My husband and I have been a couple for over 20 years. This month we will celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary. 19….yikes!!!! How could this be possible when I’m only 25 years old? We have family members as well as friends who ask…How do you manage marriage for so many years and you guys continue to smile and genuinely seem happy to be together? Our answer is always the same…….we are happy to be together!!! Mutual respect, trust for one another as well as positive communication goes a long way. The response is usually “that is easier said than done.” Yes, sometimes this is true…I will be the first to admit that marriage is hard work. Usually, not as hard when you find “Mr. or Mrs. Right” and don’t settle for “Mr. or Mrs. Right Now.” My husband and I were friends before we entered into our relationship. We have spent the majority of our adult lives together. The respect and trust were there from the beginning and has grown…….The communication, on the other hand is a work in progress!!! There may be something to Men are From Mars and Women are from Venus. However, we both still agree that we are worth the work!!! And I would not change a thing…..it has made us who we are today and we have two beautiful kiddos from our union. And, yes I would absolutely do it all over again!!!
Conflicts are a healthy part of marriage if handled correctly. We should not bottle up our anger, but openly discuss the problems in our marriages. In marriage we have to give each other the right to complain. Do not go to bed in anger because this is when the enemy will come in and bring destruction in your marriage. Please watch the following 5 minute video about daily anger by Pastor Jimmy Evans from Marriage Today.
If you are married I challenge you to set aside at least twenty minutes a day to sit down and talk with your spouse. Communication is so important in marriage. When a husband and wife are not communicating with each other problems usually enter into the marriage. That happens because it gives the devil time to talk to each spouse separately. He will sow seeds of suspicion in your marriage along with doubt and lies. The silent treatment between two spouses is an invitation to trouble. Please don’t use silent treatment as a punishment, but rather make it a point to communicate to each other every day.
Have you ever been in an argument and decided to concede? You offer an apology but it feels like it fell on deaf ears? The person didn’t offer forgiveness and continued to fight in a war when you had already surrendered? Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas describe this disconnect may be due to you and that someone may speak a different language of apology. In their book, “The Five Languages of Apology,” they discuss these apologies:
Love Language #1: Expressing Regret — I AM SORRY
When offering an apology, concentrate on how your behavior caused the other person pain.
For example, “I’m sorry I disappointed you,” “I’m sorry I violated your trust,” or “I’m sorry I hurt you.”
Love Language #2: Accepting Responsibility — I WAS WRONG
When offering an apology, admit that your behavior was wrong.
For example, “I made a mistake,” “It was my fault,” or “There is no excuse for what I did.”
Love Language #3: Making Restitution — I WANT TO MAKE IT RIGHT
When offering an apology, make right the wrong you committed.
For example, “I want to make up for what I’ve done.”
Love Language #4: Genuinely Repenting — I WON’T DO IT AGAIN
When offering an apology, make a plan for change.
For example, “What can I do to rebuild your trust in me?”
Love Language #5 Requesting Forgiveness – I SEEK FORGIVENESS
When offering an apology, ask for forgiveness to show you understand that you were wrong.
For example,” I’m sorry that I yelled at you. It was wrong, and I ask for your forgiveness.”
So, how do you figure out what someone else’s primary apology language is — ask them!
Ask them – Describe when someone gave you an apology that you felt was unsatisfactory. What was lacking?
Ask them — Describe what you think is the most important part of an apology.
Ask them — Describe what you thinks needs to be said in order to offer forgiveness.
The basic difference between being assertive and being aggressive is how our words and behavior affect the rights and well-being of others.–Sharon Anthony Bower
Sometimes we are un aware of our own power and influence on others. Our professional roles and personal roles as parents or elders in the family create a power differential with others. I wonder if God determines our level of power and influence on how we manage our current position personally and professionally. How does being a Christian influence how we approach even those that seem to be against us? It is against the cultural grain to show love towards people that we may be in opposition to. I am praying God will help me to be more aware of how my words and actions affect my communication with others.
I was talking with a couple of my girlfriends a few weeks back……(two single…one divorced the other never married) and two married. The topic for most of this conversation was dating and how to find a “good man.” They turn to me, since I have been married for almost two decades, (yep the longest in this group) for answers/suggestions. Naturally, I gave the answer I always give…..love takes time and the more you try to rush it the longer it takes…..unless of course you are willing to SETTLE!!! And of course I got the answer I always get…”that’s easy for you to say…you’re married to a good man.” I’ve been married 19 years and am secure in my relationship with my husband. My husband and I met at school and were friends first and it gradually turned into love. Another married friend met her husband via an online dating site. Both of my single friends are dating people they met online. All three think online dating is the best thing ever. Basically, what I get from the conversation is that my friends are lazy and do not want to do the work!!! They want to weed out the bad per a computer based on questionnaire. What if the incompatible one is “the one?” Call me old fashion but if you limit your options aren’t you still settling? Online dating maybe the easier way but that does not necessarily make it better. What do you think?