Attention We fall in love and get married. Then over the years, love deepens, the bond strengthens, but our feeling of marital satisfaction waxes and wanes. Marriage is like a beautiful garden, says Renee Colclough Hinson, Ph.D., executive director of The Association for Couples in Marriage Enrichment. "It requires skill and constant attention. If tended to, it will thrive, but if neglected, it will wither and die.“ http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=marriage+pictures&FORM=IGRE#focal=dada5739bd2151534f6212700f424d97&furl=http%3A%2F%2Fblackchristiannews.com%2Fnews%2Fimages%2Fmichelle-obama.black-women.marriage.jpg
It Takes Work — For All of Us "There is no couple that doesn't have to work hard at improving their relationship," says Sallie Foley, MSW, author of Sex Matters for Women and an instructor at the University of Michigan. “Believing that the good times will continue to roll on their own is setup for disappointment and disillusionment.”
Marriage Facts • Money. There never seems to be enough, or if there is, one person is upset about how the other spends it. • Sex. It's the reason 45 percent of couples seek marriage counseling. Usually, one partner desires sex more often and on different terms than the other.
Work. Partners have different role expectations about who does what within and outside of the home. Can you relate to this statement? • Children. Couples may disagree over how to raise and discipline children. What are some disagreements that might occur?
Positive Communicators A. John Gottman, University of Washington psychology professor says that happy couples use five times more positive behaviors in their arguments than negative ones. For instance, they draw on humor to relieve tension and pepper the conversation with expressions of affection to maintain calm.”
Positive Communicators B. Send "I" Messages. A good example is: "I'm concerned about the current state of affairs of home. Can we set aside some time to discuss our roles, responsibilities and chores around the house?" "You" statements are demanding, critical and controlling, but "I" statements are self-revealing and invite real listening and understanding. Does this make sense?
Positive Communicators C. Be Empathetic. Listen to your partner and give empathetic responses to the content of the message you're receiving. "I understand that you feel you are being taken for granted because you do most of the work.” You want to convey to your partner that you care and can see the problem through her or his eyes. How can this approach be applied?
Positive Communicators D. Think It Through. Come up with a solution you both can accept. This action will reinforce shared decision-making. Be sure to discuss the obstacles that may thwart achieving the solution and develop strategies to work around them. What are some good examples?
Positive Communicators E. Provide Feedback. "I really appreciate it when you take care of this work around the house. I don't feel like I have sole responsibility for everything." Positive feedback will encourage your partner to stick with the solution.
I Corinthians: 13:4-13 Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, love is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Prayer • We know that all of us need God’s blessing at all times. • Let us pray. Holy God our Father in Heaven. Nothing can separate us from your love. Bless our marriage to grow in mutual respect and in love for one another. By your Spirit, draw us closer to you. In your gracious name we pray. Amen.