“It takes more than love to keep a marriage”

This statement is often echoed by seasoned married couples when discussing marriage. Newlywed couples quickly realize that the brightness of his smile and the beauty in her eyes are overlooked when faced with unforeseen obstacle in a marriage. However, many couples still enter into marriage haphazardly, starting a lifetime journey with only preparation for a weekend get-a-way. I was primarily motivated to write “What Makes a Strong Marriage ” a pre-marital curriculum to provider a deeper look into marriage.

I would like to share with you what my father spoke to me when I was preparing for my wedding. He stated, “After your wedding, you have to live.” Although he was referring  finance, his advice can be applied when preparing for a new life as husband and wife. There are many components that makes a strong union. A strong marriage is a one that is able to withstand the unforeseen obstacles. Is your marriage able to stand through the test of time? The greatest example of a strong marriage is displayed  through Jesus Christ and The Church. It is through that example that we learn how to obtain and keep a strong marriage. As we study Christ‘s love and dedication to us, we learn how to love and dedicate ourselves to our spouse.

 

Open the church doors.

The doors of the church must remain open especially in times of despair and confusion. Yesterday, when I arrived to church for prayer, I witnessed individuals aimlessly walking around the neighborhood. Their jobs were closing and they were geographically separated from their family and friends. People are starting to feel anxious, displaced and even abandoned.

The church is gifted with a perfect opportunity to minister to the local community. This is not the time to close the doors of the church.

Open the doors of the church by showing the love of Christ to those in need.
Social -distancing is a new concept for the church and families. We are learning how to adjust to a new way of life.

For those who are going through this transition alone; those in nursing homes, independent living facilities, and hospitals, we can show the love of Jesus Christ with small yet effective gestures. Take a few minutes to make a phone call, drop off flowers, a note, or a care package.

When I returned home from prayer, there was a white envelope taped on my front door. It was addressed “spread love”. I removed it, returned to my car to read it. Inside was the scripture, Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding’. This was so uplifting to know that although churches have refrained from traditional worship service; the church doors remain open. The love of Jesus Christ is shining brighter than ever.
Don’t hide your light under a bushel. Open the doors of the church.

Why is marriage so Hard?

1) Lack of forgiveness
Lack of forgiveness not only hardens your heart, but it weakens the foundation of your marriage. Ask God to teach you how to forgive.
2) Selfishness
In a marriage, it is important to consider your spouse and his/her perspectives -Remember marriage is a partnership-you have to work together in order to cross the finish line.
3) Impatience
Marriage is a process and it take time (years). Don’t settle for a quick fix, invest time in your marriage. You both will receive a great return on your investment.
4) Pointing the finger
We all have flaws. Before you point out your spouse’s imperfections, focus on your areas of improvement.
5) Lack of Prayer
When you’re not at peace with yourself, you can not be at peace with those around you. Take out a few minutes of your day to prayer/ meditate. Allow your mind time to rest, you don’t have to figure it all out today.

Talk to me…

 

Once a couple is married maintaining effective communication can become an obstacle. Although couples speaks the same language, it becomes difficult to understand what your spouse is really trying to say. Communication is often hindered when couples are over-whelmed, over-worked and simply stressed.  Dealing with issues such as finances, job, children, and sickness can become taxing and contribute to your spouse losing motivation to sit down and talk.

In a marriage, conversations drastically change from conversations held while dating. The conversation shifts from future goals to the sting of reality. Here are a few tips to help couples create a peaceful environment and keep the lines of communication open.

 

  1. Break free from the daily routine and get out of the house. Being in a new environment can change your perspective and often spark up a new conversation.
  2. LISTEN to your spouse. When your spouse feels as if they are not being heard it is expressed in    different ways; your spouse may become easily irritated or short tempered. Take time to hear  what your spouse is trying to say, even if think you have heard it before. Listening does not mean that you agree but it can show that their voice is being heard and what they have to say is important.

3.  Provide your spouse some quiet time to gather their thoughts (away from the children). Confronting your spouse at the wrong time will only cause them to shut down.   Wisdom is not only knowing what to say, but when to say it.

4. Don’t make finance a part of your everyday conversation. Schedule a time weekly or monthly to discuss budget, bill and your financial future. Discussing finance, especially when the family is having financial difficulties can increase the stress level in the home.

5. PRAY TOGETHER! There is power in unity. Lift up your concerns before the Lord together!When you join hands it united you and your spouse and confirms that you both are on the same team. While you are praying, ask God to teach you how to communicate and love your spouse.