True Power

True Power

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Marriage: A Labor Of Love

If you are a visitor of Facebook and look at the profile information of anyone's page; you will notice a place where one can declare what is the status of their RELATIONSHIP.

I usually laugh when someone has "It's Complicated" this could be married, single, datig, shacking, stalking, on 12th breakup, waiting for him/her to notice me, and just pretending to be in a relationship. People do not seem to mind putting "it's complicated" as the status of their personal life. But, when it truly comes to MARRIAGE people seem to expect for it to be perfect, joyous at all times, and a road on easy street. THIS IS FAR FROM THE TRUTH.

WATCH YOUR WORDS WHEN YOU ARE MARRIED

A careless word may kindle strife;
A cruel word may wreck a life.
A bitter word may hate instill;
A brutal word may smite and kill.
A gracious word may smooth the way;
A joyous word may light the day.
A timely word may lessen stress;
A lovely word may heal and bless.

Notice the poem states to watch your words when you are married. I believe a couple needs to be prepared for marriage before the "I do's." Yes, I am for pre-marital counseling and I think the church has been lacking in this department along with parents who want their child's marriage to have a better chance at success. We plan out our careers, bragging to others what we are going to be when we grow up. We should be preparing to be a good spouse, yes, even bragging how wonderful a marriage we are preparing; to the best of our ability.

Let me begin by telling you what pre-marital counseling is not:
1. It is not a guarentee to a happy and successful marriage.
2. It is not everything you will need to have to have a happy and successful marriage
3. It is not talking you out of getting married.
4. It is not the counselor taking responsibility for your preparation and choices.
5. It is not personal counseling issues that may need to be addressed in another setting.

Pre-marital counseling is:
1. A careful, honest look at some beliefs, activities, and issues that lie at the heart of marriage.
2. It is an opportunity to seek information and interact with your future spouse and/or counselor in a positive way.
3. It is a resource of ideas and activities that can be used by the couple outside of the counseling sessions to strengthen understanding and intimacy.
4. It is an occasion to address issues that the couple may find difficult to discuss alone.

A good pre-marital counselor will address, encourage and allow a couple to voice how they feel/believe about the main issues that cause marriages to fail: MONEY, SEX, FAMILY, CAREERS, RELIGION, and the expected ROLES each will play in the marriage.

It is always surprising to me, and yes I am guilty too, that people madly in love do not even talk about how they feel about sex or religion before getting married. Then once married, when these topics are PUSHED into the forefront by unexpected situations or circumstances, conflict arises and each person had no idea their mate believed a certain way about the issue.

I honestly believe a couple intent on getting married will not take the time to go to pre-marital counseling because there IS a fear of "What if I find out something horrible about this person I want to marry so badly." They decide to deal with things later because they are so in love and don't want anything to mess up the relationship. I would be afraid of finding out what people call a "deal breaker" when I was so close to marrying someone I loved. But, if your love is not strong enough to find out the true essence of a person's thought process and beliefs before marriage, it will not be strong enough to last through living in and out those beliefs with your spouse. Getting it out on the table in the beginning strengthens you as a couple allowing you to learn how to figure things out together in honesty.

Pre-marital counseling is your first step at bonding intimately on a deeper level. Many marriages fail due to a lack of intimacy. We all know SEX is not and should not be the only intimate experience shared between a married couple.

1. Sexual intimacy: more than the bringing together of bodies or sensual arousal, the experience of self-abandon in the merging of two persons
a. Sex im marriage can be a self-focused act about what the individual gets out of it rather than what the two are sharing in it.
b. 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 warns of a selfish attitude toward sex that is sure to hinder mutual intimacy.
2. Emotional intimacy: deep awareness and sharing of significant meanings and feeling.
3. Intellectual intimacy: closeness from sharing the world of ideas.
4. Aesthetic intimacy: deep sharing of experiences of beauty.
5. Recreational intimacy: sharing the joy of leisure time activities, hobbies, and play.
6. Crisis intimacy: standing together in the major and minor tragedies of life; sharing external and internal burdens such as illness, accident or unemployment.
7. Spiritual intimacy: sharing faith, commitment, love, and service to Jesus Christ; sharing the ultimate meanings and concerns of life.

I guess you are saying "goodness, if I have all of those acts of intimacy, I'll be spending all of my time with him/her!" Now you're getting it. When God said that you become one - He kind of meant you become as one. Now there will be times for friends and times you will want your space, but, you should always prefer (not have to actually, but would not mind it) to spend time with your spouse.

I have seen married couples who drive to the same events in separate cars. I have seen married couples where she is always at events with a sister or mother but never the husband. The word COUPLE could never define there marriage because you never see them together. INTIMACY will be the key to a successful marriage and hashing out the pitfalls early will open a door to better intimacy. But marriage will need a dedicated effort to maintain intimacy.

MYTHS ABOUT INTIMACY
1. Intimacy is being able to read each other's minds.
2. Sex is intimacy and intimacy is sex
3. Intimacy will grow automatically once it's started
4. Love and behavior are not related
5. Someone either loves you or not! and that is that
6. Knowing everything about the other person is essential to intimacy
7. The relationship can grow only when we feel good about each other.

CONDITION THAT PROMPT INTIMACY TO GROW
1. Intimacy grows as couples dare to risk greater openess
2. Intimacy grows as couples learn (or learn again) to be emotionally present for each other
3. Intimacy grows as couples develop and maintain a high degree of caring for each other
4. Intimacy grows in a climate of trust based on commitment to fidelity and continuity.

If you and your intended are afraid to go to pre-marital counseling; that is a red flag. YOU MAY NOT BE AS CLOSE AND INTIMATE AS YOU THINK AND DEFINITELY YOU MAY HAVE PROBLEMS COMMUNICATING TOGETHER. If one of you believe you do not need pre-marital counseling; that is a red flag. NO ONE HAS ALL OF THE ANSWERS AND SHOULD BE WILLING TO SEEK GUIDANCE AND SUPPORT IN MAJOR ISSUES/DECISIONS IN LIFE SUCH AS MARRIAGE. YOU WILL BE MAKING A LIFETIME OF MAJOR DECIONS TOGETHER. THIS FIRST ONE CAN SHOW HOW OTHERS WILL GO.

The Bible tells mothers to teach their daughter how to be wives. This seems to be an lost art. God knew a good husband and a good wife had to be taught not just left to chance. Teach your children marriage is a labor of love. It has to be worked on from start to finish. The state of marriage has deteriorated for many reasons, but preparation can revive this institutional relic.

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