"What increases the likelihood of a child living in poverty, dropping out
of school, and becoming a juvenile delinquent? What increases the
probability of a child abusing alcohol, taking drugs, engaging in sexual
promiscuity and committing suicide? What cripples hundreds of thousands of
young people when they marry and creates fear, insecurity, and a higher
likelihood that their marriages will not last a lifetime? It's divorce,
divorce, divorce." (Dennis Rainey)
We need to work to curb all of the divorcing that's happening to the best
of our ability and put the heart of Christ back into marriage, where He
has been crowded out. We need to reclaim the sacredness of marriage. Read
what Dennis Rainey, the Executive Director of Family Life Today
(Familylife.com) says on this subject (adapted from his book, "One Home at a Time"):
"Marriage is not just a private experiment, littered with prenuptial
agreements and an attitude of 'Try me out! If it doesn't work, you can
always bail out!' Marriage is not some kind of social contract --something
you just 'do' for as long as you both shall 'love.' Marriage is a sacred
covenant between one man and one woman, and their God for a lifetime. It
is a public vow of how you will relate to your spouse as you form a new
"Any covenant --including the marriage covenant, is a binding, weighty
obligation. In Proverbs 20:25, we read, 'It is a trap for a man to
dedicate something rashly and only later to consider his vows.' God says,
'I hate divorce' (Malachi 2:16). The Lord didn't stutter when He spoke
these words. It is time for us to embrace and proclaim God's sacred view
of marriage, as well as His corresponding hatred for divorce. [MARRIAGE
MISSIONS NOTE: While God hates the act of divorce, He does not hate the
"Reclaiming the sanctity of marriage begins with several commitments:
"COMMITMENT #1: Do Not Get Married Unless You Plan to Keep Your Vows. Both
churches and individuals have a holy trust and responsibility to take
radical measures to restore meaning to the covenant of marriage. Churches,
for example, could refuse to marry couples who will not take a church-
prescribed marriage preparation course; marry only couples who agree to
sign and be held accountable to such a public document, and assign a
mentoring couple to all newlyweds before they get married.
"Before they are married, individuals could agree to faithfully fulfill
all of the church's requirements for marriage preparation, including the
signing of a marriage covenant. They could refuse to sign any type of
prenuptial agreement. And they could pledge to each other, to their new
extended family, and to the community to never divorce and to solemnly
fulfill the marriage vows.
"By no means is this a comprehensive list of all that needs to be enacted,
nor will it eliminate failure, but it does give us a helpful pro-active
"COMMITMENT #2: Fulfill Your Vows by Staying Married. If you are married,
you have a scared covenant obligation. Fulfill it! Too many marriages
begin to unravel when one of the spouses mentally entertains the
possibility of divorce. The notion that divorce is a solution must be
rejected. We must fight tenaciously to restore the ideal of marriage for a
lifetime. Marital commitment demands perseverance.
"The church needs to restore the model of one man and one woman bound
together before God for a lifetime. We need more couples like J.L. and
Hilda Simpson, godly Christians who wrote a profound note: 'September 9,
1995, made us 46 years together. I was 15 and J.L was 17 when we married.
We are now 61 and 63. We could have divorced dozens of times but because
we love each other deeply, and because God hates divorce, WE DIDN'T WANT
TO BRING THE CURSE OF DIVORCE INTO OUR FAMILY, SO WE DIDN'T.'
"Barbara and I have been married since 1972, and we have had our share of
illness, tragedy, and disagreements. But the word, 'divorce' has never
passed through our lips. May I challenge you to do the same? You need to
keep your covenant. You MUST keep your covenant. Your children's
marriages, your legacy and strength of the church depend upon it.
"COMMITMENT #3: Fulfill Your Vows by Maintaining Emotional and Moral
Fidelity. For too many people, adultery is the first step out of a
marriage. An emotional or sexual attachment to someone other than your
spouse creates intense passions that sabotage trust and steal marital
intimacy. To maintain emotional and moral fidelity to your mate, you need
to, first, maintain a healthy relationship. Lovingly study your mate to
learn what will keep him or her interested and satisfied. Cultivate the
fine --and often forgotten -- art of romance. Second, you need to guard
your heart in relation to the opposite sex. Restrict your gaze and refuse
the temptation to look longingly at members of the opposite sex. Don't
fantasize about someone else. Build boundaries around your heart by making
yourself accountable to a friend for your secret thoughts.
"COMMITMENT #4: Fulfill Your Vows by Praying Faithfully With Your Spouse.
Why do so few Christian couples pray together? What could seem more
natural than a husband and wife talking intimately together with the One
who provides the glue to hold a relationship together? Yet prayer is one
of the most challenging disciplines for any married couple to practice.
"I think I know why. The enemy of our souls knows how effective prayer is.
He'll do anything to prevent it in a marriage. And our flesh gets in the
way, too, because prayer demands humility before God. It is hard to be in
the midst of some selfish behavior and then pray with your spouse --I
know, I've tried and failed! Daily prayer prevents divorce and makes
marriage stronger. A national survey commissioned by Family Life Today
showed the couples who pray together frequently (at least three time per
week) have higher levels of marital satisfaction than those who don't.
"What would happen to the divorce rate in the church if husbands & wives
would consistently pray together? I believe that the number of divorces
could be cut in half within months, and that within a decade divorce would
be uncommon in the Christian community. If there's one practical action
step you can take to divorce-proof your marriage, this is it: Begin
praying daily with your spouse."
Many years ago Cindy and I established starting our day by praying
together (no matter what time our "day" starts). Yes, it was awkward at
first. But it soon became the best part of our day. We can't explain how
it strengthens and deepens our relationship, it just does. We also believe
it has led to a deeper degree of marital satisfaction for both of us.
If you're not currently doing this as a couple we URGE you to start. At
least try it for 30 days and see what happens. Don't stress about it; just
do it. God doesn't care if you stumble through it. He will honor the
intentions of your heart. "You will pray to Him and He will hear you..."
Let's work to reclaim the "sanctity of marriage," starting with praying
together as husbands and wives. We pray you'll have a blessed week.
God Bless! Steve and Cindy Wright
Let's begin with the assumption that you and your spouse do not agree about something. It may be about how to meet an unmet need, or about a overcoming a thoughtless habit that is bothering one of you. In fact, it may be about anything that has become a conflict.
Chances are that you have been responding to this issue in one of three ways: 1) ignoring your own feelings and doing it your spouse's way, 2) ignoring your spouse's feelings and doing it your way, or 3) ignoring the problem entirely. Negotiation, however, requires something very different--taking your feelings and the feelings of your spouse into account simultaneously. The following guidelines will help you achieve that very important objective:
Guideline 1: Set ground rules to make negotiation pleasant and safe.
Most couples view negotiation as a trip to the torture chamber. That's because their efforts are usually fruitless, and they come away from the experience battered and bruised. Who wants to negotiate when you have nothing but disappointment and pain to look forward to?
So before you begin to negotiate, set some basic ground rules to make sure that you both enjoy the experience. Why? Because you repeat activities that you like, and avoid those you don't like. Since you should negotiate as often as a conflict arises, it should always be an enjoyable experience so you make it a regular part of your married life.
To be certain that you will have a pleasant and safe negotiating environment, I suggest three ground rules.
Ground Rule #1:
Try to be pleasant and cheerful throughout negotiations
It's fairly easy to start discussing an issue while in a good mood. But negotiations can open a can of worms, so be prepared for negative emotional reactions. Your spouse may begin to feel uncomfortable about something you say. In fact, out of the clear blue, he or she may inform you that there will be no further discussion.
I know how upset and defensive couples can become when they first tell each other how they feel about they way they have been treated by each other. That's why I first coach them individually to prepare them for negative comments. I simply tell them what I am telling you--try to be as positive and cheerful as you can be, especially if your spouse says something that offends you.
Ground Rule #2:
Put safety first-do not make demands, show disrespect,
or become angry when you negotiate, even if your spouse
makes demands, shows disrespect, or becomes angry with you
Once the cat is out of the bag and you have told each other what is bothering you or what you want, you have entered one of the most dangerous phases of negotiation. If your feelings have been hurt, you are tempted to retaliate. Your Taker is very persuasive at this point, and unless you make a special effort to resist its advice, your negotiation will turn into an argument. But if you can keep each other safe, you will be able to use your intelligence to help you make the changes you both need.
Ground Rule #3:
If you reach an impasse where you do not seem to be
getting anywhere, or if one of you is starting
to make demands, show disrespect, or become angry,
stop negotiating and come back to the issue later.
Just because you can't resolve a problem at a particular point in time doesn't mean you can't find an intelligent solution in the future. Don't let an impasse prevent you from giving yourself a chance to think about the issue. Let it incubate for a while, and you'll be amazed what your mind can do.
If your negotiation turns sour, and one of you succumbs to the temptation of the Taker with demands, disrespect or anger, end the discussion by changing the subject to something more pleasant. After a brief pause, your spouse may apologize and wish to return to the subject that was so upsetting. But don't go back into the minefield until it has been swept clear of mines. The mines, of course, are demands, disrespect and anger, and you must discuss how to avoid them before you return to the issue. You can't negotiate if your Takers' destructive instincts control your discussion.
Guideline 2: Identify the problem from both perspectives.
Once you have set ground rules that guarantee a safe and enjoyable discussion, you are ready to negotiate. But where do you begin? First, you must understand the problem from the perspectives of both you and your spouse.
Most couples go into marital negotiation without doing their homework. They don't fully understand the conflict itself, nor do they understand each other's perspectives. In many cases, they are not even sure what they really want.
One of the responsibilities of a marriage counselor is to help couples clarify the issues that separate them. I'm amazed at how often the clarification itself solves the problem. "Oh, that's what we've been fighting about!" many couples say. And once they understand the issue and each other's opinions, they realize that the conflict is not as serious as they thought. Or when the issue is clarified, the solution is immediately apparent and the conflict is resolved.
Respect is the key to success in this phase of negotiation. Once the issue has been identified, and you hear each other's perspectives, it is extremely important to understand each other--not try to straighten each other out. Remember that your goal is enthusiastic agreement, and there is no way you will be enthusiastic if you reject each other's perspectives. In fact, the only way you will reach an enthusiastic agreement is if you not only understand each other, but also come up with a solution that accommodates each other's perspectives.
It's so much easier to negotiate the right way when your goal is enthusiastic agreement. It eliminates all the strategies that attempt to wear each other down with abuse. You may as well forget about demands because they never lead to an enthusiastic agreement. The same can be said for disrespectful judgments and angry outbursts. If you are looking for real solutions to your problem, you will find them in whatever yields an enthusiastic agreement.
But when I take demands, disrespect and anger away from some couples, they are left feeling naked. They don't know how to discuss an issue if they can't demand, show disrespect or express their anger. And without those Love Busters they often feel hopeless about resolving their problems, because they have rarely approached their problems with the goal of finding a win-win solution. And they simply don't know how to do it. It's as if the only way they know how to communicate in marriage is through demands, disrespect and anger. Is that true of you and your spouse?
If so, remember that with practice you will begin to feel more comfortable approaching every conflict with the goal of mutual agreement. You learn to ask each other questions, not to embarrass each other but to gain a fuller understanding of what it would take to make each other happy. And when you think you have the information you need to consider win-win solutions, you are ready for the next step.
Guideline 3: Brainstorm with abandon.
You've set the ground rules. You've identified the problem from each other's perspective. Now you're ready for the creative part--looking for solutions that you think will make you both happy. I know that can seem impossible if you and your spouse have drifted into incompatibility. But the climb back to Intimacy has to start somewhere, and if you put your minds to it, you'll think of options that please you both.
The secret to understanding your spouse is to think like your spouse's Taker. It's easy to appeal to your spouse's Giver. "If she really loves me, she'll let me do this." or "He'll be thoughtful enough to agree with that, I'm sure." But lasting peace must be forged with your spouse's Taker, so your solutions must appeal to your spouse's most selfish instincts. At the same time, it must also appeal to your own selfish instincts.
When you brainstorm, quantity is often more important than quality. Let your minds run wild; go with just about any thought that might satisfy both of your Takers. If you let your creative side run free, you are more likely to find a lasting solution.
Carry a pad of paper or a pocket notebook, with you so you can write down ideas as you think of them throughout the day. Some problems may require days of thought, and pages of ideas. But keep in mind your goal-a solution that would appeal to both of your Takers.
Resist one type of solution that your Giver and Taker may suggest the "I'll let you do what you want this time if you let me do what I want next time" solution. For example, imagine that you want to go out with your friends after work, leaving your spouse with the children. So to arrive at an enthusiastic agreement for that thoughtless activity, you suggest that you take the children another night so that your spouse can go out with his or her friends.
What you're really proposing here is that each of you will sacrifice so that the other can have fun. The problem with that arrangement is that you are agreeing to behavior that makes one of you unhappy whenever the other is happy, and as I've said earlier, once you have made an agreement, it can easily turn into a habit.
The Giver and Taker suggest those kinds of win-lose solutions because they don't understand win-win solutions. Their concept of fairness is that if you are both suffering equally, that's fair. My view of negotiation is that by the time you are finished you should have arrived at a solution where neither of you suffers. And each part of the solution should not require either of you to sacrifice so that the other can be happy.
Guideline 4: Choose the solution that meets the conditions of the Policy of Joint Agreement -- mutual and enthusiastic agreement.
After brainstorming, you will have come up with some good and some bad solutions. Now you need to sort through them. Good solutions are those both you and your spouse consider desirable. In other words they meet the conditions of the Policy of Joint Agreement. Bad solutions, on the other hand, only take the feelings of one spouse into account at the expense of the other. The best solution is the one that makes you and your spouse most enthusiastic.
Many problems are relatively easy to solve. You will be amazed at how quickly you can find an enthusiastic agreement to some problems when you have decided to hold off on any action until you both agree. That's because when you know you must take each other's feelings into account, you become increasingly aware of what it will take to reach a mutual agreement. Instead of considering options that are clearly not in your spouse's best interest, you reject them immediately and begin to think of options you know would make both you and your spouse happy. It's amazing how smart you can be when you direct your mind to find smart solutions.
For example, consider the situation we mentioned above. You would like to go out with your friends after work, leaving your spouse with the children. Before you had agreed to the Policy of Joint Agreement, you may have simply called your spouse to say you would be late, or worse yet, arrived home late without having called. But now, you must come to an enthusiastic agreement prior to the event. It certainly restricts your freedom of choice, but on the other hand, it protects your spouse from your thoughtless behavior.
After having presented your case, you would probably hear immediate objections. Your spouse might feel that he or she does not appreciate your having fun while he or she is home battling the kids. "Besides," your spouse might mention, "our leisure activities should be with each other." In response, you might suggest that your spouse drop the kids off at your parents' (which you will call to make the arrangements) and join you.
If you and your spouse can enthusiastically agree on that suggestion, you are home free. Your parents take your children for a couple of hours, and your spouse joins you wherever it was you were planning to meet your friends. Problem solved. In fact, if going out after work with friends becomes a regular event, you can plan ahead for it by arranging the child-care in advance.
Of course, other problems can be very difficult to solve, involving many steps. Learning how to meet each other's emotional needs, for example, can require quite a bit of trial and error, along with the time and energy it takes to create the habits that eventually make meeting a need almost effortless. If one of you struggles with an addiction, you will find that the Policy of Joint Agreement simply cannot be followed at all until you have overcome the addiction. Whether it's drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, or any other addiction, you will find that thoughtfulness is almost impossible to practice as long as you are addicted. You must sweep the addiction completely out of your life before you will be able to negotiate in the way I have suggested.
When a couple has tried to follow my advice, but can't seem to negotiate with each other regardless of how hard they try, addiction is usually the culprit. In fact, a good way to determine if you are addicted to a substance or activity is to see if you can follow the Policy of Joint Agreement after you have agreed to it. If you find you can't, chances are, you're an addict.If you follow the guidelines I have suggested, negotiation can be an enjoyable way to learn about each other. And if you avoid unpleasant scenes and negotiate to an enthusiastic agreement, you can resolve with relative ease all of the many conflicts you will have throughout life.
One last point: Whenever a conflict arises, keep in mind the importance of depositing as many love units as possible while avoiding withdrawals. In other words, use the opportunity to find a solution that will make your spouse happy, and avoid solutions that make either of you unhappy.
“A CYNIC ONCE SAID, ‘Marriage is like a hot bath. Once you get used to
it, it isn’t so hot’. I take exception to part of that sour skeptic’s
point of view. Anyone knows if the bath water gets too cold, you merely
add more hot water. Yet we often fail to use this same common sense in
marriage. We think, perhaps subconsciously, that on our wedding day all we
need is enough love for each other, and our marriage will last a lifetime,
propelling us through all the marital storms that life might blow our way.
Erroneously, we believe that after we ‘tie the knot,’ we will
automatically, effortlessly live in marital bliss ’till death do us
part.’” (Barbara Russell Chesser)
Chesser also said, “One essential step in preventing marriage from cooling
off is getting rid of unrealistic expectations for marriage.”
In light of these statements, we want to share with you some common
misconceptions we’ve encountered. They come from the book, “When the Glass
Slipper Doesn’t Fit,” by Claire Cloninger and Karla Worley. (By the way,
if you enjoy this article, we found it at www.newlife.com. If you go to
their site and click on the “FREE STUFF” icon, you can then click on
“Marriage” and you’ll find a lot of articles to help you in your marriage.)
Misconception #1: The Degree-of Difficulty theory —I thought marriage
would be easier. I thought we’d fit together more or less automatically. I
thought love would glide us through the “bonding process” without a hitch.
But I’ve found that very little seems to happen automatically in a
marriage relationship. Marriage is work — sometimes sweaty, uncomfortable
work. In fact, I figure that the degree of difficulty in combining two
lives ranks somewhere between rerouting a hurricane and finding a parking
place in downtown Manhattan.
I am of the opinion that only God Himself can make a marriage happen
really well. And when He does it His way, it’s one of His very best
miracles. What God can create out of the combined ingredients of two
surrendered lives is indeed “infinitely more than we ever dare to ask or
imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).
Misconception #2: The “Clairvoyant” Spouse Theory —When I was a newlywed,
thought that if Claire really loved me, he should automatically know what
I was thinking and feeling and what I needed without my verbalizing a
thing. If my needs weren’t being met exactly as I felt they should be, I
would jump to the conclusion that he didn’t love me.
It was an enormous breakthrough for me to realize that Claire really
wanted to be there for me. He wanted to be able to meet my needs the best
he could. But he wasn’t a mind-reader. He couldn’t know what I needed
unless I told him!
And so, over the years, we’ve gotten better and better at sharing our
thoughts and feelings, clarifying our hopes, needs, and expectations for
each other and our relationship. As a consequence, we’ve gotten better at
meeting each other’s needs and helping each other realize some of those
hopes and expectations.
Misconception #3: The Key-to-Happiness Theory — Before I was married, I
thought being happy meant getting what you want. I have learned, after
thirty-seven years of marriage, that being happy means loving what you
Misconception #4: The Beef-Stew Theory — In the early years of our
marriage, when we were both in school and working a couple of jobs and not
seeing nearly enough of each other, I had the misconception that a
marriage can survive that kind of benign neglect.
I’ve learned since then the truth of what my friend Chris Kelly always
says: Making a marriage is a lot like making a stew. It will only be as
good as the ingredients you put into it. If you aren’t taking time for
long talks and long walks together, for special dinners and afternoons
off, for laughter and romance and celebrating each other, your marriage is
going to be a bland and watery dish indeed.
Misconception #5: The Major Moments Theory — I somehow assumed early on
that the most important days in a marriage would be the anniversaries, the
weddings, the Christmases, and the family reunions. I have found instead
that the most important day in any marriage is today .
My friend Mr. George told me something when he was a very old man --
something I’ve never forgotten. “Claire,” he said, “Don’t wait to be
happy. Don’t put it off.
Martha Lee and I were always going to take a fancy trip out to California
when Buddy was through with college. We never made it to California.” He
chuckled a little, sadly shaking his head. I imagine he was remembering
his Martha Lee. And then he said, “Call up Karla right now. You two ought
to go out and do something wonderful together… tonight!”
Misconception #6: The Grin-and-Bear-It Theory —I’ve got to confess that I
used to have a major misconception about God and marriage. I thought that
if we do get stuck in a lousy marriage, God wants us to hang on by the
skin of our teeth and simply gut it out until the bitter end. I was wrong
about this— terribly wrong.
This is not what God wants at all. He wants us to stay together, all
right. But it’s not enough just to gut it out. He wants us to stay and
pray and work and keep loving. He wants us to give Him all the time and
space He needs to make our lousy marriage into something not just
tolerable, but beautiful and brave and strong — something that will
witness to His mercy and His presence in this world.
I think He’s saying something to married couples, if we will just hear
Him: “Don’t settle for a bad marriage, or even a mediocre one. Don’t lower
your expectations. Raise them! Trust Me! I’m still a God of miracles!”
"The old saying 'opposites attract' is often true. The difficulty is once they marry they drive each other crazy. Our opposites tend to fascinate us because they add variety to life and pull us from our comfortable rut of familiarity.
"Opposites stretch us beyond ourselves, forcing us to broaden our horizons. They add depth and provide opportunities for growth. It's from them that we learn our most difficult lessons. They expose us to thoughts, feelings, and experiences that are foreign to us. They balance our lopsidedness and make us more complete." (Dr Steve Stephens)
That concept sounds great, but can we truly embrace our differences? That's our hope. That's why, for the next 2 weeks, we'll be sharing information written by Dr Steve Stephens that could potentially help us, which we're gleaning from his book, "Marriage: Experience the Best" (which unfortunately, is out of print). We're hoping it will help us better understand each other and grow closer together, despite our differences -- approaching them in healthier ways. In his book, Dr Stephens points out that: "Differences are healthy but they're also frustrating. The biggest frustrations come when we start
thinking of opposites in terms of right and wrong. What that usually means is 'I'm right; you're wrong.' "In working with people, I've discovered that most couples have little understanding and no tolerance for differences. They want each other to
think and act as they do. They're astonished that someone would actually approach life differently and think it was okay. So they begin a process of trying to convert their partner to the 'right way' or the 'best way.' "This is like trying to convince a Norwegian that Egyptian is the right language or someone who is Japanese that Spanish is best. It's not an
issue of right or best --just different. As couples, we need to acknowledge our differences and accept them." Dr Stephens challenges all of us to, "Look through the list [below] and try to find which differences apply to you and your mate:"
- "EXTROVERTS VS INTROVERTS: Extroverts love crowds --the more people, the merrier. They're expressive and frequently think out loud. Introverts, on the other hand, would rather spend the evening in solitude or with a close friend than go to a party. Being more reserved they tend to think through all the options before talking."
[The author gave the example of a couple where the wife "loved people" -- she said they energized her. But her husband said, "They wear me out!" This came as a real surprise to his wife. She needed to socialize and he needed peace and quiet. So they looked for ways to meet both their needs.
And if nothing else, it helped them understand each other's needs in a new way so they could better appreciate where the other was coming from and make it work FOR them rather than against them in their relationship. Dr Stephens pointed out that his wife is an extrovert and he is an introvert. He's learned to appreciate that about his wife and said, "I'm
glad I married an extrovert. She pulls me out of my solitary ways and encourages me to socialize." On the other hand, he can help her to be more balanced in how much she socializes so she doesn't wear herself out and can better appreciate quiet times --much like the Mary and Martha situation in the Bible in Luke 10.]
-"LEAPERS VS LOOKERS: Leapers take risks. When they see an opportunity they want to jump on it before it's too late. They appear to be fearless, or at least oblivious to potential danger. Lookers are more cautious than leapers. They like to carefully check everything out before making a decision. They gather information, analyze, ponder, consider options,
question, ruminate, evaluate consequences, pray, investigate, and then decide.
"Another common difference between these two approaches to life is that leapers like new and unique experiences, while lookers like the comfortable and familiar. Leapers help lookers stretch and grow. Lookers help leapers think and plan before they leap. We need each other" (once the spouses learn how to compromise and work with their differences).
-"OUTLINERS VS DETAILERS: Outliners have a general focus and look at the big picture. They think in terms of direction and getting things done. Detailers look at the nuts and bolts. Their concern is how to get things done. Outliners are abstract thinkers who see the whole forest, while detailers are concrete thinkers who see the individual trees. Outliners
develop outlines and detailers fill in the outlines with details. Both perspectives are important."
[Dr Stephens told how he and his wife learned to make their differences work for them while vacationing as they drove the long distance in the U.S. from Portland, Oregon, to Disneyland. He developed the big picture for their trip and his wife began questioning the details. He said to her, "We'll get there and we'll get back. That's what's most important."
But then he went on to say, "The big picture was most important to me, but the details were important to her. She came alongside me and filled in all the holes in my agenda. I created an outline and she breathed life into it. Without the outline we would have no direction, but the outline would break down without the details.]
- "PLANNERS VS FLEXERS: Planners love structure. They want everything organized and neatly packaged. They like schedules and deadlines. They want their life to be neat and tidy. Their philosophy is, 'There is a
place for everything and everything has its place.'
"Flexers bend with the flow of life. They see planners as being rigid and over-controlling. They tend to be more spontaneous and laid back. They take things as they come. Benders don't worry about schedules or deadlines, Loose ends don't bother them because things work out. Planners frequently see this as lazy and irresponsible."
[This is an area of marriage than can be especially troublesome when a planner is married to a flexer. But ask God to help you work through this --showing those who are planners how to be "dispensers of grace" to the "flexer spouse, as 1 Peter 4:10 points out. For those of you who are flexers, ask God to help you to "go the extra mile," as Matthew 5:41 points out, in ministering to the needs of your "planner" spouse. It will probably be a life-long challenge for the both of you --which will take LOVING perseverance. But it's worth the work.
Keep in mind: When differences are turned inward, partners battle each other. But, if spouses stand together, they can use their differences to battle life and support each other. Accepting and appreciating our partner's differences "sends a strong message of positive regard" --which is something husband and wives need from each other to keep their
We hope these thoughts are helpful to your marriage. Next week we'll
explore this topic further with more thoughts from Dr. Steve Stephens.
Cindy and Steve Wright
"Marriage demands toughness, and toughness proceeds out of commitment. No marriage will ever be stronger than the commitment that serves as its infrastructure." (Dr. Neil Clark Warren)
How true that is. Dr. Warren, in his book, "Learning to Live With the Love of Your Life" explains, "For most people, the demands of marriage are mind-boggling. It requires all the energy you can give it --and then it asks for more. It involves a continual need for negotiation and compromise, for giving and giving more. "Mind you, I'm a big believer in marriage. I've have never seen happier, more deeply satisfied people than men and women who have made their marriages work. But neither have I met many people in highly successful marriages who got there without an enormous expenditure of energy and courage and determination. There were times when they simply had to be 'willful.' "Virtually every successful marriage requires all kinds of willpower. Sometimes issues arise and the patterns don't have the necessary skills to manage them. They essentially have two choices: give up and run away, or develop the required skills. Partners with willpower always adopt the second alternative. They wouldn't think of giving up. They're ready to go to work on the problem, and ready to do whatever they must to keep their marriage healthy for a lifetime. "The foundation of willpower is a set of marital promises. It is this set of promises that serves as the steel structure of every great marriage. Both partners need to know what they originally promised each other, and they need to be currently committed to those promises so that their willpower will always be stronger than any opposing force. "Marriage doesn't just happen! It takes a solid set of decisions, a huge amount of skills, and enormous willpower. I contend that people in healthy marriages built those marriages just as you build a bridge or skyscraper. They made their marriage triumphant because they simply wouldn't settle for less. It doesn't matter to them how much backbreaking work it requires; if it were necessary, they'd do it a thousand times more. Their willpower gives them this kind of toughness. Marriage demands toughness, and toughness proceeds out of commitment. No marriage will ever be stronger than the commitment that serves as its infrastructure. "Roger Sternberg, a Yale professor, cited commitment as crucial to a successful marriage. He says: 'Loving relationships almost always have their ups and downs, and there may be times in such relationships when commitment is almost all that keeps the relationship going. This can be essential for getting through hard times and returning to better ones. In ignoring it, one may be missing exactly that which enables one to get through the hard times as well as the easy ones.' "It's a tough-sounding vow that society [and more importantly, God] asks people entering marriage to take, and it should be. If they're to be successful, they must be prepared for a major contest. They need to be toughened and trained --and why not? We require our citizens to prepare long and hard for careers, We put soldiers, policemen, & firemen through rigorous training programs. We expect athletes and athletic teams to practice for months so they will be equal to the challenge of competition. But we are in the habit of sending persons into marriage with virtually no understanding of the challenges they'll face. The inevitable massacre is tragically predictable!"The bottom line is that marriage is often tougher than marital participants are. That can change. We must understand that commitment alone is only part of the equation for a triumphant marriage. Commitment must lead to skill development. I've never studied a great marriage in which I viewed the partners as anything less than profoundly skillful. "It's crucial to recognize, though, that much of the time these skills were learned and developed AFTER the marriage began. Often the development of the skills came in response to a crisis or a series of crises. Many persons encounter enormous problems in their marriages. In response to those problems, they learn marriage-saving skills. If those skills were learned well, the crisis was not only handled, but the marriage also took on a new level of strength and satisfaction that would not have been available if the crisis had not happened. Marriage-saving skills became vital sources in building a great relationship. "Well in advance of skill development, though, is the matter of willpower. Hundreds of thousands of marriages fall apart before the necessary skills
can be developed, because there is inadequate willpower. If a marriage relies forever on willpower, it will eventually become worn out and weak. Nevertheless, a marriage short on willpower is vulnerable when the road gets challenging.
"It goes without saying that commitment has become a cheap concept in our culture. Most married people don't have the foggiest notion of what they've committed themselves to. But worst of all, there is little about the 'promises' of marriage that are current for most married people. Like one middle-aged man said to me while in the heat of a major marital crisis: 'Listen, I took those vows a long time ago, and that's all ancient history.' "So what's the solution to this dilemma? First, we have to develop
something like 'informed consent' when it comes to marriage. We simply must not let any new marriage begin unless the two people really know what they're promising each other. Second, we need to encourage people who are already married to recommit themselves to each other --but only after they have carefully understood EXACTLY what the marital promises are all about. "My experience tells me that a high proportion of married people are totally unfit to face complex marital challenges. Often, they've become inattentive to their original commitment. They've done almost nothing recently to prepare themselves for the demanding events that are always lurking. They're like tennis players who haven't played for a long time. They aren't ready! How come? Because no one warned them to stay tough! Why not? Because everyone simply assured them they could make it fine on the basis of their love and warm feelings. This assumption is absurd. "I'm convinced that until we start seeing marriage more realistically, the divorce rate is going to stay at epidemic levels. Marriage is incredibly difficult! We'd better start recognizing this. Anyone who is going to succeed in marriage needs to determination. Obviously, great skillfulness is required but the development of the necessary skills often takes time. That's why you need to deeply own the promises you made to your mate. If
you aren't ready for the tough battles that will test your strength and endurance, then you're in danger of becoming a divorce statistic." We're told in the Bible in Matthew 5:33, "It was said to the people long ago, 'do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord'." Be willful. Be faithful. Learn the skills you need to know and do YOUR part in keeping your commitment. Exercise determination!
Steve and Cindy Wright
“If God loves us, cares for us, and wants the best for us, why does He allow all this suffering that goes on in the world? He could stop it if He wanted to. But somehow, He doesn’t seem to want to. What we don’t realize is that sometimes when nothing appears to be happening, God is patiently doing His awesome work.” A good definition of suffering is: “Anything that causes us
mental, physical, or emotional pain or irritates us in some fashion.” (See: 1 Peter 4:12-19.)
The following are some of the Reasons God allows suffering:
1. To get our attention. (See: Psalm 119:67, 71) Sometimes God wants to get our attention to look to Him and pay attention to that which is important to God.
2. To develop righteousness and maturity in us. God may be in the process of building maturity in us and by allowing certain events to happen to us, He knows we’ll “grow up” and become more mature in the process.
3. To prune us. (See: John 15:1-2.) “He removes attitudes and habits that are harmful to our fruitfulness.” The whole pruning process is used by God to cut back useless things in our life to maximize our potential as Believers. He sees attitudes in our lives that don’t belong there.
He prunes off what shouldn’t be there. God can’t stand stuff in our lives that cloud our vision of Him.
4. To teach us obedience. (See: Hebrews 12:5.) “Sometimes people suffer because of their own disobedience.” When we become disobedient we can expect some kind of suffering.
5. To teach us to trust Him. (See: 1 Peter 1:7.) “He tests our faith in order to strengthen it.” An example of this is in the principle of tithing.
6. To teach us to depend continually on His grace and goodness.2 Corinthians 12 tells us that when we are weak, we are strong. If we want God to use us, suffering is going to be a part of our life. God uses it to teach us so we will gain wisdom. “Suffering in life and being used by God are inseparable.”
7. To manifest Christ’s life and character in us. It’s to help us to be living examples of God’s character. And God’s character shines forth in us through times of sanding, sifting and pruning.
Whatever the form of suffering we encounter, there is a Divine purpose involved. “When someone meets us, they will meet the Son of God in us.”
8. To purify our hearts. A pure heart is a righteous heart—which is the will of God for us. Purity and God’s power go together. “There is no power in your ministry unless you are pure.” Keep in mind that all suffering is not a result of sin. God has a purpose in allowing suffering in our lives.
9. So we can share in the holiness of Christ. (See Hebrews 12:10.)
10. To teach us to give thanks in everything. (See: 1 Thessalonians 5:18.) “You don’t have to feel thankful to express gratitude that God is going to bring something good out of your experience.”
11. To develop character and perseverance. (See: Romans 5:1-5.)
12. To enable us to share in the sufferings of Christ. (Philippians 3:10.)
13. To prevent pride in our life. (See: 2 Corinthians 12:9.)
14. To broaden our ministry. (See: Philippians 1:12-13.) An example of this would be: “Going through an experience of suffering and loneliness that extended His influence.”
15. To reveal the evil nature of mankind and the righteous judgment of God. (See: 2 Thessalonians,Chapter 2.) In this chapter it says, “The wicked will be judged.”
So, how should we respond? You can pray the following: “Lord, what are You saying to me?” “Lord, whatever Your purpose is, I surrender to Your will.” “Give me the grace to bear this until You have accomplished Your will.”
We hope that as you read through the above list, that you found comfort in knowing that God can bring some type of good out of the suffering you’re going through. We also pray that you’ll take what you’re learning and will apply it for good use in your marriage so God may be glorified in every area of your life.
Do you enjoy seeing "before and after" make-over photos in a magazine showing what people look like before and then after their looks are altered in some way? Usually the change is good and fun to look at the "afterward." But there are times when the change isn't an improvement at all.
What about the "before and after" glimpses into marriage --into YOUR marriage? Will those who observe you and your spouse together see a growing improvement as the years go on? You can't change how your spouse acts, but what about the way in which you interact in your marriage? Do they see the attitude & the heart of Christ being lived out in YOUR words and actions?
Do you remember the time of your marriage proposal when the question was asked, "Will you marry me?" Hopefully, it was a romantically memorable time. But did the attitude you had for each other BEFORE the wedding continue past the proposal and past the wedding into your marriage? A while ago, a pastor told us of a conversation he had with a man he sat next to on an airplane. He said the man appeared to be really excited about something, so he asked him the reason for his obvious happiness. He said he'd just asked a woman to marry him and she had said "yes." What was especially exciting and also interesting was the way in which he proposed. He took her out to a romantic dinner and then took her to their church. He then asked her to go into the restroom and take off her nylon stockings. She questioned him about his request, thinking it was a bit strange. But he asked her just to trust him and he would explain his request later. She did what he asked and afterward was led into the church sanctuary. He then took her to an area that had a spotlight shining over it. There he provided a chair for her to sit on, brought out a basin of water (that he had prepared ahead of time), and proceeded to wash her feet. As he was washing her feet he told her of his deep love for her and asked her to consider being his wife. He said, "I want to serve you and wash your feet for the rest of our lives together." It didn't take her long to express her love for him and to accept his proposal for marriage. Isn't that a romantic story? What a beautiful beginning for a life together and what a wonderful attitude of servanthood to have. The Bible talks about mutual submission being important, so this is an inspiring start for their married lives together.
But what would be even more inspirational is if this man continues to have this servant's heart and attitude for his wife beyond the wedding – after life begins to become so "daily." THAT is true servanthood, when you're still able to honor your spouse after getting to know them with all their faults and quirks exposed, day after day. THAT is the servanthood Jesus modeled for us.
Upon washing the feet of His disciples Jesus said something (recorded in the Gospel of John, chapter 13) that should always inspire us in how we treat each other. He said, "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you should also wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if
you do them." The meaning of the word, "blessed," in the context of this scripture in the original Greek language is "Markarious" which means, "possessing the favor of God." What this means is that as we follow the example Jesus showed us, by serving one another, we will "possess the favor of God." What an honorable goal to follow - especially in our marriages! However, we can almost hear the protests going out, as some who are reading this, have been treated by your spouse in ways that are rude, crude, and "unlovable." Some of you are saying, "But you don't know my spouse and how they have acted toward me. How could I treat them in such a loving way when I've been treated so horribly?" It wouldn't be something we'd think of asking anyone to do in that type of situation. But it isn't us who are asking you to do this - it is Jesus who is asking us to follow His example. And what example did He show us to do, for those who are less than kind to us? A.W. Tozer wrote the following: "Jesus Christ left an example for our daily conduct and from it there can be no appeal. He felt no bitter
resentment and he held no grudge against anyone! Even those who crucified Him were forgiven while they were in the act. Not a word did He utter against them, not even against the ones who stirred them up to destroy Him. How evil they all were. He knew better than any other man, but He maintained a charitable attitude toward them. We're told in Luke 23:24,' Then Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them; for they no not what they do.'" We hope that as you think about your spouse you will look to serve him or her with the attitude that Christ would have you - as He did with others. Again, you aren't responsible for the actions of your spouse, but you are responsible, and accountable, for your own actions. It's never too late to start doing what is right - to do that which would please the heart of God. So, what does the "before and after" glimpse look like in your marriage? Do you have the heart to try to show love to your spouse as you did before you were married? As others observe your marriage do THEY see the heart of Christ being exhibited in how you treat your spouse? "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-25)
"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give His life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45) "Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does." (Ephesians 6:7)
Please know that our prayers go with you every week as we work together to make our marriages living examples of "Christ's love for the church." Cindy and Steve Wright
Dancing Birds By Rebecca La Count
Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; and let them say among the nations, "The Lord reigns."-1 Chronicles 16:31
Straight ahead of me, against a clear blue sky, a small gray cloud was hanging above a busy intersection. I wondered, What was that lonely cloud doing there on such a perfect afternoon? As if hearing my thoughts, the cloud suddenly shimmered like silver and disappeared. Then, just as suddenly, it reappeared, darker this time and in a new shape—a smile. Then I realized the "cloud" was a flock of birds. They stretched across the road like a wavy banner announcing the song that I was hearing on my radio. As the music of "This Is My Father's World" filled my car, the flock of dancing birds seemed to soar with each majestic phrase—dipping with each downbeat and swelling with each crescendo. I wondered if the other drivers realized that they were in the audience of the Almighty. It seemed to me that all creation was rejoicing in His goodness. With my eyes open, I prayed, "Thank You, heavenly Father, for allowing me to watch You conduct this remarkable ballet of birds. Thank You for reminding me that all creation, myself included, is part of Your song and that You are conducting every verse. May my praise and worship be as beautiful to You as Your creation is to me. Amen."
This is my Father's world — The birds their carols raise; The morning light, the lily white, Declare their Maker's praise. — Babcock All of nature is a grand symphony, conducted by the Creator.
During a seminar, a woman asked," How do I know if I am with the right
The author then noticed that there was a large man sitting next to her
so he said, "It depends. Is that your partner?"
In all seriousness, she answered "How do you know?"
Let me answer this question because the chances are good that it's
weighing on your mind replied the author. Here's the answer.
Every relationship has a cycle… In the beginning; you fall in love
with your partner. You anticipate their calls, want their touch, and
like their idiosyncrasies. Falling in love wasn't hard. In fact, it was
a completely natural and spontaneous experience. You didn't have to DO
anything. That's why it's called "falling" in love.
People in love sometimes say, "I was swept of my feet."
Picture the expression. It implies that you were just standing there;
doing nothing, and then something happened TO YOU.
Falling in love is a passive and spontaneous experience. But after a few
months or years of being together, the euphoria of love fades. It's a
natural cycle of EVERY relationship.
Slowly but surely, phone calls become a bother (if they come at all),
touch is not always welcome (when it happens), and your spouse's
idiosyncrasies, instead of being cute, drive you nuts. The symptoms of
this stage vary with every relationship; you will notice a dramatic
difference between the initial stage when you were in love and a much
duller or even angry subsequent stage.
At this point, you and/or your partner might start asking, "Am I with
the right person?" And as you reflect on the euphoria of the love you
once had, you may begin to desire that experience with someone else.
This is when relationships breakdown.
The key to succeeding in a relationship is not finding the right person;
it's learning to love the person you found.
People blame their partners for their unhappiness and look outside for
fulfillment. Extramarital fulfillment comes in all shapes and sizes.
Infidelity is the most common. But sometimes people turn to work, a
hobby, friendship, excessive TV, or abusive substances. But the answer
to this dilemma does NOT lie outside your relationship. It lies within
I'm not saying that you couldn't fall in love with someone else. You
could. And TEMPORARILY you'd feel better. But you'd be in the same
situation a few years later.
Because (listen carefully to this): The key to succeeding in a
Relationship is not finding the right person; it's learning to love the
Person you found.
SUSTAINING love is not a passive or spontaneous experience. You have to
work on it day in and day out. It takes time, effort, and energy. And
most importantly, it demands WISDOM. You have to know
WHAT TO DO to make it work. Make no mistake about it.
Love is NOT a mystery. There are specific things you can do (with or
without your partner), Just as there are physical laws Of the universe
(such as gravity), there are also laws for relationships. If you know
how to apply these laws, the results are predictable.
Love is therefore a "decision". Not just a feeling.
Remember this always: God determines who walks into your life. It is up
to you to decide who you let walk away, who you let stay, and who you
refuse to let GO!
For all who like "lists" as a way to measure success, you'll like this
week's Marriage Message. Men especially like lists because we enjoy being
able to successfully and systematically check off each item.
The following list is challenging but we believe that if you follow them,
you could almost guarantee your marriage will succeed. As you read them
ask yourself, "Am I following this principle?" Then secondly, if you're
not following them, ask yourself, "How can I begin to implement them (a
selected principle or more) in my daily way of thinking and living with my
These principles are authored by Mark Brandenburg who is a certified
Personal Coach and author of, "Fix Your Wife in 30 Days or Less." It
appeared in a Smart Marriages article on 11/18/03 (an "oldie but a
goodie"). We added the additional comments in (parenthesis):
1. FORGET ABOUT GETTING YOUR NEEDS MET. Focus on your spouse and what you
can do for them. This is the best way to bring out the best in both of
you. ("Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility
consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not to
your own interests, but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:3-4)
2. KEEP SOME MEANINGFUL RITUALS IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP. Whether it's having
dinner conversation after work every night or taking a long walk, have
something in place that allows you to stay in touch with each other's lives.
(And don't forget to schedule date times regularly with your spouse.
You dated each other before marriage--that's what contributed to your
falling in love in the first place. Don't neglect dating each other
after the wedding to help your love STAY alive and vital.)
3. HAVE A 5-to-1 RATIO OF POSITIVE TO NEGATIVE INTERACTIONS. There should
be 5 compliments, hugs, or squeezes of the arm for every roll of the
eyes, every criticism, or every episode of blaming.
(Better yet, don't roll the eyes or do anything that's disrespectful to
each other. It causes erosion to the relationship that doesn't glorify God.)
("Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe
yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and
patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may
have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all
these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect
unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of
one body you were called to peace." Colossians 3:12-15)
4. BE RELENTLESS IN YOUR PURSUIT OF SELF-IMPROVEMENT AND TRYING TO BE A
BETTER PERSON. Healthy marriages tend to grow and change. This means
that you must be willing to try on new behaviors and to take some risks.
5. MAKE YOUR MARRIAGE FULL OF SPECIAL SURPRISES. Marriages are more alive
and exciting when there are surprises sprinkled into them. Surprise
your spouse with an outing, a special date night, flowers, candy, or
anything else that excites them.
6. TAKE GREAT SELF-CARE. If you're all stressed out, you're going to be a
"bear" to be around! Make sure you follow a program of self-care that
allows you to give energy to the relationship.
("Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who
is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you
were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your body." 1
7. DEVELOP A COMMON INTEREST THAT YOU CAN SHARE TOGETHER. You're going to
be spending a lot of time together. It's nice to have an activity to
share that helps you to enjoy that time together. Whether it's
golfing, traveling, hiking, or shopping, find your common interests and
turn them into pleasurable experiences.
8. FOCUS ON BEING KIND AND NOT ON BEING RIGHT. It's easy to spend time
showing your spouse that you're right. Focus on being kind instead.
You'll argue less and enjoy each other more.
("Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only
what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that
it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29)
9. WHEN THINGS DO GET HEATED, COMMIT TO A PLAN THAT WORKS. Don't say
things in the heat of the moment that may do damage to your
relationship. Have a plan in place that may include: walking away,
continuing the discussion at a later date, for a sort of relaxed response.
(Please re-read this advice. It's excellent. "Do not grieve the Holy
Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get
rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with
every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators
of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love,
just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant
offering and sacrifice to God." Ephesians 4:32-5:2)
10. DEVELOP A NETWORK OF SUPPORT AROUND YOU. Whether it's friends or
family, have a group of people that you spend time with, which you can
confide in and share times with. It always helps to know that others
are going and/or have gone through the same things you are.
("Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of
doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see
the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:25)
We pray God's greatest blessings on your marriage this coming year. Don't
forget to treat each other with the love and respect God would have you--
treating your spouse as more important than yourself--using Christ as your
example of sacrificial love.
So many of us believe that we are always right. In a marriage it is a two way street between husband and wife. God wants us to work together to bring the strengths of each other to the table working and solving problems.
All married couples were created to solve a problem in their marriage relationship
They must discover the answer to these questions. What is my assignment in this marriage? How do I fulfill this assignment?
If a wife or husband don’t understand their God given assignments in their marriages, they will always be fighting with each other for position and control. Their lives become perpetual wrestling match to find out who will be the one who runs the marriage. As a result the couple never enjoy their relationship, and all because they don’t understand their assignments
1 Samuel 15:17 [‘You were once humble in your own eyes’], Samuel speaks about Saul being humble in the past, he changed once he became king.. Saul was becoming like the prophet, so he changed, but God did not call him to be that, he called him to be king, with his humilty and all. God was sorry He made Saul king because he tried to assume a position God had never called Him to fill
Also never take your spouse for granted that you bypass his or her position in your life
A husband might say’ Oh it will be fine if I do this, my wife wont mind if I do this, if I will not tell her, or vice versa.. Bypassing each other’s authority shows disrespect
When a husband stops being the leader of the home, or doesn’t know how to lead a relationship, it leaves a gap for the wife to rule [this a NO NO], wives cant help it because we were all made to rule, especially after the greatest sin ever.
Husbands take note you are the leaders of the home, there is no escaping this, MEN need to take that place of authority in the house, then relationships will be restored
Wives please take note you were not made to rule, but to be submissive and supportive
Please take note that if these positions are not in the right place, chaos happens, its not the end of marriage, it just challenges men and women to come out of their comfort zones. Men that are not leaders are not weak, they just need their wives understanding and prayers to be supportive. GOD ANSWERS THE PRAYER OF PRAYING WIVES
Don’t ruin the only chance that God has given you to be happy with your spouse, just because both of you want to rule, there is place/time for each one of you
MIRACLE; In these situations is when you assume your position respectively, WOW your life changes, open doors of opportunities are opened for each, all of sudden things run smoothly and we have time to be ourselves
PLEASE DON’T TAKE EACH OTHER FOR GRANTED