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Posts Tagged ‘seven year itch’

His brow wrinkled in concern, Pastor Strutz revealed the results of our pre-marital personality tests. For every crest marked on my chart, Dave had a trough. If one area was my weakness, it was his strength. We were living proof of the old saying, “opposites attract”.

“Your differences could be a good thing…or not. How are you at communicating?”
“Oh, we’re great communicators,” I said.

Fast forward four months.  Dave and I had set up house in our first apartment–which was strategically located next to the railroad tracks.  (The managers conveniently forgot to tell us that when we signed the lease.)  Our decor was an eclectic mix of college-aged bachelor pad, family hand-me-downs, and bargain friendly purchases made on a newlywed budget.  Imagine a flag on one wall, a large wolf photo on the other, and a blue-and-white striped sofa in the middle of the living room.

One day when I was rearranging our wall hangings, Dave’s favorite framed piece of art–a work signed by the artist– slipped through my fingers.    Shards of glass lay scattered about my feet.  The frame was bent.  What have I done?  Dave’s going to be so upset.  I spent the rest of the afternoon dreading the moment of my husband’s arrival; imagining the worst.

At the sound of my husband’s footsteps I opened the door, offered a perfunctory kiss, and hurried to the laundromat below.  After folding a load or two of my own laundry–and offering to wash a neighbor’s darks–I finally made way back to our tiny home.

“I broke the picture.  I dropped it and now it’s ruined.”  The words sprang from my mouth as quickly as the tears spilled onto my cheeks.  “Is that what you’re upset about?  A picture?”  And, instead of being upset, my husband laughed.  A warm, I-love-you, it’s-not-a-problem sort of laugh. “We’ll just have it reframed, babe.”  “Oh, okay.”  Sniffle.  Sniffle.

Great at communicating?  Not me.

Even now, I sometimes struggle to express my feelings well.  I prefer sweeping things under the proverbial carpet.  But, my wonderful husband–being my opposite–thinks communication is great for a marriage.  And, he’s right.  No, I’ll never be as skilled a communicator as Dave, but I have learned a lot about  it through our years together.  Pastor Strutz might even be surprised to know our differences have been a good thing  (most of the time).

Three Important Communication Pointers

  • Pray together.  It’s tough to be angry if you are praying with and for each other.
  • Listen without interrupting.  This includes controlling your inner-monlogue–don’t prepare a rebuttal while you pause to “listen”.
  • Avoid trigger words.  Words like always and never are especially inflammatory when they’re attached to the word you.

What are your best communication tips?  Why not share them with us?

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart  be pleasing in your sight,  O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Psalm 19:13-14

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Then the LORD God said, “I see that it is not good for the man to be alone. I will make the companion he needs, one just right for him.  Genesis 2:18

Exotic flowers of every hue  filled the garden with their beauty while nightingales whistled a love song.  Admiring the innocence and perfection of the young couple, their Father smiled in approval.  Adam and Eve were married.

From the beginning, God intended marriage to bless the men and women joined in this one-of-a-kind, soul binding union.  We know, though, the simplicity of marriage was forever altered when the inaugural couple chose self before God.  Like the thorns that sprouted from the ground as a result of sin’s corruption, disharmony erupted in the fledgling relationship.  If you’re married, you’ve experienced this yourself–finger-pointing, fault-finding, or disappointment in one another.

Some have experienced marriage at its worst, others are struggling to hold fast to their vows, and a few are on a marriage mountaintop.  Whatever place you are in today–even this very moment–be encouraged.   While a husband and wife are meant to bless one another, true fulfillment comes from our relationship with our Heavenly Husband.  He is the one who can meet every need, relieve every worry, and love perfectly.

3 Action Steps You Can Take

    • Give thanks for your husband–Let God AND the man in your life know how you’ve been blessed because of him.  If you’re marriage is struggling, look each day for one positive thing he’s said or done that you can mention in appreciation.
    • Reach out to others–Couples need other people.  Don’t rely only on one another to meet the impossible task of fulfilling every need.  You’ll both be better equipped for marriage if you have friends.  Need guidance?  All couples do at some point.  Don’t be afraid to seek counsel from a couple you admire or even professional  assistance.
    • Perspective–As much as you may love your husband, have you thought about Him lately?  He loves you perfectly and completely.  If you’ve been let down by the hope of a marriage made in heaven, dear friend, then one day you will celebrate a relationship like none other–the bond shared between you and your Heavenly Husband.  He waits for you with open arms.  If you haven’t already, why not ask Him to be part of your life today?

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