Share the good news with your friends.
A few days ago, I was thinking of “barriers to effective communication within marriages. I started brainstorming, looking at my marriage and thinking of the experience of others. I must say my biblical knowledge quickly influenced the direction of my thoughts. I decided to introduce the discussion on my Facebook page and the responses sent me to a deeper place and I had to put put letters to screen :).
As a result of my deep thinking and some of my friends on Facebook sharing their heart on the matter, I decided to share four possible barriers to communication within the Marriage Relationship.
- Pride – Pride literally cripples you. It has nothing good to offer. I am speaking of the pride that hinders us from doing what is right. The Pride that is more concerned about how we look on the outside and how people perceive us. The Pride that distorts reality trapping us in a world where our identity is defined by how we dress, the type of vehicle we drive, who our friends are, where we work and our achievements. We are therefore seeking to keep up appearances. We may get away with keeping up appearances on the outside but at home it can really hurt us and destroy the relationships that really matter to us. May I suggest that instead of keeping up appearances at home, we seek to practice accepting accountability for our wrongs, even those that make us ashamed and disappointed in ourselves. Accept that you have flaws, weaknesses and nasty habits to work on. Do not pretend to be who you are not, do not be afraid to face your sins head-on. Many times our Spouses are a blessing to us because they are one of the few persons who would tell us the truth about ourselves. I suggest you listen! Don’t let pride rob you from building a closer relationship with your spouse.
- Distractions – Mobile phones and all it affords – We are in an age of technology at our finger tips. It is like an itch that we think we need to keep scratching. It is a well established and accepted distraction and I believe many couples are struggling with it. Let each man examine himself and pursue change where applicable. Avoid using your phones when your spouse is around and available to chat or to be engaged in doing something with you. Whether it is an opportunity to eat together, or watch the news together or just to be silly together, grab that opportunity to engage each other.
- Passing judgement before hearing the story – Oh how we love to jump to conclusions before hearing the whole story. “He is always coming home late because he doesn’t like being around me!” So you responded to what you think is the reason for him arriving home late, by keeping to yourself and being extra quiet. He is trying to speak to you and you have gone ice cold. Here is another scenario; “She ended the call because I came into the room.” On that evening you had planned together to work on a family project but instead you started to lecture your wife about “Trust”, she get’s upset as she feels judged and storms out the room. One more scenario, “He told his mom what I told him last night, that is why she did not call me today.” We often act on these hunches, assumptions and wrong perceptions. It is important that we act on facts, ask questions if you need to know what really transpired, but don’t draw conclusions from what seems to be the truth.
- This is the final one and it is a big one; failure to forgive. One’s failure to forgive their spouse would certainly be a barrier. Failure to forgive means one spouse is holding something against the other, something they did or did not do, that the husband or wife really disapproved of. Unforgiveness leads one to hate and playing the blame game. It is like a big wall that hinders your relationship from blossoming, from prospering, from moving on. It can lead to behaviours that can cause the relationship to deteriorate further, all because he/she chooses not to let go. Communication between both parties becomes complicated and painful. Solution? Get on your knees and ask God to help you to forgive your spouse. Seek help. Be vulnerable enough to tell your spouse how you feel, let them know that you want to but it is proving difficult. Act against your feelings, love your spouse even when it is hard to forgive and try not to allow your past experiences to negatively influence your communication with your spouse.
The 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians is a lovely chapter to read and reflect on as couples. Read verses 4 to 7. Love is patient, kind, does not envy, is not proud, avoids questionable behaviours, does not think evil of others and more.
I am often amazed how we communicate to our loved ones with such disrespect at times and we make such effort to communicate respectfully to strangers. May you be inspired today to love your spouse enough to take the time to practice the behaviours that would enrich the quality of your communication daily.
Start off by greeting your spouse in the kindest, sweetest way and mean it from the heart. Don’t send mixed messages, don’t be silent when you should be speaking and please be careful what comes out of your mouth. Let your words uplift and inspire your spouse.
When you believe that your marriage could be better, you are willing to exercise patience with your spouse and you are willing to invest time and money towards seeing your faith come to life.
In my own experience, I have been the victim of boring cycles which are created by life’s rat race; sleep, wake, prepare for work and school, go to work and school, return home and if there is any energy left, prepare for the next day. If no energy left , well…….we’ll figure it out right? Something or someone is neglected.
However, the sad truth is that we do get comfortable with those cycles and getting comfortable is not really good or healthy for our marriage or our family. But the glowing truth is that, deep down, we never stop loving each other and we really desire more. What happens is that many of us don’t try hard enough or make the effort to ensure that the quality of our marriage improves. We succumb to the pressures of life and rather than see it as an opportunity to become more disciplined, we throw our hands up thinking “I can’t do any better”. “I am so beat”, “He/She understands”.
In this article my aim is to encourage you to constantly work towards a richer, fuller marriage, amidst the rat race. Take control of your day, your activities and your time and don’t forget that it is ok to have limits. Decide, when you have put in enough extra hours at work and it is time to head home. Constantly keep in mind, the need for balance and the need to give attention to your spouse. Yes, your spouse needs attention to.
Let’s look at a few practical ways to enrich our marriage even when there are crazy schedules coming at us:
- Regularly update your spouse: Every moment, whether you are just calling to say hi or to remind your spouse of an errand, or you are at home in the kitchen fixing something to eat, update. Maybe the gardener had to postpone his appointment to clean the yard this week-end, update. Maybe, your sister said she would pass by tomorrow, update. Maybe your Pastor invited you to attend a meeting at the church on short notice, update. If you both have a habit of updating each other or mentioning “stuff” through-out the day, you would most likely know the same thing, most times, and it is less likely that either of you would feel left out, or get upset as a result of not being in the know. This can avoid conflict and clashes of events and activities. If you practice updating regularly you are actually helping to strengthen bonds and trust between you and your spouse. Tell him what’s on, all the time; tell her what’s on, all the time. Leave no room for your spouse to wonder “What is she not telling me?” Do you remember when we were younger and we were excited about sharing everything with our best friend? It’s the same thing actually!
- Do not alienate your spouse; make him or her part of your work-life as much as possible. For example, if your Employer is having a staff party and you are allowed to invite your spouse, do not hesitate to do so. Many employers today are beginning to understand the value of recognising and showing an interest in the families of their employees. This would allow you and your spouse to share work-related experiences together, while he or she is allowed to get to meet your co-workers and build an appreciation for the caliber of persons you work with.
- You must sacrifice your own personal time for time together. Put off the beauty regime or the lime with the guys, ignore the phone, the television, the personal projects and just do nothing but chill with your spouse. If he or she is eating, chill on the chair close by, if he or she is enjoying their favourite TV show, get comfy next to them and enjoy it too. If he or she decides to read, grab a book and read too. :). It does make sense, try it. Just being in each other’s company is enriching and provides companionship. Companionship in Marriage is always a need to be filled.
- Create life and memories around your spouse’s favourite things and people; for example, if your husband loves barbecue, plan a barbecue and invite a few of his close friends, if you wife loves popcorn and movies, select a good movie and get that corn popping. Maybe your husband enjoys walking the dog, join him. There is so much we can do to enrich our lives and our marriage; many of them are also simple activities that cost nothing or very little. Each one of us have the responsibility of creating life, fun, happiness and adventure. Here are some other ideas: prepare a tania-log pot under the moonlight, play table games, go bowling together, go driving, or on a road trip and visit family and shared friends, go to the grocery together, attend events together, yes, get all dressed up and go out. Volunteer to manage the Sunday School Ministry together, or the outreach programme, or the Youth Ministry. The list is endless; I am sure you may have ideas of your own.
- Finally, seek to understand where you spouse is at in their development and support efforts to grow, develop or rise to a higher level. The worse thing we could do as married individuals is to discourage our spouses from starting that new project, whether it is to pursue higher education or to learn a new sport or to start a bible study group or reach out to someone in need; whatever it is, if it is pure and healthy, support, support, support.
I hope these few thoughts encourage you to take steps to ensure your marriage exerts life, energy and a healthy positive spirit that would be contagious, giving hope to other married couples, who are desperately in need of it. It takes commitment, discipline and sacrifice but it is doable. Aim for better, richer and for greater. Don’t settle for mediocrity and boredom in your marriage! Be honest and admit that your marriage is not at its best and desire better always.
I love aiming for better, I love aiming for “best”. It is also part of God’s purpose for our lives; he wants us to reflect his character in how we live with our spouse daily. God is an awesome God of life, beauty and joy!
Featured picture taken from Google images.
Today, marks the start of a special promotion, geared toward encouraging more persons to subscribe to my blog; inspireothersonline.com.
The first two persons to subscribe and to get three (3) other people to subscribe will receive one of the lovely necklaces in the featured picture above. This first offer is extended to readers in my home country, Grenada! Don’t worry, there will be other offers for other destinations.
Before I tell you how you can get this special offer, let me tell you more about the items being offered:
The pendants of the featured necklaces were hand-made by Roland Benjamin, a contemporary visual Artist, who is from Grenada. He creates art using valuable resources that we find in our environment. Roland believes in the power of creative ingenuity and design, and has a passion for working with wood, leather and other fine precious metal.
The Pendant on the left is made of White Cedar, decorated with Wilks’ (Sea Snails) Shells, with a strip of leather at the top. The pieces are tied together using copper wire. The Pendant on the right is made of Campeche Wood, with a Ring of Coral and again Wilks’ Shells. The pieces are tied together using stainless steel.
When I saw these pendants, I thought they were beautiful and I decided, while I would love to keep them, I would rather enjoy the thrill of giving them away. So, with the help of “This and That” Craft Shop in Grenada, I added silk twine to the one on the left and a suede chord to the one on the right, with rings and clasps, making them into exquisite necklaces. I really love them, and I hope whoever is blessed to get them would love them and take very good care of them. The pieces of wood (white Cedar & Campeche) can be maintained by applying a little mineral oil every now and them.
Now, this is how you can get one of these beautiful necklaces:
- Access my blog through https://inspireothersonline.com
- Scroll down until you see the “subscribe” box on your right and follow the instructions to subscribe, which would also include going to your e-mail inbox to complete the process.
- Read a few of the articles and think of friends or family members who can be inspired by these articles, or who you would love to encourage to read more.
- Contact them and encourage them to subscribe also.
- You need to get at least three (3) persons to subscribe. Once that is accomplished, send me an e-mail with the names and e-mail addresses of the three persons who have subscribed, so I can confirm it on my end. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, you need to subscribe first and be able to share with others on articles that have inspired you.
Anticipating your e-mails!! 😊
If you wish to find out more about the unique items produced by Mr. Roland Benjamin, you can contact him on telephone no. 1-473-457-8499
Hi Guys and Gals,
Just sending some encouragement along your way to keep your Marriage bubbly and meaningful. Remember to LIVE!! Please don’t shy away from these issues.
intimacy in marriage is not just about having sexual intercourse, it is much more.
Here are six easy tips for practicing intimacy;
For the Men;
- Invite your wife to take a walk with you in the moonlight and hold her hand while you walk, while hugging her often.
- When it is quiet and you are alone, ask her how her day was and caress her back while she speaks.
- Read for her an article that you found interesting (try to avoid harsh topics, like politics, news bulletins or a negative report). Select an interesting topic, maybe about becoming more positive, learning to cope with life, helping children to develop wholesomely etc.
- Lie in bed and reminisce about the times when you were dating or the early years of your marriage.
- Whisper intimate messages in her ear, when others are around – you may be surprised how this makes her feel.
- Make up a love song or a poem about her and sing or read it to her.
For the Women:
- Let your husband know how safe he makes you feel, how important He is to you feeling complete. Express to him in words how you feel about him.
- Make a special effort not to be distracted with the kids and just focus on him for a while. It is just making that special effort to serve him, don’t over-do it though, so it comes across as if you are trying desperately to impress.
- Watch a movie together and place your head on his lap or place his head on your lap.
- Ask him about his day and be ready to listen when he begins to share. Do not interrupt him!
- Offer him a massage at the end of a long day and do it after you have both had your evening bath.
- Call him during the day just to say “I love you!”!
I think one of the most special things of a married relationship is being accepted by your spouse. This acceptance comes with the acknowledgement that you are two different people, coming together in Holy Matrimony, to enrich and complement each other and to impact the world positively, as a couple. Life, therefore, should be better together.
If the husband is a social butterfly, it is quite possible that the wife may be more of a quiet, reserved personality. While the husband may be outgoing and love crowds, the wife may prefer to socialize among family and close friends. What is important here is understanding your spouse, and this begins before marriage, during courtship. You are different, and you are meant to be different, to enrich the lives of each other.
I am amazed how God brings people together, but sad to say, many times we don’t see the joint purpose God wants to fulfill in our lives, we see ourselves. We often seek to act as single men and women when we are married; we have certainly missed “THE POINT”. If you are both committed however to a better marriage, getting the point and staying on-point, is still possible.
It is true that even as married couples God needs to work through us individually, but more so, he needs to work through us as a couple, as a single unit. He has a reason for bringing us together. Sadly, we often hinder that plan by not embracing the uniqueness of our spouse; their personalities, their gifts, their natural strengths and weaknesses. I believe, if God must use us as a couple, we must be open to the fact that our compatibility exists because of our differences and that we must be allowed to grow individually, so that the “us” unit could grow as well.
What are some of the things that hinders us as husbands and wives from really accepting each other and encouraging each other to explore our gifts and talents and to work on our weaknesses? How is it that God has brought us together and we are meant to be a suitable help to our spouses and yet we struggle with issues for so long and our marriages become stagnant. We struggle with issues when God has already provided a built-in capacity as strengths, gifts and special abilities, in our spouse. Perhaps we are too critical of our spouses’ weaknesses that we cannot see their inner beauty.
The question again is why? What has gone wrong or is going wrong in the marriage where both spouses feel they are not supported, by the other, in their quest to carry out God’s will for their lives?
Here are some possible reasons
- An unthankful, complaining spirit
- Lack of faith
Before we get into each of these possible reasons, let us look at a few verses from the Book of Books, the Holy Bible:
Genesis 2: 22-24
“And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, this is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh, she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore, shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
Isn’t this a wonderful picture of God’s intention for man and woman? Think about how it all started; woman, taken out of Man. She is called “woman” by man himself and she is described by him as “bone of my bones” and “flesh of my flesh” Oh what a lovely picture. It represents a sweet bond, a sweet relationship, and you get the picture of “I got your back and you got my back”. We are one or rather we are designed to be one. We leave, and we cleave to each other. This certainly does not describe separation, division, fighting against each other and instead of lifting and building each other up, cutting each other down. These verses present a picture of a beautiful relationship where the man and the woman are designed to exist together as ONE and to enjoy each other.
“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their Labour. For if they fall, the one will lift-up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?”
Certainly, marriage is an ideal picture of how “two can be better than one.”
I John 4:12 says “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us.”
I use this verse because I think, love really starts at home; it begins with how we treat each other, how we accept each other and how we seek to edify each other.
If you or your spouse are not willing to admit that help is needed or there is a weak area in your life, that needs to be worked on, you would never be able to move on, to grow and to experience victory. Many times, our spouses can be our greatest counsellor; we are expected to be friends, right? Sadly, we hold on to our pride at times, pretending to be who we are not, even in marriages where vulnerability is necessary for intimacy and growing together.
Real men and women admit to their flaws, this is what we see in the Bible; David, Moses, the Disciples, Paul. They could only embrace God’s will for their lives after realizing that they were so full of sin, so desperately in need of his help and his life-transforming power. I have realized that our spouses know us so well that they are able to alert, or warn us, when it is needed the most. God also allows us to feel and to sense certain things about our spouse that they may not readily see. As spouses, we grow to understand the weaknesses and strengths of each other and in many cases bear within ourselves the solution to problems.
If we understand the purpose of our spouse in our lives, we would not erect a wall of pride or become defensive when we are corrected or constructively criticized. A loving sensitive spouse would want to criticize in love for the benefit of his/her spouse; there is absolutely nothing to be defensive about.
Being puffed up would not help our relationship to flourish, instead we would be disarming our marriage from a God-given protective zone, discouraging your spouse to be the first to pull you aside and lovingly show you the dangers lurking outside your window. Don’t let your spouse truly describe you as “Stubborn.”
I think the marriage relationship is one of the most vulnerable relationships. You are most intimate, it is a serious commitment and it demands daily sacrificing, selflessness and compromising. It also requires complete trust and loyalty.
Let’s imagine a scenario where both husband and wife decide to start a bank account together, with each of them saving an agreed amount monthly ($400). They both have access to the accounts, meaning they can withdraw when necessary but there are conditions for doing so which includes; Both must agree to withdraw for the purpose identified. In this Scenario the wife goes against that agreement and at a time when the account has a balance of $10,000 dollars, she withdraws five thousand on her own to lend to a close friend. The husband finds out after reviewing the monthly statements and the explanation provided by the wife, when asked, was that she intended to tell him about it but, completely forgot. Clearly, in this scenario, the wife is wrong; I hope you agree with me on that. However, considerable damage is done here as the husband is completely shocked that she would do such a thing, especially after they agreed to the conditions set. By each other holding their end they were able to save up to $10,000.
There was no discussion, no agreement on this withdrawal. I could imagine he would be disappointed and hurt. Bear in mind, that the wife has never done anything of this sort before. Even though the wife shows genuine remorse, it can be difficult for him to trust her again and he can be very reluctant to start similar projects that require this level of commitment and trust. It is a wedge placed within this marriage and if the husband cannot forgive and move on, moving forward will be difficult. This is just one example, we can seek to brainstorm many other circumstances in a marriage that can seriously erode the issue of trust. One’s inability or unwillingness to forgive, would certainly rock the boat and place serious doubt in the minds of both persons about the future of their marriage. It is possible however!
Could I be so jealous of my husband that I silently wishes that he fails at something he loves. Jealousy is devilish, destructive and ugly; no part of it is healthy. There is no point being jealous of anyone, as we are not meant to be the same, to have the same personality, qualities, characteristics, gifts and talents. It can be rather stressful trying to keep up a jealous attitude. It happens however, you and I have experienced those biting moments of jealousy, and we understand that it must never be tolerated. The question is, do we ever get jealous of our spouses? We do, but we shouldn’t. While we are meant to be one, you may be able to sing beautifully, and all your spouse could do is whistle for his supper; I truly think that is ok. You may be able to draw a group of persons the moment you start to speak, and your spouse may have to work twice as hard to get their attention. The point here is that we are meant to be different and to embrace each other’s differences, this is how beauty in life is created. God created colour and variety intentionally; it was no mistake. The next time he flashes his bright smile and the room explodes and you feel the jealousy coming on, talk to yourself and remind you to stay purpose focused. Remind yourself that this is just one of the things that makes him special and makes him yours. Smile on darling, smile on, you enrich our lives when you do.
There is absolutely no room in your sweet marriage for selfishness. Well, yes, you do need to be alone at times, you need to have your own quiet time, go visit your girlfriends/boyfriends etc. These activities are all healthy. We can be selfish however, when we neglect the feelings and needs of our spouse, seeking to satisfy our needs and our feelings only. It is an insensitive, limited view of life, that hinders you from truly honouring and serving your spouse. Your decisions are determined based on what is in it for you than what is in it for you and your spouse. Love is certainly not selfish; the word of God says so.
Every decision must be made in the light of God’s word and his will for your life as a couple and if your decisions and activities in life is destroying that focus, then it is destroying your marriage and not building it up. Your spouse should agree with whatever you are pursuing personally and whatever you are pursuing personally should not only benefit you but benefit your marriage.
An unthankful complaining spirit:
Are you always complaining about what your Spouse did not do, cannot do or who he/she is not? The question we need to ask ourselves is, “Does it really help to complain?” “Do things improve when we do?” I would suggest meaningful discussions instead, choosing the right time to express your concerns, suggestions for improvement etc. This must be done respectfully and in genuine love. Let’s replace nagging and complaining with constructive criticisms, supported by recommending alternative ways to doing things. Be sure to appreciate your spouse when they do things right, when you see them making the effort to make you happy or just to get an important task accomplished. Don’t be a miserable complainer, it is not a supportive gesture and would only drive you apart. A complaining, unthankful attitude towards your husband would hinder you from growing more intimate, where you both feel supported and uplifted by each other.
Lack of faith:
I really believe that our lack of faith could hinder us from supporting our spouses all the way. If we doubt instead of exercising faith, we would be an obstacle to our spouse’s growth. It can be challenging having a spouse who doubts all the time; when a possibility or opportunity arises, you may be faced with a lot of “buts” or “what if’s”. We allow ourselves to see all the hindrances when we push aside faith and live in doubt, and many times we do not understand how depressing it is for our spouses. Whether it is to start a new project, or to take a simple step of obedience to the Holy Spirit, we need faith and our spouses need to have faith with us.
I love that the Bible says that “without faith it is impossible to please God”, Hebrews 11:6. If we really believe that God is who he says he is, why do we doubt in his ability to direct our every step?
Let’s be sure to guard our attitude towards God’s word and don’t be a hindrance by exercising doubt and not faith.
I do hope this short article opens your eyes to some of the things you may be doing that may be negatively affecting your spouse and your marriage.
We are greatly moved by your letter, and stirred in our hearts to be better leaders. We admit that we have sometimes taken your need for communication for granted, but don’t think for a minute that we do not want to connect with you as well, please forgive us.
The fact that we may not be talking as much as you do, does not necessarily mean something is wrong. Sometimes we prefer to be quiet, sometimes we prefer to say less. Many of us were not cultured to communicate effectively, we have not seen that in our Dads and we had to learn how to communicate on our own. I must admit, that you our wives, have contributed to our growth in this area.
For us, we are prone to act independently and because of that, we sometimes fail to show appreciation for the important role you play in our lives and in our marriage. You help us to live structured lives and your support helps us to be who we ought to be. Without you, we would miss the important details. If you do not support us effectively, we would feel lost, misdirected and in need of filling that gap.
We are growing every day to understand your needs, the level of communication required by you is a little different to what we require, and we need to grow to understand you better.
Please don’t demand us to talk when we don’t want to, it pushes us away and we can be quite defensive when we feel pressured to do as you wish. We ask that you be sensitive as well. Remember, we too need to communicate, we ask questions and we want you to answer. There are the obvious basic details that we think we should know and that’s sufficient. As we grow to be more sensitive to your needs we would begin to pay attention to the “little things”.
You are our world, we love you dearly and we want to make you happy. It is well with us when you are happy and content and willing to patiently work with us to achieve greatness. We believe that our intimate problems should stay at home, between both of us, not with our in-laws or our best friends.
Despite what you may think, we do want to guard, protect and comfort you. Forgive us for being insensitive at times; the art of being tender doesn’t come easy, but we do try.
Come walk with us, don’t think too much of our silence. Let’s grow together in love, in contentment and in Godly wisdom.
Loving husband on behalf of the many loving husbands who have read your letter.
I am writing you on behalf of the many wives I have met during my life. I have assumed responsibility to express our thoughts, on what is important to us, as the woman at your side; your most suitable help. These are some of the things that matters to us in our marriage and we hold fast to the notion that they are necessary for a successful marriage.
Communication is the key to us feeling connected with who God has chosen for us, you, our darling husbands. When we say communication, we are considering it on a holistic level. We want to hear you, feel you and be allowed to comfort you. In turn we want you to hear us, feel us and comfort us. You may not believe it, but it is important for you to express your weaknesses as well, not just your strengths. We want to talk about anything and everything, from our spiritual growth and struggles to our emotional pains, our dreams and aspirations and our challenges at work. We want to be able to share all our concerns with you, whether it is about our relationship or something else of importance; the children, the house, our health, future, vacation or retirement. We need to know that you are present and interested in everything that concerns us both, and our children. We cannot sufficiently emphasize how much we need you to be less silent and more vocal; it makes us feel special and valuable; it gives us a feeling of security and belonging.
It is also important for us to pray together; we want to involve God in our everyday decisions, with you right at our sides. We can only begin to imagine the openness and oneness we can experience if we would consistently meet, at the feet of Jesus. Together, as God speaks to us, we would have the opportunity to defeat our common enemies and soar to heights above.
We know sometimes, we want to talk about everything and it seems as if we are always digging deeper, it is because of the way God has made us. He made us to pay attention to the finer details of this life. We are learning every day, how to talk only when it is necessary, and we just need your loving patience.
Please, however, do not take our need for connection for granted. Do not ignore our pleas for attention through daily communication that ignites our souls. We would be healthier for it, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
We ask for your commitment to our journey together by leading the way by ensuring you are present and ready to communicate with us freely, honestly and lovingly.
We believe that consistent, open communication with you is essential to building a rich relationship with each other.
We love you!
InspireMe on behalf of the imaginary wife club.
Stay connected to the blog to see the husbands’ response, to be posted on Saturday, 16th December.
Today, the rate of divorce continues to surprise us as we continue to believe that marriage should be a “till death do us part” kind of committment that is sacred, honourable and to be desired. We are shaken, and in awe of the many stories we hear of broken marriages, some of these marriages, we perceived to be rock solid and well on their way to celebrating their silver anniversary and more. Our children are growing up with a dim hope that they can be happily married to the same person for all their adult life. The world has changed, the family foundation and the sound moral values, that guarded marriage and the family, are now threatened by man’s wish to do as he pleases, without respect for an Almighty God. Marriages are falling as if gravity finally got a hold of them, sad but true.
But God! Despite the reality of the trend most visible in our Society, there are some marriages that make it and I mean their truly make it, not just survive but enjoy a healthy relationship that provides a sense of completeness and well-being and they do so by paying attention to the core principles (as God intended it) necessary for a successful marriage.
This blog is about inspiring others to fulfill their God-given-purpose. So, think with me, if it’s God’s intention for you to be together, then your purpose on this earth is better achieved together? Think!
If you believe this, then you will put the necessary energy and effort into making your relationship work. You will invest in your PURPOSE. It requires, communication, honesty, trust, empathy and compassion, forgiveness, loyalty, tenderness and romance,…whew! Yes, it takes effort, but effort that would pay-off allowing you to experience glorious marriage.
Glorious; my definition of “glorious” is “out of this world” and what I mean is that you can have such a quality relationship that others would wonder if it is real, simply because it is “out of this world”. It is the kind of marriage everybody dreams of but are not willing to work towards. Very few couples are willing to take the heat, to stick with it until victory arrives, to be patient enough to understand their spouse and humble enough to admit that they are wrong. We love running when the going gets tough and rough and ugly. If we keep running, if we keep looking for the exit door, we would never experience a glorious marriage. I choose the term “glorious” because I am speaking with the understanding that we are expected to grow in our marriages as God breaks the stubborn areas in our lives, melts us so that we can be easily handled and then moulds us into a beautiful golden vessel that he can be proud of. What he has done is create a glorious marriage for the world to see and believe that in Christ all things are possible.
Your dreams combined; your individual dreams shared.
Permit me to delve a bit deeper, looking at how we can link purpose to the marriage experience. If you count the number of persons walking the aisle you would see two, their features are different, one is male and the other female, and if you were to spend one minute with each of them, you would notice they are two completely different persons, different personalities, different interests, likes and dislikes. When a couple says “I do” they are beginning a journey as two different people, having different dreams, interests and appetites. Oh, let’s not forget the family background that is sometimes miles apart.
If God has brought us together, it means that as much as we think those dreams are different, we are actually compatible. I must admit that in some cases our dreams go against God’s plan for our lives and as such it creates problems, conflict and chaos and it becomes necessary to sacrifice that dream for a glorious marriage. This requires a serious thought process, lots of discussions together and prayer. However, if you both have a peace in pursuing your individual dreams you must be willing to be each other’s cheer leader. You got to spur each other to the finishing line. As we say in the Caribbean, “big up them up”, you got to “big up” each other. Do not allow jealousy to take over, instead do what you can to support and help your spouse; you would celebrate together when the desired goal is achieved. Such celebrations are typical of glorious marriages. Let me stick in a quick point here, we need to be careful about allowing traditional perceptions about “dreams” to bind us in a religious fix that stifles our talents and gifts. You were created by God, seek his guidance on how to use what he has given you, don’t stifle it to please anyone. God would show you what is pleasing to him.
Many times we allow fear to enter our hearts thinking that if our spouse excel he/she would outgrow us. Fear has no part in our marriages, try replacing your fear with involvement, become involved in your spouse’s journey while you are also pursuing your dreams. Blend your activities and tasks together for example, if your husband is meeting with a group of men to discuss ways to inspire younger men, you can choose that time to write, supposing that you are a young writer, trying to develop your writing skills; you can probably write an article about inspirational men. Or, maybe you can meet with the wives of these husbands and inspire them to better support their husbands. Look for the opportunities to blend your dreams together.
Here is a personal example, I think my husband is a fair speaker and has the potential of becoming a very good speaker and later an excellent one. When he speaks, I love taking notes, as he often shares deep provoking life changing truths. This then spills into my love for writing as a new blogger. His messages gives me food for thought and stirs up my passion to share with others, so, very easily, an article comes to life. His dream to become an excellent communicator and to motivate others and my dream to inspire the world through my writing is a perfect blend. Here is another example, my husband has a remarkable appetite for class and it is clear in his choice of clothing, I love designing and greatly admire is choices; “light bulb moment”, he fits in well with my passion to design, and inspire the world to dress purposefully.
I hope this got you thinking and has ignited even more interest in what I have to say; remember, it is all about purpose.
The negative twist to this is that sometimes our dreams are dangerously like oil and water, no amount of efforts to blend would work. All they create is conflict and chaos. Maybe they rob you from spending quality time with each other and even more so, with God. Your dreams should not sap the life out of your marriage but rather enrich it. Most importantly, if it goes against God’s instructions and his perfect plan for your life, you would need to give it up, even when it is hard to do.
Shared friends; shared experiences
I have a serious problem with people, whether male of female, who take particular care to be friends with our spouses and rudely ignore the existence of their husband or wife. In other words there is no interest in being friendly to them or in accepting their friendship. It is important that you both resolve, to manage your friendships, so that people you meet would know that you are one with your spouse, and not searching for any secret or special friendships. Secrets destroy healthy relationships. Someone’s interest in your husband or wife should extend to ensuring that their friendship offers spiritual encouragement that would build his/her marriage and his/her family; this is true and honest friendship. Today, social media makes it convenient for secret relationships to be pursued. Let me warn you however, everything comes to light and secrets on social media are not really secrets. Therefore be wise and use social media to inspire and build up others and make sure inclusion is practiced. Eg: If a friend enquire about your well being, you can say “God has been good to me and my family, I can’t complain”. This is one of my favourite answers :).
It is a pretty sight when your friends become your spouse’s friends and your spouse’s friends become your friends and together there is a wholesome friendship that seeks to build each other up. This brings me back to before marriage; I had some really cool friends, in fact, we both had some really cool friends, but after marriage only a few of those cool friends became our friends and are still our friends today. There is no attempt to isolate the husband or the wife, “inclusion” is the motto of the day; we have respect for each other and because of that we have been able to keep up a healthy friendship. I would always love and cherish them; they are special to me and to us.
There is no excuse for secret or special friendships that isolates your spouse; none, zero. If you think of one, be sure to let me know.
You see, we are often guilty of seeking alternative trills, when we can find it right “under the same roof”, in the same vehicle, on the same sofa, on the same bed, in the same kitchen or garden or church or family gathering. Your spouse has everything you need, go discover and rediscover; it’s your privilege. Think about it, you can rediscover your spouse as many times as you wish.
Secret relationships can lead to extra marital affairs, or it can lead to you crossing certain boundaries that can seriously threaten your marriage.
Another sneaker danger is that your friendship may be known as a family friendship, but your conversations and encounters are not, so it becomes a secret friendship within a “supposed family friendship” and often times it is justified by thinking that he or she is a family friend when the truth is that the family relationship has been compromised, as now two persons are looking after their own interests, and in so doing, threatens the couple’s ability to experience a glorious marriage as their friendship is creating a distraction or a diversion . Such sneaky relationships are not healthy. Be transparent, be open, be honest and stay connected with your spouse by rooting out any relationship that does not help to bring you closer as a couple or a family.
Protect your spouse; guard their vulnerability
Could you imagine sharing everything with your spouse and he or she decides to spill it to someone else. Scary! Your enemies are just waiting to swallow it, digest it and spit it out in your face. If someone comes to you and begins to share their spouse’s secrets with you, please ask them to stop, you do not need to know such details. Remind them of the need to be trustworthy and to protect their spouse, no matter what they may be going through. If as a couple you are facing difficulties and need to talk to someone, it is better that you agree, with your spouse, who your Confident will be. We all need counsel from time to time.
But husband and wife have weaknesses and should not seek to trample on each other’s weak areas but rather encourage each other to grow. You can explore reading books together on relevant topics, attending seminars, listening to talk shows or messages on the topic of interest. Whatever you do, approach each other’s weaknesses in love, with patience, remembering that you too are in need of growth in some area or areas of your life. Do not allow your emotions to take the best of you, complaining to others about your spouse. Choose to embrace your spouse as a complete person, with strengths and weaknesses, not just weaknesses. Most times our strengths outweigh our weaknesses. but we choose to focus on the negative. Most times, where you are weak your spouse may be strong or not as weak, it means that you can help each other to grow or you can compensate for each other.
Ever so often, as couples, we need to check ourselves in light of a set of rules. For some it may be the rules of society, or the rules of a religious sect or the rules of a society or club. For others like me, it’s the Holy Bible, it’s the Holy Spirit that lives within me nudging me left, right, keeping me focused. Within the pages of the Holy Bible, I can find answers.
We can all find answers, there are answers in the bible for every couple, every struggling marriage, every confused purpose and vision. Often it requires waiting, and listening. Sometimes we act immaturely and we “jump the gun” hoping to resolve matters in our own strength, thus straying from the path you are on and from your purpose. We must stay focus and understand that our spouse is God’s gift to us and he knows exactly how to fix him or her, how to fix you and how to fix the biggest problem you have ever encountered. It is all for his glory and honour. If you choose to give up, you would miss out the opportunity to see God do great miracles in your relationship and you would not have the testimony of a Glorious Marriage. This testimony can only come through consistent efforts on your part and complete obedience to God.
I do hope this article would urge you to work towards excellence in your marriage and would inspire you to treasure your spouse and your marriage.
If you wish to discuss the contents of this article, please do not hesitate to send me your comments. Feel free to share with others as well.
Following my post of October 14th, 2017……(tips for a successful marriage continues).
9. Study the word of God together, pray together.
10. Think positive thoughts about your spouse; speak positively about your spouse to others.
11. Correct each other behind closed doors or in private.
12. Always be ready to say “I am sorry”.
13. Do not wait for special occasions to do special things for each other.
14. Pray for your spouse daily.
Have a successful marriage!