After 7 years of marriage, I can confidently say that I have finally got it. These 7 powerful and practical lessons have helped to improve and keep my marriage.
However, it wasn’t always that way.
January 24, 2009, was an amazing day. I was so nervous(trying so hard not to show it to my soon- to- be spouse). But I was confident I was making the right decision.
Fast forward January 24, 2016 - waking up and reflecting on the past 7 years, I can confidently say that I have seen God at work in my marriage.
I can assure you, I do not have all the answers concerning marriage! And while I do believe we have a good marriage, it’s not in any way perfect. We still have a lot of growing to do.
However, I will still use this blog to humbly offer a few practice tips that I believe have been most impactful and significant to us in our 7 years of marriage.
I also realize that some of these tips may not apply to you, but I would encourage that you read through them, discuss them with your spouse and probably share it with someone you feel will benefit. Your marriage has the potential to be great.
Here are the 7 tips in no particular order.
- Keep God at the centre of your marriage.
- Develop the utmost respect for your spouse.
- Develop your hearing listening skills.
- Connect with your “Why”.
- Do not keep secrets from each other.
- Try to keep a teachable spirit.
- Maintain Date Nights.
1. Keep God at the centre of your marriage.
Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble. And on a cold night, two under the same blanket can gain warmth from each other. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. (Eccl. 4:9-12, NLT)
On my wedding day, the speaker, Bro Gbile Akanni spoke extensively on this passage. Click here to watch the whole message.
Marriage can be the MOST amazing experience that any human can have when spouses can work together with the Holy Spirit. At the same time, it can be the MOST devastating and emotionally torturing experience one can have when spouses do not work together.
The benefits of two working together is primarily for support when the other is weak or vulnerable and to fend off attacks from the devil which may come in numerous forms of temptations etc.
Another benefit of working together is for increased efficiency of labour.
When the two cords of the husband and wife are interwoven into the 3rd strand from God, then 3 are much better than two and guess what, even the devil cannot break what the Lord has joined together.
Your marriage begins to become more vulnerable when there is a weak-link in that cord. I am confident that God can NEVER be the weak link in my marriage. So, to maintain the bond, It is important that you invest in your relationship with the Lord.
2. Develop the utmost respect for your spouse
We all want to be respected, regardless of our sexes. I admit, I used to be a jerk. I used to think that respect was only needed by men and love by women (using Eph 5:33 as my reference resource). But now I know that both sexes want to be treated with respect - however men need it much more than the ladies (in my opinion).
You can communicate respect with your spouse even without uttering a word.
Here are few ways a husband feels disrespected by his wife.
- Not Trusting his judgement.
- Harsh and hurtful words.
- Insulting him.
- When she tries to "mother” him.
- Challenging his authority.
Here are a few ways a wife feels disrespected by her husband.
- When she feels her opinions don’t count in decision making.
- Having eyes for other women
- Not supporting her dreams and aspirations
- A Lazy husband
- Unengaged in conversations
Intentionally trying to avoid these will communicate to your spouse that you honour and respect them. Above all, respecting your spouse lets them know that they matter.
3. Develop your hearing listening skills.
There is a very strong difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is a function of “Anatomy” - While Listening is a function of "Intention"
"Hearing is simply the act of perceiving sound by the ear. If you are not hearing-impaired, hearing simply happens. Listening, however, is something you consciously choose to do. Listening requires concentration so that your brain processes meaning from words and sentences.” Source.
Hearing may just involve - the nods, the smiles and even a few “aaah” “huh”. Listening is not just about the words, but understanding the point of view, the expectations and feelings of the other person.
Listening never happens automatically and we are not wired to listen by default. Listening requires intention and takes a lot of practice. Listening also involves letting go your defenses.
Some of us learnt to listen the hard way.
Next week, I will conclude the remaining 4 lessons.