Strategies for a Successful Marriage

  1. Seek God to meet all the needs of your life through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit. Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. Enjoy God and allow Him to satisfy your life. He can become your source of joy and peace and hope.
  2. Seek to meet the needs of your spouse through giving out of what you have received from God without expecting anything in return.
  3. Be a student of your mate. Learn how to communicate love, acceptance and respect in a way that your spouse can receive them.
  4. Make your spouse your priority relationship, before parents, children, friends, or work. Take time together for dates and time away. Laugh and have fun together!
  5. Listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen to the heart of your mate.
  6. Forgive, forgive, forgive, forgive, forgive, forgive. Never say the word “divorce.”
  7. When angry, go to God with the problem first. If the issue cannot be resolved, find an objective third party who will give Godly counsel. Do not call family members to complain about your spouse. Expect problems, don’t be surprised by them. It means you are part of the human race.
  8. Remember that there is more than one right way to do things.
  9. Always seek what is best for your spouse. Put off selfishness. This attitude is the essence of unconditional love. Do everything in love.
  10. Agree on a budget and put it into practice. God owns it all. Ask Him how to allocate 100% of your money, not just what you give Him.
    Spend less than you earn. Stay out of debt.

 

Facebook and Marriage

I am on facebook - I don't hate facebook, I actually like it. When I had major, emergency surgery about two months ago, my daughter and husband got on my facebook page and started notifying my friends and family. They kept updating my progress. Within minutes, tons of people were praying.

Part of my job is meeting with couples who are in marriage distress. Is facebook a problem in marriages?

Facebook and Your MarriageSometimes it is a big problem. So far, every communication device that man has invented can/has been used to build relationships with the opposite sex outside of the marriage. Just as we need parameters in other areas of life to preserve and protect our marriages, facebook is no different.

A friend of ours in the marriage movement, Jason Krasky, has written Our Top Dozen Do’s & Don’ts for Facebooking Couples on his blog, The Marriage Junkie. He and his wife have a book on the subject that will be coming out in February. Jason has given me permission to re-print his top dozen.

What Every Facebooking Couple Should DO to Protect Their Marriage!

Create boundaries to protect yourself, your spouse and your marriage. Spend some time talking about what’s in bounds and out of bounds and as a couple, agree on what boundaries you’ll set as a couple. A little bit of agreement on what is and is not acceptable can save a lot of pain and disagreement later.

Set your relationship status to Married and keep it that way. Facebook’s version of the wedding band, your Relationship Status makes all the difference in how people interact with you. If you do happen to go through some marital troubles, don’t change to “it’s complicated” because you’ll only make things even more complicated…in a bad way.

Update each other on your FB Friends and Friend Requests. Friends range from past childhood pals and classmates to current connections from work, church and elsewhere. Many of your FB Friends have a story attached to them. Don’t assume your spouse knows how you know them; spend time sharing their story with your mate.

Share your username and password with one another. Transparency is crucial to ensure trust in a committed relationship. Exchanging login information provides accountability and emotional security for both of you.

Make your spouse the topic of your Status Updates at least once a week. Using Facebook to affirm and build up your spouse creates a deeper bond between the two of you, and a higher fence around the two of you. (Just be careful not to overdo and become an annoying couple.)

Be prepared to talk offline about online issues. What happens on Facebook doesn’t stay on Facebook. Facebook can and will trigger issues and conversations between you and your spouse: a poorly worded joke, an awkward comment by a FB Friend, or an unexpected chat session. Deal with hurt feelings or concerns in the privacy of your own home. If handling conflict is difficult for you and your spouse, attend a Marriage Education class to acquire a shared set of communication/conflict resolution skills.

What Every Facebooking Couple Should NOT DO to Protect Their Marriage!

(DON’T) Write cutting remarks or negative statements about your spouse. Even though Facebook asks, “What’s on your mind,” it doesn’t mean everyone really wants to know the answer to that question. If in doubt, think about how your comments will be read by others (think about your mother-in-law, your boss, your pastor) before pushing the Share/Comment button.

(DON’T) Friend exes, old flames, past flings, former crushes or anyone you’ve been intimate with in the past. What starts as an innocent, “I wonder whatever happened to so-and-so” can lead to “I never meant for this to happen.” Friending exes’ invites an unnecessary threat into your married life that can cause any or all of the following: anxiety and insecurity for your spouse, friction and isolation in your marriage, and unrealistic and senseless ideas in your head. If staying FB Friends is a bad idea for a broken up (dating) couple, then it’s a really, really bad idea for married couples.

(DON’T) Lose track of how much time you spend on Facebook. Everyone needs a little down time to unwind each day. Facebook can be a great way to wind down (e.g. connect with FB Friends, play games, find Groups and Fan Pages, etc). On average, users spend 12-15 minutes a day on Facebook. That seems like a healthy dose of daily Facebook intake. If time on the online social community infringes on your real-time marriage relationship, make changes to reprioritize your time. Set a timer for 15 minutes and then log off Facebook and turn off the computer.

(DON’T) Report that you or your spouse is out of town. This is more security than anything else. Say your husband is on a business trip and you post an update that he is out of town. What you think is a harmless Status Update is an announcement to the bad guys that your home, possessions and family are vulnerable and a prime target for bad things to happen. Do you really know all of your FB Friends? How about their Friends? A FB Friend’s comment to your Status Update can unknowingly broadcast your “my husband is gone” news to a bunch of people you really don’t know.

(DON’T) Have private Chat sessions with people of the opposite sex. Chats are a private, real time message exchange between two people. Once a person logs off, Chat sessions are erased forever. Emotional affairs have three main ingredients: secrecy, chemistry and intimacy. Chatting provides a perfect environment for the three ingredients to mix together and create a situation that supposedly “just happened”. Avoid the drama and turn off the Chat feature altogether.

(DON’T) Let Facebook be a distraction during your time with your mate. Not only can writing a Status Update steal time from your couple time, but reading someone’s bad news can steal your mind from your special time together. Make date nights, special moments, and times of intimacy Facebook-free. No laptops, no computers, no smart phones when it is time for you and your spouse.

The Wedding or The Marriage

Marriage skeptics abound all around, but most Americans still desire marriage. How many are as enthralled with the marriage as with the wedding? Elizabeth Gilbert researched and wrote "Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage."

In an interview, she presents a very interesting perspective on weddings. ”I myself have never been enchanted by the dream of the white wedding, and, heaven help us, the expectation that this exquisitely catered event should be ‘the happiest moment’ of one's life. But I did ask a number of my heartsick single female friends about this very question, and one of them gave me a truthful and illuminating answer: The fantasy of the wedding day is that it represents undeniable public and private truth that you have been chosen. For that one day, you are the most valuable creature in the world—a treasure, a princess, a prize. For many women, who have never felt chosen, desirable, or precious, this is an unshakable yearning. And I'm afraid many women do choose the wedding over the marriage. It seems a steep price to pay, but it comes from a place of deep, sad longing to be loved and to have it proven that you are of value. “

Weddings were a celebration of the beginning of a new life together, but also a time of commitment from the couple and a time of affirmation and support from those attending. However, with so many couples getting married after already living together for several months, or even years, why have a large, expensive, formal wedding? While living together, women do not get that sense of being treasured or chosen. They have eased into the relationship, gradually, not committed to a long-term, exclusive relationship.

Then, we have women who spend a lot of time and money preparing for that “princess for the day” experience. They often go into debt or send their parents into debt to put together a production to rival stardom. They wrestle over every detail of what the invitations look like and what food will be served but have not taken the time to learn the basics of communication with a husband.

Both types of women are proving to the world that they are loved on the day of that large wedding. Yet, soon after the wedding, they have lost total confidence that their husbands love them. They don’t know how to interpret the quietness or distraction of a husband who comes home after a stressful day of work.

As it has in so many ways, American culture has lost its way on where to place value. . . this time it is the importance of the wedding vs. the marriage. What would happen if American couples started investing more in the marriage than in the wedding?

Elizabeth Gilbert is also the best-selling author of "Eat, Pray, Love."
 
LIVING WELL offers Preparing for Marriage classes twice a year. The next class starts January 18, 2010. For more information, see http://www.livingwellokc.org/ .