Marriage And Home

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Forgiveness is extremely important for marriages to last. Unforgiveness is described as a “Weapon of Mind Destruction”. Someone else says “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”. Harboring unforgiveness especially towards your spouse is a slow death strategy. Always give room for consideration. Steven Covey called it “Empathy” – putting yourself in the other person’s shoe. Developing a sense of humor is critical to a lasting marriage. Don’t take everything too seriously, look for the humor side.

CE5XA6 A happy African American man and woman couple in their thirties sitting at home together smiling and cuddling

Marriage and the Home

I want to deviate this week to discuss a rather soft but extremely important topic: Marriage and the home. That’s because today, 20 years ago (May 1, 1997) this six-footer non-practicing model said “I Do” to me and we have had a lovely relationship and that’s because we have been each other’s best friend, soul mate, helpmeet, lovers, and more importantly have a spiritual relationship and apply spiritual intelligence. I look forward to our 70th wedding anniversary in good health and in love.

What happens at home between couples, affect the children and consequently the larger society. If we can get the home right, then our country can also get better. So, are there secrets? I am impressed to share what has been our guiding principles in the past 20 years. This is not an indication that we are perfect but rather good work in progress.

The first lessons we learnt as a couple were as follows:

  • Marriage is about obedience, love & sacrifice.
  • Marriage is the only school where there is no graduation date.
  • Marriage is the only school you get your certificate at the beginning and not at the end because you are expected to work hard to make it succeed.
  • Every day in marriage is continuous assessment, and there are occasions of unannounced tests (crisis), since you already have the certificate you are expected to work hard to pass the tests.

Marriage is therefore not easy; it requires a whole lot of work. We approached it from the C’s of marriage. The foundation we realized is having a spiritual connection either you are a Christian, Muslim or any other religion. We being Christians approached it from our beliefs. I don’t intend to impose my religion (apologies to anyone who feels offended), but I can only share what I’ve experienced.

The C’s of Marriage

  • Christ not Crisis – Where there is a solid spiritual foundation it helps to overcome crisis when they come because they do come. It would be deceit to say there are no crisis. However, spirituality or spiritual intelligence helps to bring in the maturity required to manage the crisis when they come. We also learnt to discipline ourselves by ensuring that the sun does not set over crisis. That however didn’t start on a day one or year one, but we matured into it after some years.
  • Camels not Chameleons – Camels are massive animals but willing to stoop when you want to ride them. The Camel is humble and predictable. Humility on both parts of the couple is important for marriages to survive and last. The chameleon though a tiny animal is arrogant and inconsistent. It changes its color with the environment and as such unpredictable. For marriages to succeed there is the need for humility and predictability which translates to trust.
  • Cadets not commanders – Cadets take orders while commanders give orders. Whenever there are two commanders in a ship, the ship is destined to sink. Both parties must be willing to listen and take orders. Where some orders may sound seemingly “unreasonable” it is better to back off first and discuss later. To fight fire with fire weakens the bond in the home. This is not advocating submission or submissiveness but rather understanding. The good book says “a soft answer turns away wrath”.
  • Commendation not condemnation – We should learn to commend each other and appreciate each other. Whenever one party does something good, have a word of commendation and appreciation. This should also extend to the children. We are always very fast to criticize. The perfect ones don’t exist, so if you are looking for the perfect partner, you may need to relocate to heaven.
  • Companionship not Contenders – Marriage is about companionship not contention. The reason why some couples fight is because they see themselves as contenders instead of companions. At times, it gets worse where some women make more money than their spouses and see that as a reason to contend. Where resources are managed as a commonwealth it helps to ease contentions. This is a tough one especially resources, however, if spirituality is genuine, it helps to solve this problem. Issues such as budgeting, financial management, and investments are dealt with as a team.
  • Consideration not Consequences – Once we appreciate we are not perfect, it is easy to show consideration for mistakes made by your partner. Two people from two different backgrounds are bound to have differences and make mistakes. Conflicts range from common toothpaste usage to kitchen or table setting. When there are mistakes, we tend to look for consequences; how do I get him or her back?

Forgiveness is extremely important for marriages to last. Unforgiveness is described as a “Weapon of Mind Destruction”. Someone else says “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”. Harboring unforgiveness especially towards your spouse is a slow death strategy. Always give room for consideration. Steven Covey called it “Empathy” – putting yourself in the other person’s shoe. Developing a sense of humor is critical to a lasting marriage. Don’t take everything too seriously, look for the humor side.

  • Caring not Carelessness – Wherever there is love there is caring. Neglecting each other’s emotion is carelessness, and it gradually erodes trust and weakens love. Caring on the other hand inspires hope, builds trust, and rekindles love.
  • Communication not Concealment – According to Steven Covey communication is the “transfer of information and understanding”. Effective communication is at the heart of every successful marriage. The challenge with communication is our inability to listen. Most of the times we listen to respond rather than listening to understand. Steven Covey lists five (5) levels of listening: Ignore Listening, Partial Listening, Selective Listening, Attentive Listening and Empathic Listening. Women are attentive listeners while men are selective listeners. An understanding of these differences helps spouses to manage each other’s communication challenges. Because women are attentive listeners; five years down the line they still remember the things their spouses said, whereas the man may not remember some conversations, so you keep reminding him. That’s why some men forget some important dates they should not (lol). The where, the when and how information is passed is also critical. Non-verbal (body language) is usually about 65% of what we say.

Someone gave a recipe for love and it goes thus:

Recipe for Love

  • 4 Cups of love
  • 5 Spoons of hope
  • 2 Cups of loyalty
  • 7 Cups of forgiveness
  • 4 Quarts of faith
  • 1 Cup of friendship
  • 2 Cups each of tenderness, kindness, and understanding
  • 1 Barrel of laughter

Baking Method for Love Recipe

  • Take love & loyalty, mix it thoroughly with faith
  • Blend it with tenderness, kindness & understanding.
  • Add forgiveness & blend, until it mixes thoroughly
  • Add friendship & hope
  • Sprinkle it with abundant laughter
  • Bake it with sunshine
  • Serve daily with generous helpings.

Laughter is important for successful marriages which is derived from developing a sense of humor.

What is Laughter?

“Laughter is a smile that engages the entire body. At first, the corners of the mouth turn up slightly, then the muscles around your eyes engage and we can see a twinkling in the eyes. Next you begin to make noises, ranging from controlled snickers, escaped chortles, and spontaneous giggles, to ridiculous cackles, noisy hoots, and uproarious guffaws. Your chest and abdominal muscles become activated. As the noises get louder, you begin to bend your body back and forth, sometimes slapping your knees, stomping your feet on the floor or perhaps elbowing another person nearby. As laughter reaches its peak, tears flow freely. All of this continues until you feel so weak and exhausted that you must sit down or fall down”.

Importance of Laughter

  • Restores balance and equilibrium
  • Helps to discharge surplus tension and mental excitation
  • Helps to boost productivity
  • Laughter is like having stationary jogging
  • A laugh a day keeps the doctor away

Medicinal Value of Laughter

  • Laughter can have profound effects on organic illness, including incurable malignancies
  • Laughter releases the inner healing quality to restore you naturally.
  • Fortifies us against depression and heart disease and heightens our resistance to pain

Strategies for Laughter

  • Choose to live a God centered life
  • Choose to be thankful
  • Choose to be happy
  • Choose to practice forgiveness
  • Choose to love your spouse and other people
  • Choose to do something meaningful
  • Choose to be hopeful and optimistic
  • Choose to make a difference
  • Develop a sense of humor

I hope we touched someone this week and made a difference in a marriage. Have a great week.

REFERENCES

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey.

Holistic Nursing (pg. 313) By Barbara Montgomery Dossey & Lynn Keegan)

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