Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Secrets to a Strong Marriage
by Cindy R. Williams
I would like to share a secret or two with you. They are tried and true simple things to do to create a stronger marriage.
Secret number one: There are no parachutes in a good marriage.
Secret number two: Put your spouse first.
What is a parachute in a marriage? It is your secret escape mechanism you keep just in case your spouse makes you mad, doesn't live up to your expectations, doesn't understand you . . . fill in the blank. It is there for you to use when the going gets tough---like an escape clause.
Get rid of it.
Make a promise to each other---a very serious---even sacred promise, that you will not ever strap a parachute to your back and bail out of the marriage. Then as disagreements and disappointments come---and they will come---you can admit that you love each other in spite of these challenges. You will get through this---together.
Issues arise, tempers flare, trust is tested, but if you have made a deep and clear promise that you are in it for the long hall, as in FOREVER, you will find that this attitude of no parachutes will help you get through the tough spots.
I often tell my husband of 23 years in the very middle of a disagreement that I am angry and hurt right now, but I love him and am committed to him forever without a parachute. Since he doesn't have a parachute either, we are truly stuck with each other. So we best love each other, come what may. Not a pretty way of putting it, but it is none the less true, and I wouldn't have it anyother way. The issues don't seem so insurmountable, and it gives us both a feeling of security. That doesn't mean we just let the issue go, but we rededicate ourselves to working it out, fixing it, growing and improving together.
The second secret is putting your spouse first. Easier said than done. There are so many things that take your time and pull at you. Some possible things are work, children, activities, sports, church callings, community responsibilites, PTSA, writing, housework, pets, errands, extended family, friends, neighbors . . . the list goes on and on.
So how do you put your spouse first?
You add them to your prayers, each and everyone. You write their name in your planner to remind yourself to do something to help them each day, or do and say something kind to them. You always, ALWAYS tell them you love them with a smile on your face, at least twice a day. Once in person,(if they are not out of town,) and the other can be through a text, email or the phone. Smiling is a critical part of this exercise. Smiling makes not only the recipient feel better, but the giver finds more joy. Smiles create a win/win situation.
Now there is one more thing that is very powerful in putting your spouse first. Gratitude. Tell your spouse how much you appreciate something he/she did that very day. Even if you are angry with your spouse. You may have to dig deep, but it truly is possible to find at least one thing to thank your sweetheart for. You will be amazed how much peace and feelings of kindness this will create in your marriage.
Now that you know the two simple, but very powerful secrets to a strong marriage, I must add that there really are a few good reasons in my book to end a marriage. They are adultery, physical or emotional abuse of you or your children, and severe selfishness. I know, I have faced all of those in my short first marriage and chose through much prayer and pondering to divorce and create a new life for myself and my first child. That, however, is a future blog. Suffice it to say that for now that other than these horribly destructive actions, the no parachute and putting your spouse first can take your marriage to a new, and stronger level.