Why did you come to this page?
You are probably here for one of three reasons:
- You feel like your marriage is struggling and you are looking for resources and tools to help.
- Your marriage is "okay" and you wonder if there is potential for more in your marriage.
- Married life is wonderful and you want to keep it that way.
You will find links to resources and tools at the bottom of this page. Between here and there, you will find some very basic info that will point you in a direction to help your marriage be healthier or stay healthy.
Great Marriages don't just happen
Being strong physically takes time and effort.
Being focused spiritually and pursuing a godly life is not natural and requires commitment.
For anything in our lives to be "great" or at "peak performance" requires investment of time, effort, and focus. Your marriage is no different. Great marriages require work. You could treat marriage like its a hassle and try some "heavy lifting" or some extreme changes that might be needed. That might lead your spouse to be firmly against what you are trying to do because it is so much "change" even if it is for something you see as better. Or... you could try some "lighter lifting" on a regular basis each day or week. In our physical bodies, lighter lifting can lead to endurance and strength. In relationships, they can become habits that are easier for a others to get on board.
Keep reading for some ideas and ways to accomplish the "lighter" things which can lead to changing "heavier" things.
What language do you say "love" in?
You may think the obvious answer is English. Love has its own language and dialects outside of spoken languages. The longer you are married, the more understanding these Love Langauges will play a major role in your marriage and even parenting.
There are 5 Love Languages:
I would encourage you and your spouse to go here: https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/love-language and each of you take the inventory separately to get an idea of which love languages are most important to you. Often, married couples will assume their spouse's primary love language is the same as their own. When they take this inventory and begin looking into what the love languages are, they find their spouse's primary love language is different and it opens a whole new pathway and understanding of how love can be communicated. There may be two strong love languages that show up and not just one. Also, love languages can change over time or evolve in relationships. Staying tuned in to your spouse is part of the "putting in work" to make a marriage better and great.
If you want to take a more detailed look at how we are created for relationships, here are the books you can read:
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
The 5 Love Languages for Men: Tools for Making a Good Relationship Great by Gary Chapman
They can be found just about anywhere you purchase books. Christianbook.com is a good source if you don't have any other usual place you buy books. The books contain the same information but the one "for Men" offers very practical ideas of how to communicate each specific love language to your wife.
How long does it take to turn a supertanker?
It can take up to 15 minutes or 2 miles to stop or turn a supertanker. The longer a relationship has been established means it could take longer to get things turned in the right direction. There are several things that can begin that turn. One is being familiar with Love Languages. Another is an exercise you can do daily. Gary and Barbara Rosberg have written a number of books (you may want to search for their names and check out their books), led hundreds of marriage conferences, and counseled thousands of couples about their marriages.
Here's what you do. It's called the Practice of Two Chairs.
- At the end or beginning of the day when there are the least amount of distractions (leave your phone in a different room if need be), take two chairs and put them in front of each other.
- Sit in the chairs. Sit with knees touching if that gives you a better measure of how close you should sit.
- Look each other eye to eye.
- Talk to each other.
How long? The Rosbergs cite research that says if you want a "good marriage" then do this 10 minutes each day. If you want to start the pursuit of a "great marriage," then do this 20 minutes each day. This is a way to start steering the relationship in a positive direction. Will it fix all the problems? Probably not but it is a habit to start doing something positive and start turning.
Resources and Tools
Here are some places to find resources and tools to help guide you to a better and great marriage:
Books by the following authors:
- Gary and Barbara Rosberg
- Gary Chapman
- Gary Smalley
- John Trent
- Greg Smalley
- David Clarke (specifically a book called I Don't Want a Divorce)
- Kevin Leman
Focus on Marriage - 15 minute episodes
FamilyLife Today - 30 minute episodes
Married with Benefits - 20-30 minute episodes
We could all benefit from counseling as individuals, couples, and families. If you are looking for biblically based counseling to help your marriage, Faith and Hope Counseling can provide it (https://www.faithandhopecounseling.com/). They have offices in Pensacola and Milton. They are in Milton one or two days a week. They have a Sliding Fee Scale to help you afford their services. The church staff wants to help your marriage and family in any way we can but they are not certified and trained counselors. Faith and Hope Counseling have certified and trained counselors with the tools and knowledge to help.
7 Signs of Selfishness in Marriage by Mark Merrill (markmerrill.com)
Guideline: Examine yourself before measuring your spouse.
It’s the greatest enemy of every marriage: selfishness. And it tends to sneak up on us. Most couples start out doing all they can to serve and make each other happy. But somewhere along the way, a willingness to go to the end of the world for the other person gets overtaken by a reluctance to even cross the room—to get them something or move toward them.
Selfishness is about more than just refusing to share the last piece of your candy bar, however. It’s an attitude that subtly permeates many of the ways we can think and act. Take a closer look at these seven signs of selfishness and see where they may be becoming an issue in your life and relationship.
1. My Needs
It’s very easy for us to focus more on what we want or think we are due than our spouse’s side of things—whether that’s a desire for more frequent physical intimacy or greater understanding about the challenges I am facing at work. But what about them? It’s important to remember that we are wired differently and have different needs; listen in on this podcast exploring Needs of Women Vs Needs of Men.
2. My Expectations
Many couples each have an unspoken list of how they think life should be, with their quiet resentment building each time things don’t go their way. But if you don’t tell your spouse what your expectations are and discuss together how reasonable they are, you can’t blame them for not meeting them. Maybe once you’ve talked together you’ll realize you need to adjust. Keeping Your Expectations Flexible in Marriage is a must.
3. My Feelings
Hurt and anger cloud our abilities to hear what other people are saying; we tend to get either aggressive or defensive, or sometimes just shut down. Consider, Do You Control Your Emotions or Do Your Emotions Control You? And what about your spouse: how is he or she feeling about that situation or conversation? If you really want to know, ask.
4. My Opinions
We don’t have to agree on everything, but agreeing to differ means more than just not thinking alike—it means hearing the other person out and being comfortable with that. Does your spouse feel free to share what he or she thinks, even if you disagree, or do you shut your spouse down when he or she shares thoughts?
5. My Agenda
We don’t have to do everything I want when I want or the way I want. It’s amazing how little things—what you want for dinner, the way you load the dishwasher, what temperature to run the AC at—can become big sources of conflict. In Confessions From a Controlling Spouse, I share how I realized that being a take-charge kind of guy could be damaging to my marriage.
6. My Career
It’s easy to hide behind “work demands” to avoid important issues and situations in your marriage. It’s also easy to focus on what we want in our career without really considering what our spouse wants. As I wrote in this blog, sometimes we need to turn down opportunities for career advancement to protect our most important relationships.
7. My Family
Family dynamics can be challenging. Indeed, in-law issues are one of 5 Big Marital Issues that need to be addressed. Do you get along with each other’s relatives? Is it “my family” and “your family” or “OUR family?”
Selfishness is all about getting. Selflessness is all about giving. Are you giving to and serving your spouse?
Which of these seven selfish traits is your weakest area, and why? What can you do to begin to change and bring more life into your marriage as a result?