Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts
by Les and Leslie Parrott
– We sometimes say until death do us part, but with so many divorces and struggles in marriage, we should really say until divorce do us part.
– If we spend as much time planning our marriage as we do planning our wedding, things may be different. The lack of planning in a marriage has stunted many marriages.
– There are myths in marriage.
1. We expect the same expectations after marriage that we had before marriage. Before someone gets married they want to do everything together and spend every waking moment together, believing that’s how their marriage always will be but that is not the case.
2. Everything in life and marriage will only get better. Things do not just magically get better, you have to work through them. The person you are married to is not perfect it might not be how you imagined, so you have to work through things.
3. Everything bad will just disappear – Cinderella story mindset. Many people marry to avoid or escape from unpleasant situations. Most everyone gets married to improve their well-being but both individuals of the same thought episode (want to escape or avoid home situation) leads to frustration. Marriage in one way is just a way of living, we do not expect to have a rosy life outside of marriage so why should we when we get married.
4. My spouse will make me whole These are the people that believe they will be nourished and made whole by being married. They want to be nourished instead of nourishing. – Love without intimacy is just an illusion.
– Each individual has their own idea of what love is and the wise spouse will figure out the definition of their spouse’s love to be able to fulfill it.
– The most powerful sex organ that you have is your brain.
– Lifelong love does not happen by chance, it’s something that must be worked out by two individuals working together.
– Three practices that meaningful marriages practice to have lifelong love:
1. Practice meaningful touch. This is the language of passion. Successful marriages are diligent to practice meaningful touch.
2. Complement your spouse daily. Complements feel good, both to give and to receive.
3. Continue dating Love does not sustain itself, it takes time and effort. Schedule lunches together or special time together.
– Not listening to your spouse or your marriage. We have a habit of not letting them finish their idea or jumping to conclusions. Love is cultivated. Listen not just to the story they’re sharing but to the feelings that come along with what they’re saying.
– Unconditionally accept. Your spouse should not have to walk on egg shells thinking that if they do not do something exactly how you like it there will be a blowup or they’ll not be loved.
– Focus on what you have in common instead of the differences. Instead of thinking or stating that you like sweets and they like salty, talk about how you are both involved in a specific area, both enjoy a specific hobby, etc.
– After three doctors studied over 6,000 marriages and 3,000 divorce, they concluded that when a couple has determination to get through something, they almost always do. Commitment is the mortar that holds them together.
– Happiness in marriage has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with will.
– Life always has un-forseen circumstances that will come your way, and as a couple you have to determine that no matter what, you will get through them.
– Blaming your spouse for things just takes the responsibility off of yourself and will not solve any problems.
– Marriage was never meant to make you happy, you are supposed to make your marriage happy.
– Couples report that the number one problem in their marriage is the breakdown of communication. Whether you sync or swim in your marriage will depend on your communication skills.
– It is so important to learn how to communicate so that your spouse will listen and how to listen so that your spouse can communicate.
– Nonverbal communication consists of 58% of the communication. The tone in which you say it consists of 35% and only 7% consists of the words that you say.
– The best way to know how your spouse feels is to put yourself in their shoes. That is empathy and will help you understand them.
– The communication skills can be narrowed down to six tools:
1. Make “I” statements, not “you” statements.
2. Practice reflective listening.
3. Understand and accept the differences between men and women.
4. Apologize when necessary.
5. Power down and get off line.
6. Communicate through touch.
– Communication is not what you say but what your partner understands what you said.
– Conflict is inevitable in a relationship, but we have to learn to fight in a fair way.
1. Do not run from strife. Avoiding it or not talking about it will not solve the problem. We have to talk about it.
2. Choose your battles carefully. Although love may be blind, marriage is like a magnifying glass. Couples cannot decide on what movie to watch, what to eat, where to go, etc. Learn what can and should be changed as well as learning what should be overlooked. So before you gripe about something, ask yourself if it is worth starting a fight over. Some things are gender issues, some things should be overlooked and something should really be changed.
3. Define the issue clearly. Before you fight, make sure you are clear about what you’re fighting about – is the argument really about something that happened yesterday or is this a real issue?
4. State your feelings directly. Do not be general, tell your spouse your exact feelings and why.
– It is not so important how you started the argument as it is important how you exit the argument. Learn to defuse the argument instead of keeping it going.
– A couple that prays together will almost always get through problems and have a better marriage.
– While praying with each other is important in marriage, praying for each other is just as important.