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Category Archives: Marriage

CHECK LIST FOR HUSBANDS/WIVES


Allow at least 30 minutes for this exercise. Make sure you are alone and undisturbed. Husbands should fill in the answers first, then fold, the answers under while the wife answers. The wife’s answers apply to the husband’s behavior, not hers. The two should then dialogue on their responses, each one from the “feeling” point of view (non-judgmental).

                                                               Yes           No

  1. I write a personal, affectionate note or letter to my wife regularly (weekly?).
  2. I never have to be reminded of her birthday or our anniversary.
  3. I plan an honest evaluation of our marriage regularly (perhaps with testing).On your anniversary do you recommit? Perhaps listen to the tape of your marriage ceremony.
  4. We have developed specific goals for n our family spiritually, emotionally and economically.
  5. We have at least one meal daily with all the family members together.
  6. My wife has confirmed to me that the money she receives is reasonable and adequate under our financial circumstances.
  7. I encourage my wife to develop her own potentialities (by taking courses, etc.)
  8. I am aware of what is going on in my house between my wife and our children.
  9. In dealing with all family members, I am more positive than negative.
  10. I regularly help my wife with the children and the “necessary drudgery.”
  11. 11.I never ask others to our house without my wife knowing in advance and with assurance of my help.
  12. I respond to her preferences in buying a new house or automobile.
  13. I seldom tire of talking with my wife.
  14. I still court my wife.
  15. I spend at least one hour each week, alone with my wife, talking about our mutual interests.
  16. I am closer to my wife now than I was one year ago.
  17. I make most decisions of my family’s welfare rather than my own (Phil. 2:3,4).
  18. I allow my wife to use her abilities and talents to their fullest.
  19. I show patience in most situations.
  20. I allow her to make many decisions.
  21. I treat her as a partner, not as a servant.
  22. I forgive her when she makes bad decisions.
  23. I try to guide (vs. boss) when she needs
  24. She can talk with me about anything without my getting angry.
  25. There is nothing about which she is afraid to talk with me.
  26. I try basically to be an unselfish person.
  27. I am primarily a Christian who loves the Lordship of Jesus.
  28. Is the Lord really first in your life?
  29. Are nagging, bickering or picking general occurrences at your home?
  30. Are you in subjection to your husband? Do you place him in the position of leadership?
  31. Are you a happy person? Do you take life, generally, without complaint
  32. Are you a positive, affirming person?
  33. Are you a forgiving person?
  34. Do you often interrupt your husband when he talking or telling a story?
  35. Do you put your husband down in public? In private?
  36. Do you have reasonable control of your weight?
  37. Are you sexually responsive to your husband at least 95% of the time?
  38. How do you handle problems and pressures? Do you remain indecisive or blame others when things go wrong?
  39. Do you call your husband any ugly names? (Any name he does not like is ugly.)
  40. Do you have any resentments against your husband (because he is “fat,” “late,” ill-mannered, uneducated, etc.)?
  41. Is your house reasonably organized and clean?
  42. How do you feel about housework? Do you do it willingly?
  43. Are you too “fussy” about how the house looks?
  44. How is your credit? Are you inclined to buy things on impulse, then have trouble paying your bills?
  45. What is your social life like? Do you find yourself spending most of your spare time with your family and friends and very little with your husband’s family and friends?
  46. Would you prefer to watch TV rather than talk with your husband?
  47. Do you spend at least one-half of your leisure time together?
  48. Do you ask which film or TV program he would like to see and then somehow you end up seeing the one you prefer?
  49. Do you treat his mother (or yours) with disrespect?
  50. Are in-laws allowed to interfere or set policies for your family?
  51. How is your sense of humor? Do you laugh easily – even at yourself?
  52. Has your husband caught you in little lies which you have tried to wriggle out of?
  53. When you are wrong, do you find it hard to admit?
  54. Do your prime interests in life center around things more than people?
  55. Have you thought about who you are and what you will be like in 25 years
 
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Posted by on January 14, 2019 in Marriage

 

Quiz for Couples — How’s Your Marriage?


This quiz is based on an understanding of many key studies in the field. Following the Quiz you can add up your points and use the scale to see how you are doing. You should take the scores seriously, but realize that there is a lot that the quiz doesn’t take into account about your relationship. While these questions are based on studies that assess such things as the likelihood of a marriage working out, we would hate for any one person to take this and assume the worst about their future. Rather, we believe that the quiz can motivate high and medium- high scoring couples to take a serious look at where their marriage is heading–and take steps to turn negative patterns around for the better.

Please answer each of the following questions to see how you are doing. We recommend that you answer these questions by yourself and not share scores with your partner.

Use the following 3 point scale to rate how often you and your mate or partner experience the following:

1 = Never or almost never 2 = Once in awhile 3 = Frequently

1 2 3  Little arguments escalate into ugly fights with accusations, criticisms, name calling, or bringing up past hurts.

1 2 3  My partner criticizes or belittles my opinions, feelings, or desires.

1 2 3  My partner seems to view my words or actions more negatively than I mean them to be.

1 2 3  When we have a problem to solve, it is like we are on opposite teams.

1 2 3  I hold back from telling my partner what I really think and feel.

1 2 3  I think seriously about what it would be like to date or marry someone else.

1 2 3  I feel lonely in this relationship.

1 2 3  When we argue, one of us withdraws, that is, doesn’t want to talk about it anymore; or leaves the scene.

Determining Your Score:
Add up your points to determine your score. (Include only your scores, do not add to your partner’s!) The ranges we suggest for the quiz are based on results from a nationwide, random phone survey of 947 people (85% married).

8 to 12 “Green Light”
If your total points is in the 8 – 12 range, your relationship is probably in good or even great shape AT THIS TIME, but we emphasize “AT THIS TIME” because relationships don’t stand still. In the next 12 months, you’ll either have a stronger, happier relationship, or you could head in the other direction. To think about it another way, it’s like you are traveling along and have come to a green light. There is no need to stop, but it is probably a great time to work on making your relationship all it can be.

13 to 17 “Yellow Light”
If you scored in the 13-17 range, it’s like you are coming to a “yellow light.” You need to be cautious. While you may be happy now in your relationship, your score reveals warning signs of patterns you don’t want to let get worse. You’ll want to be taking action to protect and improve what you have. Spending time to strengthen your relationship now could be the best thing you could do for your future together.

18 to 24 “Red Light”
Finally, if you scored in the 18-24 range, it’s like approaching a red light. Stop, and think about where the two of you are headed. Your score indicates the presence of patterns that could put your relationship at significant risk. You may be heading for trouble–or already may be there. But there is GOOD NEWS. You can stop and learn ways to improve your relationship now!

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2019 in Marriage

 

“A Woman Worthy of Praise” – Proverbs 31:10-31  


We had the meanest mother in the whole world! While other kids ate candy for breakfast, we had to have cereal, eggs, and toast. When others had a Pepsi and a Twinkie for lunch, we had to eat sandwiches. And you can guess our mother fixed us a dinner that was different from other kids had, too.

Mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times. You’d think we were convicts in a prison. She had to know who our friends were, and what we were doing with them. She insisted that if we said we would be gone for an hour, we would be gone for an hour or less.

We were ashamed to admit it, but she had the nerve to break the Child Labor Laws by making us work. We had to wash the dishes, make the beds, learn to cook, vacuum the floor, do laundry, and all sorts of cruel jobs. I think she would lie awake at night thinking of more things for us to do. She always insisted on us telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

By the time we were teenagers, she could read our minds. Then, life was really tough! Mother wouldn’t let our friends just honk the horn when they drove up. They had to come up to the door so she could meet them. While everyone else could date when they were 12 or 13, we had to wait until we were 16.

Because of our mother, we missed out on lots of things other kids experienced. None of us have ever been caught shoplifting, vandalizing other’s property, or ever arrested for any crime. It was all her fault. We never got drunk, took up smoking, stayed out all night, or a million other things, other kids did. Sundays were reserved for church, and we never missed once. We knew better than to ask to spend the night with a friend on Saturdays.

Now that we have left home, we are all God-fearing, educated, honest adults. We are doing our best to be mean parents just like Mom was.

I think that’s what is wrong with the world today. It just doesn’t have enough mean moms anymore.

We’re calling upon a man whose name is mentioned only once in scripture, yet this choice portion of literature seems to last forever in our minds as we look for a godly woman.

His name was King Lemuel, and he had a good mother. Listen to the opening verses of this chapter: Proverbs 31:1-9: “The sayings of King Lemuel–an oracle his mother taught him: {2} “O my son, O son of my womb, O son of my vows, {3} do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin kings. {4} “It is not for kings, O Lemuel– not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, {5} lest they drink and forget what the law decrees, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights. {6} Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish; {7} let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more. {8} “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. {9} Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.””

In verse 10, King Lemuel begins with both a question and a declaration:

Question: a wife of noble character, who can find?

Answer: she is worth far more than rubies!

Verse 30 sums it all up: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

Many times these verses are presented in such a way that a great deal of guilt is brought forth on the part of the women and mothers listening. If you do not get up early and buy-and-sell land or provide your family with hand-sewn clothing…these verses are still for your encouragement.

Instead of listing items of activity which should be part of the Christian woman, it is listing characteristics which are then applied to the culture in which we walk and work. The idea: be this kind of woman in your character and your activities will be determined by the particular circumstances which do apply to your life.

She is diligent (vs. 13, 17-18, 27)

Proverbs 31:13: “She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.”

Proverbs 31:17-18: “She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. {18} She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.”

Proverbs 31:27: “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”

   This trait seems to be mixed with a pleasant spirit and a good attitude. She seems to possess pride in what she does…she’s not happy just to “get by” but in doing a good job. She looks for the best buys, she realizes a profit, and works even into the night.

She’s industrious and efficient (vs. 14, 16, 24)

Proverbs 31:14: “She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.”

Proverbs 31:16: “She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.”

Proverbs 31:24: “She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.”

    She’s a thinking individual. In the investment of her time, she looks for dividends and returns. Instead of focusing on the grind, she looks to the benefits her work will bring.

 She’s compassionate (vs. 20, 26).

Proverbs 31:20: “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.”

Proverbs 31:26: “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.”

   She has a soft heart that can be touched. And this makes her unique and distinct when contrasted to the man: an illustration….a child is hurt and the two responses: Mother: How are YOU doing? What can I do? (the caring one). Dad: Why were you running? You scratched the wall! Who’s fault was it? (the investigator).

 She has inner beauty (vs. 22, 25).

Proverbs 31:22: “She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.”

Proverbs 31:25: “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”

 IF MARRIED: She’s a devoted wife:

She maintains her husband’s confidence (vs. 11a)

Proverbs 31:11a: “Her husband has full confidence in her….”

   He’s comfortable in being transparent with her. He can share his feelings of insecurity, inadequacy, and disappointment and know she will keep them to herself.

 She meets his needs (vs. 11b).

Proverbs 31:11b: “…and lacks nothing of value.”

   She’s supportive and affectionate. She encourages his pursuits, and is committed to him and his efforts. Remember when God looked at Adam and said: “It is not good that man should be alone.” He made a help-meet that would make him complete. Woman was a special creation of God but also a “corresponding part.”

 She seeks his good (vs. 12)

Proverbs 31:12: “She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”

 She aids his influence (vs. 23)

Proverbs 31:23: “Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.”

 IF A PARENT: she’s a dependable mother.

She is disciplined (vs. 15, 18-19).

Proverbs 31:15: “She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.”

Proverbs 31:18-19: “She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. {19} In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.”

  This is not a verse teaching you into hell if you don’t make homemade biscuits early in the morning, etc. But it is teaching a principle of taking charge of your time so you can meet the family needs. If the role of the husband or father in your house is for him to fix breakfast, then, obviously, the specifics would change.

 She’s organized (vs. 21).

Proverbs 31:21: “When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.”

   This verse presents a sense of planning. She takes the challenge of a family as just that, a challenge, and seeks to meet it. It’s not just “a cross to bear.”

 She’s dedicated (vs. 27).

Proverbs 31:27: “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”

 What will be the results of this kind of woman (28-31).

Proverbs 31:28-31“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: {29} “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” {30} Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. {31} Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”

* Her children will bless her! * Her husband will praise her!

* Her peers will be challenged by her! * Her works will bring their own praise!

* Her Lord will be honored by her life!

A husband’s relationship to his excellent wife: (vs. 11-12, 28-29)

Proverbs 31:11-12: “Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. {12} She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”

Proverbs 31:28-29: “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: {29} “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.””

He trusts her (vs. 11). He has no cause for suspicion for her. Deep within, he holds confidence in her.

He benefits from her (vs. 11).

He’s affirmed by her (vs. 12).

He’s impressed with her and sings her praises (vs. 28-29).

Young men – look for this kind of woman!

Young ladies – strive with God’s help to be this kind of woman!

Fathers and married men – Thank God if you have this kind of woman!

THE BEAUTY OF LOVE

A little girl came to her mother one day and said, “Mother, why do you always wear gloves?” The mother replied, “Because my hands are such ugly, unsightly hands.” “But,” said the daughter, “Mother, what is the matter with your hands?” “Please take off your gloves. I want to see your hands.” The mother did so, and as the little girl saw the burned, drawn hands, she said, “O, Mother, put the gloves back on.”

Then she said, “But, Mother, how came your hands so burned and drawn?” She said, “When you were a baby the house was on fire; your bed and  your clothes were on fire and in rescuing you I burned my hands.”

The little girl said, “Take off the gloves again, I do want to look at your hands.” She did so, and the little girl affectionately patted and kissed the unsightly hands and said, “These are the most beautiful hands I have ever seen.” Love beautifies. We need more of it. — By William Moses Tidwell, “Effective Illustrations.”

 

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2018 in Marriage

 

Marriage Realities School Never Taught You


151459597_640Creating a healthy, happy marriage takes hard work. It doesn’t just happen on its own.  Numerous spouses are surprised by the amount of work it takes to keep a marriage on course. Some believe that if you really love someone, the relationship shouldn’t be work, it should just flow easily. That sounds good, but in reality all meaningful relationships require an on-going investment of time, effort, energy, and commitment.

You don’t get to coast for very long. It seems that when things are going well, you should get to “take a break” from the relationship stuff for awhile. But if you’re not growing and evolving as individuals and as a couple, then your relationship is soon going to suffer. There’s no such thing as standing still and having everything stay the same. You’re either going forwards or you’re going backwards.

Saying “I do” is not the end—it’s the beginning. Some spouses feel that once they are married, they don’t have to extend as much effort into being romantic or nurturing the relationship. But a marital relationship isn’t the end of the road. It’s only the beginning of your opportunity to “grow your marriage” and create a rewarding relationship with your partner.

You’re not going to change your partner after you marry. No matter how many times this statement is written or verbalized, there are many individuals who still believe that their case will be different. Motivation to change is normally the highest before marriage when both partners want to please each other. After marriage, it’s easier to become comfortable and lose motivation to work on self-growth. Females are especially susceptible to this dynamic. Because they often are hooked by the potential that they see in their partner, they’re convinced that they can change him. This usually leads to a rude awakening after marriage.

You can’t give what you don’t already have. You have to be happy and at peace with yourself before you can create a happy, peaceful, harmonious marriage. Marriage won’t make you happy. Only you can do that. If you’re not happy with yourself and your life when you get married, nothing will change significantly afterwards.

Frequent emotional housekeeping is required for intimacy to thrive. It doesn’t take long for a marriage to develop serious problems when emotional debris from unresolved conflicts and issues piles up. This is why good communication is important. Couples who can’t talk about their differences and resolve conflict are at high risk for divorce. Feelings of passion, emotional intimacy, and heartfelt connection are all dependent on good communication.

The words you say are important, so pick them carefully. You can’t expect the spouse you called a “witch” or “fool” at 8:00 p.m. to be thrilled at the thought of sex with you at 9:00 p.m. By the words you use in your interactions with your partner, you impact how your spouse feels about you. Harsh, unkind words fuel anger, resentment, and bitterness. Kind words build rapport, respect, and caring. The words you use to yourself and others when talking about your spouse and your marriage are also important. When you devalue someone or something verbally, it affects your feelings and perceptions. Negativity spreads like a virus.

Just because you dislike your partner intensely at the moment doesn’t mean that you don’t love him or her. It’s normal to have mixed feelings toward your spouse at times.  Sometimes your inner two-year-old will appear in your reactions—you know, the one who could stomp his feet and scream, “I hate you, Mommy!” when he didn’t get his own way. There are times when spouses can’t stand each other and the feelings of closeness and connection lessen. But that doesn’t mean that the marriage is over or that the love is permanently gone.

Success in marriage, as in life, is an inside job. The breakthroughs happen when you take responsibility for your actions and attitudes and focus on what changes you can make to improve the relationship. It’s important to learn how to stay centered and balanced emotionally as much as possible, and that requires inner work on yourself. Learning to be more self-aware will help you better understand your part in creating the present situation.

There’s no end to growth. There’s always something else to experience and learn. You can always improve your relationship skills and grow more as a person. Unlike school where you eventually get a diploma if you meet the requirements, you never “graduate” from relationship school. Just when you think you’ve learned to keep your equilibrium in your relationship, something is sure to throw you off balance as if to test you. And in the areas where you resist growth, you’ll find yourself endlessly repeating unproductive patterns. Then you have a choice—to stay stuck or keep on growing.

by Nancy J. Wasson, Ph.D. Nancy J. Wasson, Ph.D, is co-author of Keep Your Marriage: What to Do When Your Spouse Says “I don’t love you anymore!” 

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2018 in Marriage

 

Steps You Can Take to ‘Affair Proof’ Your Marriage


There’s no way to absolutely guarantee that your marriage won’t be blindsided by an affair on your part or your spouse’s, but there are definite steps you can take to greatly reduce the probability of that happening.

It’s important to know what you can do to strengthen your marital connection and keep your marriage vibrant and healthy. A rewarding, satisfying marriage that meets the needs of both partners is your best protection against the destructive intrusion of an affair.

So what can you do to “affair proof” your marriage as much as possible?

Tips for Avoiding the Affair

The following twelve steps will guide you in building a stronger marriage partnership and help you and your spouse to withstand the lusty lure of temptation:

  1. Make your relationship with your spouse your top priority in the hierarchy involving family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and others.
    Make a real commitment of time, energy, and effort to your marriage. You can end up pulled in so many different directions and over-extended that your most valuable and precious relationship can end up at the bottom of the list unless you make it a top priority.
  2. Nurture the emotional intimacy in your marriage.
    Make time to talk each day, not just about the events that have happened, but also about your feelings. Share on an emotional level—your fears, your frustrations, your joys, your disappointments, and your challenges. Let your partner know how much you value being able to talk to him or her about anything and to connect on a deep level.
  3. Show appreciation on a regular basis.
    Be generous with compliments and thank you’s. Tell your spouse at least once a week how much you appreciate him or her and list the qualities that you love, admire, and respect. Don’t worry that you’ve said these things before—no one gets tired of hearing their good traits praised!
  4. Spend time together doing fun things and just “hanging out.”
    Bonding can deepen when you and your spouse have unstructured time to just relax and hang out together. If every minute of your time together is tightly scheduled and rushed, you’ll miss out on opportunities to be spontaneous. Look for fun things to do—a picnic in the park, a hike, trying a new restaurant, going out dancing, or going swimming.
  5. Keep your sex life active.
    Sometimes being sick or fatigued gets in the way of sexual desire, as does family stress like caring for an ill or aging parent. Certainly the energy and time required to raise children can leave parents drained and “on empty.” In spite of these challenges, it’s essential to make time for sex. The sobering reality is that most spouses are more vulnerable to flirtations and sexual advances from others when their sex life is unhappy at home.
  6. Discuss and resolve issues as they come up.
    Don’t just bury them or neglect trying to resolve them. Learn how to disagree without being disagreeable and causing long-term damage to your relationship. Above all—communicate, communicate, communicate. Keep the communication door wide open at all times.
  7. Talk about the problem of infidelity and know that it can strike any marriage.
    Bring the subject out into the open and express your feelings and deepest fears. Brainstorm with your spouse about how you can keep your marriage strong and what the two of you think would be helpful in preventing an affair from happening. Commit to telling your spouse if you feel vulnerable or if things start getting out of control in any situation.
  8. Share goals for the present and future that inspire you.
    When you and your spouse share common goals that you’re passionate about, you will feel closer to each other and more connected. It helps you to feel like a real team. The feeling of partnership is important in deepening commitment to each other. Whatever your mutual dream is, the passion you bring to pursuing it can draw you closer together.
  9. Make wise decisions about contact with the opposite sex at work and other settings.
    You may encounter special situations and temptations on business trips or at business parties or in your work setting. Talk frankly with your spouse and agree on what you both feel comfortable with. If your spouse is on a business trip and the group goes out dancing, will you be upset if your spouse participates? Plan ahead and head off potential problems.
  10. Know the danger signals.
    Many affairs have started with individuals sharing intimate personal information with each other on a regular basis while not confiding in their respective spouses. Intimacy can mushroom quickly when secrecy is involved and a feeling of connection develops. Other danger signals are having increased sexual excitement about seeing someone in particular, being in settings with lots of alcohol and drinking when your spouse isn’t present, and being more vulnerable than usual due to feelings of loneliness, rejection, or anger at your spouse.
  11. Celebrate your love, anniversaries, birthdays, and other special occasions. Value your marriage and take advantage of every opportunity to celebrate, such as your wedding anniversary, the date that you met, your spouse’s birthday, and any other special days that the two of you share. This helps to keep the romance alive and also to keep your connection strong. Celebrate your love, your time together, your plans for the future, and the priceless present moment.
  12. Support each other’s goals.
    Make a commitment to help your spouse be all that he or she is capable of being. Your marriage is only strengthened when each of you is happy and fulfilled with your life. It’s to your advantage to help your spouse reach goals that are important to him or her, even if they aren’t your particular goals. Be positive and encouraging of your spouse’s desires to live up to his or her potential. —By Nancy Wasson, Ph.D.
 
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Posted by on December 3, 2017 in Marriage

 

How you answer this question can change your marriage  


Imagine the following scenario. Your spouse has given you an important letter to mail and is counting on you to mail it on your way to work. But you slip up… You forget all about it until you’re on the way home. “Oh #$@!!” is your first reaction. You know the spouse will be upset.

You frantically search the car and your briefcase for the letter, but it’s gone. You can’t find it anywhere. Now what do you do? What will you tell your spouse when you get home and he (or she) asks you if you mailed the letter?

Will you say, “It got lost” or will you say, “I lost it”? Your answer to this question gives insight into your willingness to accept responsibility for your actions. According to Sidney J. Harris, “We have not passed that subtle line between childhood and adulthood until…we have stopped saying ‘It got lost,’ and say ‘I lost it.'”

As long as you avoid taking responsibility for your actions or you look for reasons to avoid admitting you goofed, you’re not being honest with yourself. When you accept responsibility and stop rationalizing and blaming, then you can start to focus on what you can do differently that will produce different results next time.

This is not easy to do. Especially if we’re in the habit of placing blame elsewhere. Accepting responsibility in a marriage takes courage, above all when a spouse is at fault.

Mark, a long­time procrastinator, always had a list of reasons why he hadn’t been able to get around to doing the house maintenance chores. It was too cold or too hot, he was too tired, or he didn’t have the right tools or enough time. He would always promise to do the chores another day. Mark’s behavior greatly irritated his wife Anne, and she began to resent his constant excuses.

It wasn’t until Anne expressed her dissatisfaction with their marriage, giving Mark’s habitual procrastination as one of the reasons, that Mark really looked closely at how his behavior was hurting his marriage relationship. In marriage counseling sessions, he learned to take responsibility for his part in what happened each day. He also learned to pay attention to the words he selected to describe what happened.

Mark learned that when he said, “There wasn’t enough time to fix the faucet,” he often really meant, “I didn’t schedule enough time to complete the job today.” And if he went a step further and was even more honest, he also meant, “I don’t really want to do this, so I’m putting it off.”

Once Mark was more aware of his behavior patterns, he was able to have an honest talk with Anne. He told her that while he didn’t mind doing some of the repair jobs, he really didn’t want to have to spend the time the others would require. They talked it over and decided to hire someone to do the repairs Mark knew he would in all probability never get around to doing. He made a resolution not to make promises unless he really planned to keep them. He also resolved to be honest with Anne upfront instead of dragging things out for months.

These changes made a major difference in Mark and Anne’s relationship. Anne didn’t feel like “the nagging wife” any longer, and Mark didn’t mislead her by making false promises. Less friction in the marriage allowed them to focus on each other’s good points and to enjoy more harmony in their relationship.

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2017 in Marriage

 

Trash Your Marriage in Eight Easy Steps


superman-jesus-2Probe’s Sue Bohlin offers a tongue-in-cheek look at eight ways to tear down one’s marriage, complete with eight opposite, biblical ways to build it back up.

The divorce rate is at an all-time high, and marriages are falling apart everywhere you look. Marriages of church-going people are crashing and burning especially fast. There are forces in our culture that contribute to marriage stresses such as pornography, the prevalence of drivenness, two-career families, and the dynamics of the blended family. But people also make foolish choices to destroy their marriages from within.

Talking about the family, Proverbs 14:1 says, “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.” 

Ephesians 5:28 exhorts husbands to love their wives as their own bodies, nourishing and cherishing them. God’s plan is that we treasure and cultivate our marriages, but it’s very easy to trash them instead. Let’s take a tongue-in-cheek look at eight ways that people trash their marriages.

Be Selfish

The first step is to be selfish. My minister once said that the AIDS of marriage is justified self-centeredness. Everything needs to revolve around you because, let’s face it, you are at the center of the universe, right? If you find something you like to do that ignores your spouses’ feelings and interests, go ahead and do it! Too bad if they don’t like it! You only go around once in life, so grab for all the gusto you can get!

Always insist on having things your own way. If you don’t get your own way, throw a tantrum. Or freeze your spouse out. Get your kids involved in this game by saying things like, “Would you please ask your mother/father to pass the salt?” Don’t be afraid to withhold sex if your spouse isn’t letting you have things your own way. There’s a lot of power in that, so don’t waste it!

If there’s only enough money in your budget for what one of you wants, make sure you get what you want. Especially if you’re the wage earner, or if you make more than the other. Money is power, and don’t be afraid to use it against your spouse!

Make demands instead of requests. Wives, let your husband know that he will do things your way, or you’ll make his life miserable.

Husbands, when you want your wife to do something, just tell her to do it. “Please” and “thank you” are for the kids. This is your spouse you’re talking about—they don’t need it. Save all your courtesy for strangers; don’t waste it on the person you said you’d spend the rest of your life with.

What we really mean to say: Selfishness is guaranteed to hurt marriages, so ask for God’s help in putting your husband or wife ahead of yourself so you don’t trash your marriage.

Pick at Each Other

The second step is to pick at each other. If you know that something you do annoys your spouse, be sure to do it often. And intentionally. When she complains about it, tell her to buzz off, it’s not as annoying as the stupid things she does to bug you. The more childish the annoying habit, the better.

Be critical of the smallest thing the other one says and does. Don’t let your spouse get away with anything! Stay vigilant for every little offense. Be sure to address these small details with an air of superiority . . . unless it works better for you to act like a martyr, as if you deserve the Nobel Prize for putting up with someone who doesn’t squeeze the toothpaste from the end.

Always get the last word when you’re arguing. Dr. Phil McGraw has said that the most accurate predictor of divorce is when people don’t allow their partners to retreat with dignity. So make your spouse feel whipped and defeated at the end of a fight. As long as you win, that’s what matters.

Let The Kids Be More Important

A third step to trashing your marriage is to let the kids become more important than your spouse. Moms, make your husband feel left out of the intimate, secret relationship between you and your baby. As the baby grows, continue to draw the line where it’s you and your child on one side, your husband on the other. Keep your Mommy hat on all day and all night. Your kids don’t care if your hair is brushed and if you put on perfume and a little makeup before Daddy comes home, so why should he?

Dads, invest all your energies into making your child succeed at what he’s good at, or what you want him to be good at. Squeeze out Mom so that you will be your kid’s favorite parent. Work so hard on homework and school projects that there’s no time for family time.

Let the kids and your other priorities crowd out your “alone together” time. Date nights are for unmarried people! In order to be fulfilled as a person, it is essential to invest all your energies in parenting, career, housework, church commitments and hobbies, so don’t worry if there isn’t enough time left over for the two of you. It’s no big deal. There’s always tomorrow. Or next year.

What we really mean to say: Hey! If you find yourself doing these things, stop! You don’t have to trash your marriage!

Show Disrespect

Show disrespect for your spouse, especially in public. One of the best ways to disrespect your partner is ugly name-calling, especially about things he or she can’t change. However, the old standbys of “stupid,” “fat,” “ugly,” “weak,” and “loser” are always effective, too.

Complain about your spouse to your friends. It’s even more powerful if you do it in front of your spouse. Then, if he objects, punch him in the arm and say, “I’m just kidding! You take everything so seriously!

There are a number of ways to show disrespect with nonverbal communication. Roll your eyes, cluck your tongue, narrow your eyes in contempt. The heavy sigh is a real winner, too.

Wives: Straighten out your husband when he makes a mistake, especially in front of others. Lecture him. Ridicule him: his feelings, his behavior, his dreams, his thoughts. Do everything you can to emasculate your husband. Husbands: Let your wife know you think your opinion is better than hers. Interrupt her when she’s speaking.

Refuse to Meet Emotional Needs

Another easy way to trash your marriage is to refuse to meet your spouse’s emotional needs. Men and women need different things from their life partners. Dr. Willard Harley discovered and examined a pattern in his excellent book His Needs, Her Needs. Husbands’ top needs, it turns out, are: first of all sexual fulfillment; second, recreational companionship; third, an attractive spouse; fourth, domestic support; and fifth, admiration.

Wives, if you want to trash your marriage, ignore his need for sex and that you be there for him in leisure time. Blow off his desire that you look your best and he can be proud that you’re his wife. Make your home as stressful and chaotic as you can, and never, ever tell him what you admire about him.

Wives’ top needs are: first of all affection; second conversations; third, honesty and openness; fourth, financial commitment; and fifth, family commitment. So guys, if you want to trash your marriage, don’t show your wife you love and appreciate her. Don’t talk to her. Close off your heart to her. Make her constantly worry about finances. Don’t be a faithful husband and father.

Dr. Harley’s got a Web site, MarriageBuilders.com, that has a lot of good, practical information for building strong marriages, so you’d better stay away from there if you’re not interested in being intentional and constructive!

Remember, we’re being tongue-in-cheek here. We want you to build your marriage, not trashit!

Treat Your Friends Better than Your Spouse

The sixth easy step to trashing your marriage is to treat your friends better than your spouse.Since a lot of men unfortunately don’t even have friends, this is something women tend to do more. Women know how to treat their girlfriends. They call them up just to encourage them. They drop off flowers for no reason. They send them cards, and they listen intently to whatever’s going on in their lives. They are emotionally invested in their friends. They are quick to mention when someone looks nice or does something well because women are usually good at affirming each other. If you want to trash your marriage, don’t do any of these thoughtful kindnesses for your husband. If your girlfriend is having a bad day, go out of your way to take her a wonderful casserole and fresh salad and dessert . . . but serve your husband Spaghetti-O’s.

But husbands, if your wife needs you for something at home, and your buddy scores some tickets to a game, tell your wife “too bad, so sad.” After all, she’ll be around forever but tonight’s hockey game won’t. If someone at church or in the neighborhood needs something fixed, drop everything to take care of it, even if it means that the broken things around yourhouse will continue to go unfixed.

Be a Pansy

Step number seven for trashing your marriage has two parts. Husbands, be a pansy. Retreat into the safety of passivity. Refuse to take initiative or responsibility in making plans or suggestions. That way, when things go wrong, you can say, “Don’t blame me! It’s not my fault!” These are great ways to trash your marriage.

Be His Mother

Wives, be a mother to your husband. When people ask how many children you have, say things like, “Two—three, if you count my husband.” Tell him to wear a coat when it’s cold and take an umbrella when it’s raining, because he can’t figure it out on his own. Be sure to say “I told you so” as often as possible.

If he is passive or irresponsible, jump in and rescue him so he won’t have to deal with the consequences of his own choices. Make sure he feels three years old. Tell him how to live his life, down to the smallest detail.

What we really mean to say: Please, if you find yourself doing these things, ask for God’s help in being constructive instead of destructive. We want to help you build your marriage, not trash it.

When You’re Angry, Blow Up

Let’s talk about one final way to trash your marriage. Yell and scream, or quietly say hurtful words; it doesn’t matter. Inflicting pain is the important thing. Call each other names in the heat of your emotion. Dredge up the past and bring up old hurts. You can hit or slap with words as well as with hands, and they each leave a different kind of lasting damage to your spouse and to your marriage. Losing control when you’re angry is a powerful way to hurt your spouse.

Build Your Marriage in Eight Harder Steps

Well, enough of ways to trash your marriage—how about eight steps to build it? All we have to do is look at the opposite of this article’s negative, destructive steps.

To build your marriage, fight selfishness by developing a servant’s heart. Commit yourself to acting in your spouse’s best interests. Do at least one unselfish deed for your husband or wife every day.

Second, instead of picking at each other, choose to let things go. Be grace-givers. Remember that “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8).

Third, be intentional in keeping your marriage at the center of your family. Have regular date nights, and schedule times away to invest in the intimacy of your relationship. 

Fourth, commit to actively be respectful to your spouse by never saying anything negative to other people. Be kind in your words and actions. Treat each other as courteously and with the kind of honor you would bestow on a stranger or a dear friend.

Fifth, talk about your spouse’s particular emotional needs. Read Willard Harley’s excellent book His Needs, Her Needs. Find out which ones are most important to your partner, and do everything in your power to meet them.

Sixth, treat your husband or wife at least as well as you treat your friends. Be as thoughtful and encouraging and affirming as you can possibly be.

Seventh: Ladies, resign as your husband’s mother. You married an adult; treat him with the respect an adult deserves. Men: Your wife needs a servant-leader—someone who refuses either passivity or tyranny—to love her as Christ loves the church.

And last, when you’re angry, express it wisely and constructively. Use words like “I’m angry about this” instead of yelling or hurtful silence. If you’re too mad to speak with self-control, wait till you cool down. And don’t go to bed without dealing with the situation (Eph. 4:26).

You don’t have to trash your marriage. You can treasure it instead.

 

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2017 in Marriage

 
 
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