Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Married Life: It's All That...{But It's Also More}

When you found the one who you confidently believe was purposed to be your mate for life - and then you enter into marriage and begin your life together....there is so much excitement in that, isn't there? Being married to a partner who you adore, and who adores you, is a beautiful thing. You anticipate filling your years with an abundant amount of happiness, great times, special moments, and unforgettable memories to cherish. Together you enjoy date nights, vacations, birthdays, holidays, celebrating life-changing milestones {a new home, a child, etc.} and then every year when your anniversary rolls around, you are reminded of your love for eachother, which has only continued to grow more and more as the years go on.

Sounds nice doesn't it?

But that's only a part of what married life is, and what it brings.

Married life is also a partnership in which sacrafices must be made, compromises must occur, quarrels will inevidatebly happen, and miscommunication will be had. Some days you may even feel under-appreciated, and sometimes the passion goes missing. Sometimes you will struggle, sometimes you will cry in frusteration and sometimes you will lay in bed wondering what will change or what will always stay the same.

You can still enjoy being married and still feel any of the above emotions at the same time. What that means is....

Married life is not a constant high.

Aware of this reality, last week I picked up a book that had been untouched on my bookcase for several years. The title of the book {which is from a Christian perspective} is called "20 Keys To A Happier Marriage" {by Mike Murdock}. The book had been gifted to us {when we got married} by one of Dele's groomsmen, who just recently got married himself.

When I inserted my nose into the pages of that book, I was deliberate about getting something out of it. I wasn't looking for recommendations on how to change my husband...I was focusing on myself - and how we could elevate our marriage even more. Simply put: You have to work at keeping the tank full in your marriage. And you have to be intentional about it.

The book was full of many good nuggets. I thought I would share with you some of the things that I highlighted:
  • Celebrate your marriage. Protect your marriage. Make your marriage the priority focus of your life.
  • Your home has an enemy. Anything good is despised by everything evil. So you have an invisible adversary.

  • Satan continually observes the plans of God. Anything receiving the attention of God instantly receives the attention of hell.

  • Using your weaknesses, the enemy inspires unrealistic expectations, and diverts your focus from servanthood to self-absorption. He fuels your imagination through television and relationships…until the presence of God is splintered and ceases to be the goal of your union.

  • Become the watchman over your home.

  • Invest significant time in visualizing the perfect atmosphere. What is the dream environment that you want to be in your home? Find pictures in magazines or books that clarify this inner photograph.

  • Choose four marriage conferences to attend annually. This preventative planning will prevent the decay of your relationship.

  • Make your church the center of your activities, interest, and time. Always make your spiritual life the first priority of your time and attention.

  • Invest time to listen, learn and evaluate the suggestions, needs, and desires of your mate and children. Listen long enough for the hidden emotions to be expressed. Listen carefully enough to collect sufficient understanding. Listen accurately so that you can assess the true needs of your mate…that nobody has been able to meet.

  • When you focus on the admirable differences of your mate, you will instantly generate hope, warmth and cheerfulness.

  • List 7 favorable qualities of your mate. Document them. Do not trivialize any of them. If you can list more, do so. If these qualities were missing, your life would certainly become painful…in a day.

  • Verbalize your recognition of those qualities to your mate and others. This births a climate of acceptance and caring where the seeds of love and loyalty can grow.

  • Anger is usually disappointment.

  • Prayer is reaching for divine assistance. Nothing impresses the heart of the Father more.

  • Establish a time to prayer together each morning.

  • Identify the person or method that satan uses to introduce you to anger, agitation or contention. Is it a tv show that stirs up jealousy, envy or fear? Is there a relationship that feeds conflict and unrest in your marriage? Pinpoint it honestly…then address it in the privacy of your prayer life.

  • Stay discreet about problems you are experiencing in your marriage. Bad news is remembered longer than good news. So years after you have resolved a conflict, others will continue to focus on it. The wise never discuss their problems with someone incapable of solving them. Your chosen confidante should be competent and discreet…with a proven history of competent counsel.

  • Invest time in discovering the goals, dreams, gifts and potential of your mate. Your mate is the gold mine divinely bestowed upon you. God gave you what you needed…not what you necessarily earned. You were attracted to the obvious and apparent. Their greatest legacy to you is hidden, invisible and will require serious and patient pursuit.
  • Do money-talks together routinely. Discuss all financial matters honestly and completely. Integrity matters. Pray over your goals, plans and opportunities to solve problems for others.

  • Define clearly your expectations of each other.

  • God designed marriage to be a safe haven in a dangerous world. When God links you with the mate of his choice, you will not have to live guarded, afraid and constantly in fear.

  • Play as hard as you work. The rhythm and regularity of your stress-free fun season will actually increase your productivity.

Together, my husband and I look forward to putting these things to practice and seeing our marriage flourish all the more.


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