Last night Colby and I went to our weekly couples group and it was awesome! Pastor David has been teaching on Proverbs but this week he took a break and gave some basic-and some not so basic-marriage training. I took notes like I always try to do but last night was so good and I ended up taking 5 pages of notes, so since it was so good and I wrote down so much I thought i'd blog about it for anyone else who might need to hear it as much as I did. Of course since this is the first time i've written out something like this I won't be able to say it as well as PD did but since I wrote down so much of what he said hopefully i'll be able to get the basic concept of what he taught across!
"The marriage relationship is a two way street"
There is so much teaching out there about marriage and so many views and perspectives both christian and non-christian but the most important thing to remember when listening to or reading anything about marriage is all teaching must come from and be biased on God's perspective of marriage. After all He is the one who created marriage so why would any other perspective even be considered? We hear all the time that "the 2 shall become one" and that's very true and something that has to be remembered, but the flip side of that is you are still two people with two desires, two needs and two dreams. You have to recognize that you are two individuals before you can act and move as one.
There are 9 different keys that we need to remember when thinking of and acting as two different people.
Communication: You are two people and both of you need communication.
This is so important-probably the most important-thing to remember and put into practice. Communication is absolutely vital in order to make you marriage work. Girls need communication, it really isn't done just to bug our husbands (although it can seem like that at times), it's something we actually need. But what a lot of guys don't understand is how much they need it too. Guys need communication because in that communication is the information needed to make it through another year. So often when women try to communicate we let our emotions get all revved up and we get super excited-whether in a good way or a negative-and once those emotions get all worked up it can be easy for men to shut down and tune out. It's so important for men to not do that! You have to learn to move past the emotions and listen to the information because once you do that you'll be able to get down to the root of the issue and really start to get somewhere. But women have to remember to give your husbands a break every now and then, you can't have a 2 hour conversation and expect your husband to stay interested the whole time with no breaks! If you want him to stay aware of the conversation throw a few bathroom breaks in every now and then. :o) Conversation goes both ways though, it should never be one sided-you both have to talk and you both have to listen! If you want your marriage zapped with power learn to listen to and understand each other!
Affection: You are two people and both of you need affection.
In marriage you are faced with so many challenges but the greatest challenge in your marriage is making your spouse feel loved. When you were dating you took the time to make them feel special, you studied them and learned what they liked and didn't like. You learned what their favorite food was, their favorite sport, their favorite flower and all those little things. But often times once a couple gets married they think that's it, they never need to learn anything else about their spouse but that's not the case. You have to study your spouse! There's a very good chance that your wife's favorite flower isn't a rose anymore but is now a daisy, or your husband used to like football but has now gotten into basketball. Take the time to learn those things and be interested in what your spouse is interested in. Find ways in your everyday life to make your spouse feel loved, valued and treasured. Figure out how they feel loved and make an effort to do those things for them whether it's giving them a hug after a long day or taking out the trash without giving them a hard time.
Intimacy: You are two people and you both need intimacy.
It's so important to remember that intimacy is not just about getting what you want and then moving on. Again, you have to study your spouse, find out how your spouse's body works. Doing that will greatly enhance your marriage. One thing that girls need to remember in dealing with this issue is that as much as we crave and need communication, guys crave and need sex. However that's also something that guys need to remember when thinking about communication. Ok enough about that uncomfortable subject and moving right along! :o)
Respect: You are two people and you both need respect.
The first thing to remember about respect is that your spouse doesn't have to earn your respect, you are to respect them simply because they are your spouse. If your having a hard time respecting them give the situation to God and let Him go to work. Respect is so important to men, they crave respect from their wives. If their wife doesn't respect them it's easy for them to feel like no one will respect them and that's a hard thing to deal with. In fact you can give your husband as much sex as he wants but if you don't respect him that won't even matter. Respect their work, whether in the home or outside the home. Men have to respect the work your wife does in the house, and women have to respect the work that men put in at their jobs.
Rest: You are two people and you both need rest.
Each of you need to make time for each other to rest. It's easy to think that your job is the harder of the two but that's not the issue, the fact is that whether you work in the home or outside the home you're working and you need to have time of rest. Also men, if your wife works outside the home understand that she needs help once she gets home. There is no reason that she should work a full time job and come home to cook dinner, clean up dinner, take care of the kids and clean the house all while you watch tv! Make sure you're not expecting more of your spouse than you are of yourself.
Recreation: You are two people and you both need recreation.
As kids you played and as teens you played, as adults remember to take time to play. Find something you like to do and have fun "playing". If you like fishing, make time to go fishing. If you like gardening, make time to garden. If you like golf, make time to golf. If you like scrap booking, make time to scrapbook. If you only ever work it's very easy to get burnt out, you have to take time to relax, unwind and just play.
Intellectual exercise: You are two people and you both need intellectual exercise.
When you graduate high school or college it's easy to think that you're done learning but the fact is you never need to stop learning. Once you're married you need to learn how to be married. Once you have kids you need to learn how to raise kids. During your carrier you'll need to learn new aspects of that carrier. Find books to read, people to listen to and things to study on a regular basis-just be sure you mentally exercise on a regular basis. Never stop learning, when you stop learning life is over.
Prayer: You are two people and you both need prayer.
Matthew 18:19-20 says "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." The most powerful thing you can do in your marriage is to pray together, the power of that prayer is phenomenal! Come together on a regular basis and physically pray together. If you have a pile of bills, come together and pray over them. If you're having trouble with your kids, come together and pray over them. If you have life decisions to make, come together and pray over them. You have to have a personal prayer life but it's also very important to have a prayer life together. Learn to believe together for you life, your dreams and your goals. You have to keep God the center of your marriage, make sure he is a full 1/3 partner and remember that that is what it will take to make your marriage work!
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (The Message)
9-10 It's better to have a partner than go it alone.
Share the work, share the wealth.
And if one falls down, the other helps,
But if there's no one to help, tough!
11 Two in a bed warm each other.
Alone, you shiver all night.
12 By yourself you're unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn't easily snapped.