Marriage relationships are made up of 3 different entities, and it’s vital that you understand their differences so you won’t suffer needless pain and frustration. There is you, there is your spouse and there is the marriage itself. The marriage is a different entity then you or your spouse. The marriage is a team with it’s own set of characteristics and requirements to prevent it from breaking down.
But why do these distinctions matter so much?
1. They matter because in order for a marriage to grow and get stronger, (a marriage is a team remember), it needs to become a top priority for the married couple. The marriage needs to be put first.
2. One of the most common reasons for marital breakdown is that all kinds of things like children, work, in-laws, hobbies and friends, end up getting a higher billing on the list of the priorities for each spouse. It’s common for couples to be shocked by the amount of…I’m about to say a four letter word…work, that is involved in being married and making things work smoothly. (Again…that four letter word…sorry.)
There is a belief that building a marriage should just happen naturally, but consider a couple things if you will. Both spouses are different people, and with those differences comes potential friction regarding all kinds of things like, what colour to paint the house, how to save money or what’s acceptable for the kids to watch for TV shows.
Add to that, the fact that both spouses were brought up in different households by different parents who had their own sets of rules about, cleanliness of the house, meal times and where to vacation. Put the marriage first. Consider how your actions will impact your marriage.
For example, I can reduce the amount of work my wife has to do by pitching in to keep the house clean, which gives us more time to spend together. One of the top complaints married women have regarding their marriage has to do with the division of house chores. Most female standards for cleanliness are far higher than the typical male standards. I need to bring up my standards, to consider my wife’s positon, so the home will be a more peaceful place to be. If my wife pays attention to her need for exercise as a means of offsetting stress, then our marriage benefits because I’m not trying to overcompensate for her fatigue and low emotional mood.
Diet is also very important. If I’m flippant about what I put in my mouth and therefore more prone to sickness, this puts an extra burden on my wife that could be avoided if I was to consider the long term effect my actions have on others close to me.
Put the marriage first. If you have children, the ideal thing you can provide them is a set of parents that are committed to making the marriage work. Commitment to the marriage means setting aside time to talk about the relationship, making plans and negotiating workable agreements. Patience is required from both of you because planning in an on-going process. Many of patterns of conduct that exist in your marriage have existed for quite a while, so it’s going to take a bit of time for new and better habit patterns to develop.
Put the marriage first. To anyone who has been paying attention…women’s and men’s need for sex are very different. 2 times a week is the male minimum for sex, preferably 3. The typical female’s desire for sex is not nearly this high. That being said, at the core of a male’s commitment to his wife is the promise of regular sex. He promises to be faithful to her, and the core of this faithfulness is sexual. Making sex for your man a part of the schedule can go a long way to preventing your marriage relationship from breaking down. It matters little to a man if the sex is planned. One of his primary ways of being affirmed by his wife is through sex. Sex with his wife helps him to know that he is loved and accepted by her.
Make a decision to learn what different teams to do get stronger. These could be work teams, sports teams or marriage teams. Good teams chart a course regarding what they want collectively to accomplish. Although each member of a productive team is responsible for their own personal outcomes, they know it’s important to achieve both individual and team goals.
Put the marriage first.