and look them in the eye. And remember to do this when they are expressing something negative to you. Messing around on your phone, or typing on the computer, reading or watching television should not be done when your spouse is asking for your attention. It is basic respect to pay attention to someone when they are talking to you. After all, you would never treat a friend or heaven forbid, a boss that way. So why would we treat our life partner that way?
4. Recognize when your emotions are taking over and take a break. Once an arguement excalates to the point of yelling and throwing out "You" statements, it's pretty hard to calm back down to a reasonable level. Sometimes the only thing to do is say, "Maybe we should take a break and talk about this later, when we have both calmed down. Let's not hurt each other."
5. There's something to be said for the old phrase, "Don't go to bed angry." Even if you have to take a break, the issue should at least be calmed down by bed time. Even if you go to bed not completely in agreement, no one benefits when you are both furious when you lay down. All that really does it gives you a horrible night's sleep.
Have you ever heard of the orphaned babies in Russia? There are so many of them that there are not enough workers to take care of them. Even if they get fed, hardly any of them get held. Many of them die from the lack of physical touch. Even though they have been nourished properly as far as food and hydration, the lack of human contact kills them. There is just something about physical touch. We all need it, whether it is our love language or not. When a husband and wife sleep naked together, they are at their most vulnerable in complete trust of the other person. It bonds you together in a way that nothing else can. This is why I believe sex should be reserved for marriage. It is cement to a relationship. But even just the physical contact of skin to skin touching is a beautiful, intimate thing (hopefully) only done with your spouse. There is a sense of belonging and vulnerability that only you two share.
Forsake All Others
I don't really know of any husband or wife who wants to share their spouse's sexuality with everyone they meet. If, as a wife, you are constantly looking for attention from other men, or you let your mind fantasize about what might happen between you and anyone other than your spouse, you are giving away a very special part of your sexuality that should, in my opinion, be reserved for your husband. If, as a husband, you are constantly devouring every woman around you with your eyes and mind, or engaging in any type of masturbation or pornography usage, you are giving away a very special part of your male sexuality that belongs to your wife. Some people think these behaviors will just automatically go away once you get married. But trust me, they don't.
These are things you have to choose to let go of for the sake of your marriage. Not many people do. I believe that is why the divorce rate is so high in the United States. I don't think people even consider these behaviors any of their spouse's business. They don't realize how much better their relationship could be if they really would do what the marriage vows say and "forsake all others." There is a sweet exclusivity there that, if given mutually, can tie you together in ways you've never dreamed. You could experience sex like you never have before, and intimacy in higher levels you never thought were possible. Now I am not saying this is easy. If you have grown up giving your sexuality away all the time, it is a hard thing to change. The pleasure members of the opposite sex can give you is addictive. But what many don't see is that just like drugs or cigarettes, rampantly indulged sexuality is destructive for everyone involved. You can find yourself without a job, without a family, and without your health in extreme cases. For help changing these behaviors, check out these books:
- "Every Man's Batle" by Fred Stoeker and Stephen Arterburn.
- "Every Woman's Battle" by Shannon Ethridge.
- "Wired For Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain" by Dr. William Struthers.
- "The Fantasy Fallacy: Exposing The Deeper Meaning Behind Sexual Thoughts" by Shannon Ethridge.
A great marriage is worth fighting for. Marriage can be one of the most lasting, fulfilling, secure, enjoyable relationships you can have on earth. But it doesn't just happen automatically. Learning to love your spouse in the ways they need is a process that takes time and effort, but the work is worth it. For some marriage fun, check out some great quotes about marriage in the box below!
Famous Quotes On Marriage
- "I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life." -Rita Rudner
- "More marriages might survive if the partners realized that sometimes the better comes after the worse." -Doug Larson
- "One advantage of marriage is that, when you fall out of love with him or he falls out of love with you, it keeps you together until you fall in again." -Judith Viorst
- "In every marriage more than a week old, there are grounds for divorce. The trick is to find, and continue to find, grounds for marriage." -Robert Anderson
- “To find someone who will love you for no reason, and to shower that person with reasons, that is the ultimate happiness.” -Robert Brault
- “Marriage is a mosaic you build with your spouse. Millions of tiny moments that create your love story.” -Jennifer Smith
- “A long-lasting marriage is built by two people who believe in -and live by- the solemn promise they made.” -Darlene Schacht