"Virtually all couples, happy and unhappy, are going to argue,
particularly in the early stages of marriage. What tends to predict the
future of a relationship is not what you argue about, but when you do
argue, how you handle your negative emotions." (Howard Markman)
Does the above statement make sense to you? It makes more sense to us as
we continually research marriage compatibility. We used to think happily
married couples learned the secret of not arguing with each other --that
conflict was what destroyed good marriages. We now know that the problem
isn't that we disagree with each other but how constructively we're able
to work through it so the relationship stays in tact and loving. That
comes about because the couple acts in respectful ways even when
disagreeing--honoring the other persons feelings.
We came across an article in the Wall Street Journal titled, "The Key to
a Lasting Marriage." It says that "even happy couples aren't totally
compatible" --which seems like a surprising statement. But as we share
portions of this article, prayerfully consider what God says to you and
how you can apply it to your own marriage. The author, Hilary Stout writes:
"A growing body of research suggests there's no such thing as a compatible
couple. This may come as no surprise to all those who have endured years
of thermostat wars, objectionable spending habits and maddening tendencies
at the wheel. But it flies in the face of Hollywood, most people's fantasies, and dating web sites selling scientific screening to find a perfect match. Years of relationship studies make it clear that most couples, whether they're happy or not, have a similar number of irreconcilable differences. What's more, all couples --happy or not --tend to argue about the same things. Top of the list, whether rich or poor, is money. Other topics include household chores, work obligations, kids & differing priorities.
"'Compatibility is misunderstood and overrated,' says Ted Huston, a
professor of psychology and human ecology. Mr. Huston and his colleagues
have been following 168 couples since they married during the 1980s. This
study and others like it make it clear that most dangerous disagreements
that arise in marriage --69% of them, are never resolved. The result has
been a gradual shift in marriage therapy, toward helping spouses manage,
accept, and even honor their discord, rather than trying to resolve the
un-resolvable. One national couples-counseling program suggests spouses
schedule a regular weekly date to argue. Others now offer instruction in
arguing. Some encourage couples to single out problems that can be dealt
with and accept that most (like how tidy the house should be) will never
"Of course some conflicts do matter deeply --he wants children and she
doesn't, to name a big one; alcoholism and infidelity, to name a couple
more. Differing religions and cultural attitudes also are problematic,
especially after the couple has children, says Scott Stanley, co-director
of the Center for Martial and Family Studies at the University of Denver.
He and co-director Howard Markman have done extensive studies tracking
couples from courtship through years of marriage. But the bottom line,
Markman says, is that 'virtually all couples, happy and unhappy, are going
to argue. What tends to predict the future of a relationship is not what
you argue about, but when you do argue, how you handle your negative
emotions.' This has led some in the profession to develop rules that can
make arguing less destructive:
- "Don't escalate an argument by blurting out generalizations" 'You
always...' Stay on a specific subject. Don't drag past events, behavior
and lingering grudges into the discussion.
- "Try not to interrupt --let your spouse finishing making a point before
you jump in.
- "Take a little time to cool down after a heated argument. But within an
hour, having a 'reconcillatory conversation,' which will result in a
more level-headed, productive discussion.
The article then tells of an experiment conducted by Dr. John Gottman's
Relationship Lab. They videoed couples arguing and monitored their heart
rates. Research has shown if your heart exceeds 100 beats per minute you
usually won't be able to rationally listen to what your spouse is trying
to tell you no matter how hard they try. Taking a 20-30 minute break
before continuing is suggested. When their heart rate rose above 100 the
researchers interrupted and said (falsely) that their equipment was
malfunctioning. [In the experiment]… "They asked couples to stop and read
a magazine until it was fixed. Once both people's heart rate had dropped
down to normal range, after about a half-hour, the researchers announced
the equipment was fixed and the couples started up their disagreement
again. The change after the interlude was marked. 'It was like it was a
different relationship,' Gottman says. Everyone was 'much more rational
"While airing differences is important, make sure to set aside some time
where discussing areas of discord is off-limits, Mr. Stanley and Mr.
Markman say. A walk by the river on a beautiful autumn day isn't the time
to bring up problems; it's a time to enjoy each other and remember what
attracted you to each other in the first place. Instead set aside a time
to talk about the things that are bothering you. Like many married
couples, Jim and Kathryn have a Saturday 'date' built into their weekly
schedules. The purpose isn't to catch a movie or dinner. Essentially, it
is to argue. On the recommendation of Mr. Stanley, the couple started
going out every Saturday morning to discuss problems and issues. At first
it felt a little awkward. Once they settled into the routine, it proved helpful.
"Before, discord could erupt at any moment and tempers would flare. Now,
knowing they have a set time to discuss difficult issues is comforting and
leaves them the rest of the week to relax. In fact, they rarely argue
during sessions anymore. They simply work through issues.
"RULES OF ENGAGEMENT: The following are some tips for fighting effectively
with your spouse:
- "Stay focused on the subject of disagreement ...Don't generalize (as in 'You always do___')
- "Don't bring up past events and old grudges ...Don't interrupt ...Don't use insults
- "Don't use inflammatory language, like 'This marriage is doomed.'
- "Don't stonewall [blocking the argument from allowing both sides to be
- "Try to say 'I' (as in 'I think) rather than the more inflammatory 'You'
(as in 'You don't')"
All of this comes down to being respectful of one another --even in your
anger. In Ephesians 4:26-27, the Bible says, "In your anger do not sin. Do
not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil a foot-
hold." The Life Application Bible explanation for these verses reads “The
Bible doesn’t tell us that we shouldn’t feel angry. It is important to
handle our anger properly. If vented thoughtlessly, anger can hurt others
and destroy relationships. If bottled up inside, it can cause us to become
bitter and destroy us from within. Paul tells us to deal with our anger in
a way that builds relationships rather than destroys them. If we nurse our
anger, we give Satan an opportunity to divide us.”
So the challenge isn’t to eliminate conflict but to find ways to deal with
it so we resolve it in ways that honors each other and honors God.
“We live by encouragement and die without it—slowly, sadly, angrily.”
(Celeste Holm) “The lack of encouragement is almost epidemic today. It’s
the reason people dread going to work in the morning. It’s why kids can’t
wait to get out of school — and why some people can’t wait to get out of
a marriage. What is it that enables us to give our mates this crucial
encouragement? Grace—it’s the lubricant that lessens the friction in
marriage and keeps the gears of the relationship running smoothly.”
(Dr Charles Swindoll) Cindy and I (Steve) firmly believe that what Chuck
Swindoll says about encouragement being “the oil that lubricates our soul”
is so true and necessary to apply in marriage. One of my (Steve’s)
prominent spiritual gifts is being an encourager. Because encouraging
others comes easy for me, it’s hard to imagine that there are so many
spouses (maybe even you) who never hear an encouraging word from their
mate. But where does the ability to encourage come from? Pastor, author,
and speaker, Chuck Swindoll, believes it is linked to grace (showing
favor to someone even if they don’t deserve it). And Chuck’s premise
is that if we understand our Biblical roles as husbands and wives, we
will begin to see that through the grace of God we all have the power
to be an encourager in our marriages. The problem we have, is that the
“roles” that husband and wives play in marriage have been blurred in
recent times. Although that can be a bad thing — when the new “role”
that is being lived out is in conflict with what God’s Word says. But
it can be a good thing when one partner has dominated over the other
in an un-Biblical way but now is backing away from that approach.
This Marriage Message is not going to give you a list of roles for
Godly husbands and Godly wives. Rather we’re going to touch upon a
few points where you might give grace (unmerited favor) and encouragement
to your spouse. One point we’d like to touch upon is where the Bible
tells the man he is responsible for is the spiritual leadership of the
home. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and
gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing
with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant
church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and
blameless.” (Ephesians 5:25-27) When you wash your wife with the water
of the Word, just make sure you don’t drown her with it by pushing
her face into it to such an extent that instead of being drawn to it
she runs away from it because you overwhelm her with your power. Give
her grace and encourage her by letting her see you living the water of
the Word out in your life to such an extent that she wants to drink of
it also — much as what the woman at the well experienced by the way
Jesus approached her. And wives: give your husband grace in learning
how to be the spiritual leader. “I think a wife needs to understand
that it may take years for a man to grow spiritually so that he can
lead his wife in this area. I would guess that most men did not have
a good model of spiritual leadership in their homes as they grew up.
Barbara and I have prayed regularly as a couple for our entire marriage.
But it has only been in the last few years that we have had morning
devotions with the kids before they headed off to school. In the past,
we would have devotions, but with a young family and an incredible
diversity of age span and needs, it was sporadic. And it was a challenge!”
(Dennis Rainey, from the article posted on the Family Life Web site
Familylife.com, titled, “A Husband’s Spiritual Leadership”)
One thing that could help with this could be the list of “25 Ways
to Spiritually Lead Your Wife” which is posted on the Family Life
Today web site at Familylife.com. Three of the 25 — which we will
add comments to with [brackets] around them are:
1. Pray daily with her. [A good thing would be to pray WITH her and FOR her.]
2. Discover her top 3 needs and over the next 12 months go all out to meet them.
3. Protect your family from evil [and that includes any evil that you
might say to them if you abuse them with unkind and unwholesome words].
And then there is the part of the Bible that tells women: “A wife of noble
character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband
has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him
good, not harm, all the days of her life.” (Proverbs 31:10-12)
Wives: are you acting as a wife of noble character bringing your husband
good and not nagging him so much that he can’t hear the Lord speaking to
The Bible tells the wife to “submit to the husband as unto the Lord.” This
doesn’t mean she is to be a weak, un-opinionated woman. But read what
Cynthia Heald says about it. She said, “Submission is ducking low enough
to let God fix your husband.” Can you do that? If so, you’re fulfilling
a distinct role as a Godly wife. God is your husband’s Holy Spirit—not
you. “Ephesians 5:33 commands, “The wife must respect her husband.” There
are times when that is a hard job; you may not feel that your husband is
worthy of respect. However, you are still commanded to respect him.
Even if there are many things that he has done wrong, you can find
something to respect. Try to remember what you respected about him when
you were dating. Does he work hard to financially support the family?
Does he play ball with your child? He may not be doing all that you
wish he were doing, but you have to focus positively on the things
that he is doing. Verbalize to him your appreciation. When you affirm
him and let him know that you value his work, it will be easier for
him to continue to lead lovingly.” (Barbara Rainey, from the article,
“A Wife’s Job Description” posted on the Familylife.com web site)
And husbands: are you listening to your wife as the help-mate God
assigned her to be for you in marriage? When you do that, she doesn’t
feel as desperate to “nag.”
Read what author Gary Thomas said about his wife (which hopefully may
inspire you to do the same. He wrote: “I refer to my wife as my “God
thermometer.” If I wake up and discover that I am not moved by the
miracle of her life and love for me; if I am not cherishing her and
honoring her, I look up and do a heart check with God. The fact is,
God knows my wife far better than I do, and He cherishes her. The
closer I grow to Him and the more time I spend communing with Him,
the more He will share with me His heart for my wife. I’ve come to
learn that the state of my marriage has as much to say about my
relationship with God as it does about my relationship with my wife.
(From the article, The Transforming Miracle of Marriage, as posted
on ncfliving.org) This week we exhort you to begin to encourage
your spouse. Don’t wait for him or her to do it first. You start…
even if he or she doesn’t “deserve” to be encouraged! By doing so
you are exercising what God’s word tells us to do.
Steve and Cindy Wright
If we think of the common problems that can break apart our marriages as
“illnesses” we may be more inclined to seek treatment and healing than
separation or divorce. In last weeks Marriage Message we focused on the
issues of how our moods and putting the “ME” ahead of the “WE” in marriage
can tear us apart.
We want to share four common “illnesses” (or problem areas) that can
infect even the healthiest of marriages. If they go undiagnosed or
untreated they can lead to the “death” of a marriage. This shortened
version comes from pastor/counselor, Wayne Coggins in the book, Lovers for
Life published by Christian Publications. (This book has many great
contributing authors, which Pastor Coggins is one of them.) He writes:
1. Marital Anemia. I’m convinced that more marriages are in danger of
anemia (tired blood) than of getting blasted apart by a surprise affair
or deception. Drifting apart a little each day can leave a couple
vulnerable to all kinds of problems. For a marriage to stay fresh and
vibrant it needs frequent doses of fun and re-creation [notice how
Coggins changed the word, "recreation"].
I am not advocating being irresponsible, but I am saying that all
responsibility with no breaks for fun is a sure ticket to burnout and
boredom. I often ask couples whose responsibility it is to make the time
available for investing in their marriages. God’s? Should we expect God to
give us an extra day of the week right after Sunday and call it Funday?
While that may be a nice fantasy, the truth is that if we value our
marriage relationships, we must take the time to keep them alive and
[Cindy and I (Steve) have found this to be important in our marriage. And
it doesn't take a lot of money to make it work. With careful planning and
a little creativity you can do just about anything that interests the both
of you to accomplish the RE-creation of energy in your marriage.]
2. Presumption. While attending a Marriage Encounter Weekend back in the
1970′s, I learned that most relationships go through 3 stages. The
first is ROMANCE, that time we’re so enamored with our newly discovered
love that talking for hours is done genuinely and joyfully. I sometimes
jokingly share that romance is the anesthetic that enables two normally
very cautious people to cast fate to the wind and commit marriage.
The second relational stage is DISILLUSIONMENT. This is the time when we
discover the packages we thought we got when we married our sweethearts
aren’t exactly what we had expected. It is when we become inescapably
aware of the painful truth that in order for there to be disillusionment,
there must have been an illusion.
That girl who was so witty and funny and always had the right thing to say
turns out not to have an “off button” on her vocal chords! And that guy
who didn’t always have a lot to say, but what he did say was “deep,” turns
out to be the strong, silent type who doesn’t know how to communicate at
all in matters of the heart.
The third stage presents a fork in the road with one direction marked
ACCEPTANCE and the other REJECTION. It’s during this stage that the
“rubber meets the road,” so to speak, and the real work of keeping a
marriage healthy and growing is done or evaded. This is where presumption
does its deadly deed by presuming that “it will all work out somehow.”
You see, “it”, or the marriage, doesn’t do the work of communicating when
you’re weary of forgiving each other. It’s YOU, the partners in marriage,
who do that work. It’s you whom makes the value judgment that the
imperfect person you married is indeed the most valuable treasure in your
life, in spite of those imperfections.
3. Heart Problems. While there are many variations of this condition,
probably none are as threatening as unforgiveness and bitterness. If
allowed to remain in marriage, they can clog marital arteries quicker
than cheeseburgers and French fries can clog your natural ones. They
will cut off the life-giving love and communication that are necessary
for the health and growth of the relationship.
May I suggest a simple procedure that can fix this problem? Try reaching
over to your loved one and taking his or her hand in yours. Then, simply
pray for one another, asking God to help each of you to forgive the other
for the hurts that have occurred in your relationship.
You see, I believe that if God asks us to do something, He is faithful to
provide the ability to do so. In Ephesians 4:32 we are told to be “kind to
one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God for Christ’s
sake hath forgiven you.” (KJV) If it feels like the walls of bitterness
are too high and trust too shattered to glue back together, believe me --
no, believe God —forgiveness is the miracle cure that can make healing
4. Secret-Life Syndrome. This occurs when a secret part of our lives is
allowed to grow until it suddenly springs into view. While this malady
has been around since Adam and Eve tried to hide their secret life and
sin from God, in recent years a strain has been at work through the
unlikely agent of the computer.
The addictive nature of Internet pornography and on-line chat rooms is
taking a huge toll on marriages. It is such a shame-saturated problem in
people’s lives that it often grows hidden and undetected until it has done
severe damage to a marriage.
The real heart-cry that I hear from couples is for true intimacy and that
wonderful feeling of connectedness that a healthy marriage can bring. That
which can be found in chat-room affairs or cyber fantasies is NOT the real
deal. Real love can’t be found in one-night stands or a secret life apart
from your spouse.
[Cindy and I have personally seen the destruction this can cause in
marriages. If you'd like to find some resources and help in this area go
to our web site and see what we make available on this subject.]
If you feel there are one or more “illnesses” in your marriage that need
healing or maybe even that your marriage is close to “death”, Pastor
Coggins has this encouragement:
“The Lord, who is the Great Physician, can and does heal and restore
marriages in need of a miracle moment of healing. He is also more than
willing to share His rich wisdom with us on this subject so that we can
build healthy marriages right out of the chute. The fact is that He wrote
the Book on it, and His office is never closed.”
We pray this has been helpful. It’s a great reminder to all of us—because
we all experience those types of “illnesses” in our marriages and need a
touch from the Great Physician to bring healing.
Our prayers are with you. God Bless! - Steve and Cindy Wright
"A happy marriage is the union of two forgivers." Is your marriage a happy one?
We all want others to completely forgive us but when the tables are turned (and we're the one who is asked to forgive), too often we're not as gracious --at least not without our wish for them to "suffer" first for it, somehow.
A small book titled, "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff in Love," written by Richard and Kristine Carlson (Hyperion Publishers), touches on this issue. Prayerfully consider what the Carlson's point out:
"Sadly, many people find it difficult to apologize. Over the years, the two of us have heard a number of very wise people speculate that one of the reasons this might be true because, when we do apologize, it's often accepted in less than a graceful manner.
"When this is the case, it takes some motivation away to continue apologizing, even when appropriate. This is a shame because most happy couples will insist that both offering and receiving apologies are integral parts of a loving and growing relationship.
"I overheard what I thought was an excellent example of this problem while I was sitting at a coffee shop. With tears in her eyes, a woman was sharing with her husband that she was sorry that her work had become consuming. Apparently, she had been traveling a great deal and was spending lots of time away from him and their children. I
gathered that this was taking a toll on the family as well as their relationship.
"Obviously, I don't know all the facts, and they certainly aren't any of my business. However, regardless of the specifics, one thing was perfectly clear. His inability to soften and open his heart in response to her genuine and heartfelt apology was guaranteeing an escalation of any problems they were already having. Rather than hug
her, hold her hand, or even reassure his wife, he gave her a disapproving look that seemed to make her heart sink.
"While I have no way of knowing for sure, it appeared as though he was trying to make her feel even guiltier than she already felt. Like everyone who offers an apology, this woman was opening the door to loving communication, a possible compromise, or perhaps even a solution. In order for an apology to be effective, however, both
parties must do their part.
"In this instance, the woman's husband wasn't willing to do so. Consequently, he was missing an opportunity to strengthen their relationship. He was increasing the likelihood that she would become less apologetic in the future, and that she might even begin to see him as the problem.
"When apologies aren't accepted, bitterness and resentment often creep into the picture. Granted, most of us will probably not be quite as visibly ungraceful in our acceptance of an apology. However, we might push our partner away in other, more subtle ways. We might, for instance, mumble under our breath, sigh, make a condescending comment such as 'it's about time,' or in some other way minimize
or fail to fully accept the apology.
"We've found that, in most instances, an apology is an excellent opportunity to deepen our love and our partnership. It's an ideal time to make a genuine effort to listen deeply and respectfully.
It's a time to experience empathy and gratitude for the fact that our partner is willing to apologize, which is something, not everyone is able to do.
"Further, when we accept an apology, it makes it far more likely that our partner will do the same for us when it's our turn to apologize.
"The next time your spouse (or anyone else) offers an apology, see if you can really take it to heart. Soften your edges and open your heart. You may find that, despite whatever the apology is about, your relationship will be able to enter a new, even more rewarding, phase."
If taken seriously, these thoughts from the Carlson's can bring
healing into our marriages. May we give grace whenever possible to
help us "return to emotional closeness!" Counselor, Pamela Lipe, put
it this way, "When you're in the position of accepting an apology,
give yourself a 'Mental Pause' to decide the best course of action
for you, your spouse, your situation, and the particular wrongdoing.
Keep in mind in the long-term consequences to the relationship. Your
goal is to return to emotional closeness."
We're told in Romans 12:18, "If it is possible, as far as it depends
on you, live at peace with everyone" (which includes your spouse).
In Colossians 3:13, Paul encourages us to "Bear with each other and
forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive
as the Lord forgives you." Also, whenever you can, accept apologies
BUT we can't close this message without touching on the point
that sometimes we don't ACCEPT apologies as we should, but also,
sometimes we don't GIVE apologies that are acceptable. Kevin B.
Bullard makes a great point to consider in the following short
article, titled, "Half Baked Apologies are Offensive" (posted on
"When we offend our spouse by our words, actions, or attitude; it's
common to want to take the easy way out of offering a simple, 'Sorry'
or "I apologize. However, just saying these words without proper
context is just as hurtful as our first offense. It's much more
effective and meaningful if we extend the 'apology' by admitting
our wrong, acknowledging our spouse's hurt, intending not to do
it again, and asking for forgiveness. Doing this becomes easier
when we recognize we hurt our spouse, and suppress our pride to
"Here's the full apology: 'I'm sorry for (the offense). I know it
(the effect it had on your spouse). I was wrong. I intend not to
do it again. Will you forgive me?'
"Example: 'Cetelia, I'm sorry for embarrassing you in front of our
guests. I know it hurt your esteem. I was wrong. I intend not to
do it again. Will you forgive me?
"While these words may be difficult to utter, they can make a
world of difference when offered with a sincere heart."
It's important to consider what G. K. Chesterton wrote, "A stiff
apology is a second insult... The injured party does not want to
be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed
because he has been hurt."
We encourage you to gracefully give and also accept apologies, as
the Lord would have you. We realize that you can't MAKE your spouse
do what he or she should. But you can put intentionality into
being dispensers of grace and forgiveness "as far as it depends
upon you" --especially in your marriage (a model of Christ's love
for the church). Pray about it and see how GOD leads.
Cindy and Steve Wright
"Marriage was designed by God to honor Him. Our union and our loving one
another, is a statement to the next generation of what love looks like and
what two people who keep their promise to one another looks like. We have
a generation of young people today who desperately need to look into the
eyes of their mom and dad and see them loving one another, committed to
one another, and honoring God in their relationship. And you do that one
step at a time, one day at a time over a lifetime. That's what covenant-
keeping love looks like in a marriage relationship." - Dennis Rainey
This is the picture God wants every Christian couple to model for their
children. And, while we all start out with the "best of intentions" to
have our marriages reflect that picture of a God-centered relationship to
our children, things can and will "happen" that can distort or ruin that picture.
This week we're going to share some comments from author and marriage
counselor, Dr. Gary Chapman, as he talks about a common problem in
marriage that all of us who are parents (especially of very young
children) need to be aware of because if you follow his advice and counsel
it could save your marriage. (While we don't know the origination of the
source, we do know it comes from Dr. Chapman.) He writes:
"For over 30 years, I have been sitting in the counseling office listening
to couples pour out their pain. For me, nothing has been sadder than those
couples that haven't focused on parenting their children while neglecting
their marriages. They were deluded into thinking that the best thing they
could do was to seek to meet the children's needs. Yet, they failed to
recognize that when they didn't meet each other's needs, they were setting
the worst examples for their children.
"My wife and I learned early on that we had to focus on each other if we
were to become good parents. We had serious struggles in the early years
of our marriage, before the children came. When they arrived, we knew that
we couldn't let them come between us. We love our children devotedly, but
more than anything, we wanted to have the kind of marriage that would
serve as an example for them. I remember how hard we worked to get the
children to bed early so we could have time together.
"Karolyn chose to be a 'stay-at-home-mom,' and we agreed to live on less
so we could have time for marriage and parenting. I'm not suggesting it
was easy. I am saying that we have no regrets. The children are now gone,
and we are still together - loving, learning, and growing.
"I'm convinced that one of the best things any of us can do for our
children is to provide them a strong marital model. Children need to know
that their parents love not only them, but also each other. The child's
sense of security grows as he/she sees parents loving each other. To put
your marriage on hold for 18 or more years while you raise the children is
not only detrimental to the marriage, it is devastating to the children.
"We must learn to 'childproof' our marriages during those parenting years,
or we will soon learn that the marriage withers and dies. When the
parental team breaks down and begins to disintegrate, the children become
the biggest losers. They lose their family unit, which is where they build
their sense of security. When children don't feel secure, their whole
world seems to unravel. No amount of baseball, piano lessons, or toys can
make up for that kind of loss.
"As a matter of fact, recent research has shown that when the family unit
falls apart, so do the children. Children from broken homes show a higher
-- Academic problems
-- Dropping out of school
-- Teen pregnancy
-- Alcohol and drug use/abuse
-- Running away
-- Emotional and behavioral problems
-- Poverty as an adult
"And that's just to name a few. So, if you're thinking that you're doing
the best for your child when you put your spouse behind them in priority
and your children as number one, you're sorely mistaken. Although children
obviously require our time and attention (and money, too), they do not
require ALL our time or attention (or money).
"If we hope to influence the next generation, we must experience a change
of focus. Of course we're interested in protecting our children from all
those things I just listed, and the best way to do that is to help
marriages stay together."
Are you modeling a good marriage for your children to observe and emulate?
While you can't control your spouse's actions, you do control yours. Is
the way in which you are relating to your spouse distracting your children
and others from seeing Christ? Are you revealing and reflecting the love
of Christ in the way you talk and through your actions?
Please know that, "the marriage relationship is one man and one woman in a
unique lifetime covenant commitment where they glorify God, enjoy the
companionship that is provided by marriage, and raise godly offspring -
that's God's intent and purpose for marriage. I want to emphasize that
your children first see how to love by watching you and your spouse relate
to one another - that's part of your legacy." (Dennis Rainey)
That's something to think and pray about this week. Are you modeling a
good marriage for your children to observe and emulate?
God Bless! Cindy and Steve Wright
"You're not responsible for what happened to you in the past, but you
ARE responsible for what you do with your life now. Do you have the
courage to be who you were meant to be?" -Cathryn L Taylor
When we marry we bring all of the experiences of our past with us --
both positive and negative. These experiences have shaped so much how
we view things and how we conduct ourselves in situations. While we
can't change the past, we do have the power to change the present and
future. That's what we learn from Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg's book,
"Healing the Hurt in Your Marriage" (Tyndale House Publishers). On
this particular issue they wrote:
"For years now Barb and I (Gary) have heard a litany of complaints
from husbands and wives who came into their marriages negatively
influenced by our culture and their families of origin.
"Speaking of their marriages and hurts, they say things like: 'I just
don't know how to do this right'; 'I grew up in a dysfunctional home,
so I don't know what normal is'; 'No one ever taught me how to deal
with conflicts'; My parents' example is so ingrained in me, I'll never
be able to change.'
"You may feel the same hopelessness, the same inability to change.
You may feel destined to live out the same ineffective patterns in
your own marriage. But that's like giving up on a garden because the
soil is too hard or too rocky or infested with weeds. Have you ever
heard of a pick, shovel, hoe, soil amendments, and a little hard work?
"In the same way you can change the condition of soil you can unlearn
bad patterns of dealing with conflict and learn new ones. It's never
too late to learn and implement the biblical principles for forgiving
"It is our God-given responsibility to cultivate good soil in our
marriage relationships so that our children and grandchildren will
have a biblical pattern to follow in their marriages.
"The psalmist wrote: "For [God] issued his decree to Jacob; He gave
his law to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their
children, so the next generation might know them--even the children
not yet born --that in turn might teach their children. So each
generation can set its hope anew on God, remembering his glorious
miracles and obeying his commands." (Psalm 78:5-7)
"As you divorce-proof your marriage through forgiving love, you will
help your children to divorce-proof their marriages.
"So what are you doing to alter patterns you learned? How are you
making your marriage different from that of your parents? How can
you bequeath to your children a family legacy that is more biblical
and positive than that of your family of origin?
"You can look at this responsibility two ways. You can think of it
as a tremendous burden and a lot of hard work. Or you can welcome
it as an opportunity to pass on to your children something that was
not passed on to you. Even if you didn't grow up in a healthy home,
you can commit yourself to developing healthy patterns for resolving
"The family you came from is important, but it's not as important
as the family you'll leave behind. Identify from your family of
origin the barriers to communication and healthy conflict resolution.
Gain the insights you can from the past, deal with the emotional
pain of it, and then move on to developing new patterns that include
confession and forgiveness of offenses and healing of hurts.
"As you leave behind the past to create a more positive present,
you'll bless the next generation. One way or another, you will leave
your handprints all over the personalities and hearts of your
children. Will you leave behind a generation that will reach the
world for Christ, or will you give up at the daunting task and let
them go their own way?
"What are you doing to give your children the spiritual training
and skills they will need for their lives and marriages? What kind
of godly heritage are you leaving them? The key is found in
establishing a home that honors God, a home where each individual
is encouraged to develop a relationship with Jesus, a home where
people make mistakes and fail each other but recognize they have
the power, through God, to be transformed.
"Conflict in marriage is inevitable, but you don't have to remain
trapped in the dysfunctional patterns of resolving conflict you
learned from your parents or the world around you."
Cindy and I believe that each of us, as couples, have the respon-
sibility to break free from whatever negative patterns we brought
into our marriage. Even if we've been married 39+ years it's not
too late to change. After all isn't that what Jesus specializes
in --making us into new creations?
Yes, but we must cooperate with the process because He won't force
it on us --we're given a free will. If we pro-actively seek and
participate, the positive changes are nothing less than amazing!
If your marriage is going in an unhealthy direction right now,
that's what we encourage you to do --work with God in doing
whatever you can to re-direct it in a good direction. Your
children deserve to have a healthy, God-honoring marriage modeled
for them. Please don't buy into the lie that you'll "never be
able to change" or that once things are bad, they can't get better.
That's just not true.
Even if you never had a good marriage modeled for you, that doesn't
mean that you can't do what it takes, in working with God, to
eventually live within and model a good marriage for your children
and those God brings your way.
Go with God, knowing that He is "...able to do immeasurably more
than we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work
within us." (Ephesians 3:20)
Be Completely humble and gentle be patient bearing with one another- Ephesians 4:2
Love works. It is lifes most powerful motivator and has far greater depth and meaning than most people realize. It always does what is best for others and can empower us to face the greatest of problems. We are born with a lifelong thirst for love.
our hearts desperately need it like our lungs need oxygen.
Love changes our motivation for living. Relationships become meaningful with it. No marriage is succesful without it.
Love is built on two pillars thatbest define what it is.Those pillars are patience and kindness. All other characteristics of love are extentions of these two attributes.
In the book "I Married Wonder Woman... Now What?: A Superhero's Guide for Leading and Loving the 'Proverbs 31 Wife'" Author Jess MacCallum challenges men to lead and love their strong, capable, Proverbs 31 wives. The following are his top picks for the three words women want to hear the most.
I Love You is the most important. She can never hear those words often enough from you. She needs your reassurance (of your love for her) all day long.
Next, she wants to hear the following.
1. You Were Right
2. I Was Wrong
3. I am Sorry
4. Let's Eat Out
5. You Look Thinner
6. I'll Clean Up
7. Let's Just Cuddle
8. Can I Vacuum?
9. Your Mother's Welcome
10. Which Chore First?
11. Take Your Time
12. Buy Them Both
Despite the picture-perfect impressions we get from upbeat Facebook
posts or boastful holiday letters, even the healthiest marriages aren't
100% free of conflict. At some point, virtually everyone feels wronged
by a romantic partner. Bob Navarra, PsyD, a Licensed Marriage and Family
Therapist (LMFT), says that those feelings aren't what throw a marriage
off course-it's how couples handle them. "While it may be frustrating
that the toothpaste cap was left off, happy couples talk about these
small things," he says. But when those emotions are swept under the rug,
a more toxic variety of negativity begins to fester: resentment. Here,
marriage experts share some of the most common reasons husbands resent
their wives and how to protect your relationship.
1. Not fighting fair.
Happy couples don't necessarily fight less, Dr. Navarra says; they just
fight better, by "describing their own feelings and needs rather than
labeling their partner as faulty." And the ball is probably in your
court for that. Research shows that wives are more likely to bring up
problems for discussion, while husbands are more likely to withdraw at
the first sign of an argument. When this keeps happening, women tend to
start conversations on a negative note, which only makes things worse.
Instead of resorting to personal attacks-"You're such a slob!" "We're
going to be late because of you!"-which lead to defensiveness, Dr.
Navarra recommends sticking to "I-statements," such as "When (this
happens), I feel (frustrated, angry). What I needed was..."
2. Treating him like a child.
"A big issue I see in couples is a man resenting his partner because he
feels she talks down to him," says Mary Kelleher, LMFT. This can leave
him feeling "less-than," and nothing triggers resentment faster than
inadequacy. So avoid threatening his independence-the way pressuring him
to go for a promotion so he'll bring home more money may be
perceived-suggests couples therapist Vagdevi Meunier, PsyD. "No one
wants to feel 'managed' by a spouse," Dr. Meunier says
3. Involving other people in your marriage.
What you might think of as harmless complaining to friends and family
can actually break your husband's trust. It threatens the safety of the
"couple bubble" you've created together. "Men find this humiliating and
hurtful," says Norene Gonsiewski, Licensed Clinical Social Worker
(LCSW), a couples' therapist at the Portland Relationship Center in
Oregon. If you really need to vent, consider talking to a doctor or
therapist to keep things confidential.
4. Not showing appreciation for thing he does right.
"Men will never ask for it," Gonsiewski says, but regular doses of
praise are important. "They need to hear that their wives are proud of
them." Scott Haltzman, MD, author of The Secrets of Happily Married
Women, notes that men tend to be more action-oriented than women, which
means they show affection in different ways. "He may empty the
dishwasher as a way of saying he cares about you." Haltzman's
suggestion: "Pay attention to what he does, and let him know you
5. Withholding sex as punishment.
While women generally need emotional intimacy to make love, men express
emotional intimacy through sex, says Marla Taviano, author of Is that
All He Thinks About? When a wife turns down sex, in her husband's mind,
"she's turning him down as a person," explains Taviano. Using sex as a
bargaining chip to get your needs meet isn't negotiating-it's emotional
blackmail, which can alienate him. "Withholding sex may make your
partner feel less love from you and give you less love in return," says
6. Trying to change him.
"Every person can change, but it's better to focus on our own changes,
rather than our spouse's behaviors," says Anne Ziff, LMFT, author of
Marrying Well. And yet, some women see marriage as a starting point for
a "husband makeover." This isn't all bad-studies show that married men
tend to eat healthier and have fewer problems with drugs and alcohol
than single guys-but avoid creating a relationship in which your husband
can't be himself. "When a man feels his home is not his castle, and he
can't just be a guy-whether it's walking around in his boxers or letting
out a burp-he'll feel like he's been put in a box where he has to act
prim and proper all the time," Dr. Meunier says. Sometimes, it's smarter
to let the little things slide.
7. Making important decisions without his input.
Research shows that money is a top source of disagreements among married
couples, even those with bigger budgets. In a lot of ways, money equals
power, and balancing power is important to harmonious relationships,
Meunier says. Whether you're considering booking a vacation or buying a
dishwasher, your partner deserves a say. The same goes for decisions
that affect how you and your husband spend your time, such as inviting
company over for dinner or signing up your kids for soccer. Although it
may seem simpler to beg for forgiveness instead of getting him on board,
unilateral decision making can drive you two apart.
8. Not giving him the chance to be the kind of dad he wants to be.
Mothers often parent differently than fathers, but not necessarily
better. For instance, some studies show that parenting styles more
common with dads, such as rough-and-tumble play, offer children unique
developmental benefits. "Men's resentment grows as their children
develop with gaps in their competency and independence, two attributes
men rate highly," Gonsiewski says. "When a woman doesn't trust her
husband to parent she sends a message that he's wrong and only she's
right." Instead, "reinforce your husband for the positive contributions
he makes to your children's lives," Dr. Haltzman recommends.
9. Acting jealous when he looks at other women.
Men are visual creatures, Dr. Meunier says, so it's not surprising that
a typical heterosexual man would notice a good-looking woman. "Women who
understand this and don't take it personally minimize unproductive
fights about jealousy." When a wife overreacts to a situation, her
husband will likely feel defensive, and eventually, resentful. Dr.
Meunier's advice? "Chill out." Responding to a visual cue isn't cause
for worry, she says-curious comments or behaviors, like dropping your
hand to head across the room to talk to another woman, could signify a
lack of commitment to you.
10. Expecting immediate forgiveness after you apologize.
Studies show that seeking and granting forgiveness greatly contributes
to marital satisfaction and longevity. But beware of empty words. While
apologizing manages conflict, Dr. Navarra says a simple "I'm sorry"
often isn't enough. To truly earn her husband's forgiveness, a wife
needs to show that she understands why her husband is upset. Dr.
Haltzman recommends being specific about what you're apologizing for,
accepting responsibility for what you did, acknowledging that you what
you did was harmful and lastly, asking what you can do to make it up to
him. "If you've gotten to the first three steps cleanly, most men will
say 'forget about it' to the last question," Dr. Haltzman says.