Building a Healthy Marriage
If a man is angry at either parent and hasnít resolved this, he will inevitably take out his anger on his wife and children. The same principle applies to every unresolved relational problem from the past. So, to build and sustain a healthy marriage in the present, it is imperative that we resolve the emotions in us that were caused by any impaired significant relationship from the past.
Fourth, be forgiving and let go of grudges. When couples lash out and hurt each other or withdraw when they feel hurt or angry, a wall of resentment and fear builds up between themóa wall that blocks out love and makes closeness impossible. As the Bible teaches, "Don't let the sun go down with you still angry get over it quickly."1 All negative feelings need to be resolved as quickly as possible so forgiveness can be given and closeness maintained.
Fifth, establish good communications. At the center of effective relationships is effective communications, which is sharing not only what we think, but much more what we feel. Eighty percent of close relating is at the feeling level so we need to learn how to share honestly what we are genuinely feeling without blaming the other person for these feelings. This is the heart and soul of intimacy.
Sixth, grow in maturity. Selfishness, blaming others for our problems, overreacting, being oversensitive and getting our feelings hurt too easily, insecurity, lack of healthy boundaries, being defensive, expecting perfectionism in yourself or others, are all symptoms of immaturity. All are destroyers of meaningful relationships. To have a healthy marriage we need to take ownership of and responsibility for resolving all of our personal problems and go on to maturity.
Research has shown that one
of the main qualities in
relationships that last is the
measure of spiritual
commitment each partner has.
Seventh, build commitment. Among other things, love is a commitment of one imperfect person to another imperfect person. Everybody has some faults, but as each partner admits his/hers and is committed to overcoming them and is willing to accept his/her partner with their faults, a healthy and strong relationship can be built.
Eighth, have realistic expectations. I know one woman who has been divorced twice who says that she just canít find a man to measure up to her father. Chances are that she never will. The Hollywood hoax hasn't helped either. The silver screen, as do glamour magazines, can hopelessly distort our view of beauty, sex, and love and leave us with totally unrealistic expectations. To have a real marriage we need to get real!
Ninth, have similar interests and purposes. Over the years when one partner is going one direction and the other in a totally opposite direction, little by little, they slowly drift apart. All interests don't need to be the same, but it is important to develop enough common interests that you enjoy together.
Tenth, last but not least, develop a strong spiritual commitment. Research has shown that one of the main qualities in relationships that last is the measure of spiritual commitment each partner has. We humans are much more than intellectual and physical beings. We are also spiritual beings with an innate need for God.
Committing your lives together to God as a couple and trusting him to guide you makes a solid foundation for any relationship. Add the preceding nine steps to this commitment and you will have a much greater chance of not only making it together, but having a very happy marriage relationship.
1. Ephesians 4:26 (TLB).
5. All articles on the ACTS International website are by Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise noted.
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