Friday, April 29, 2011

5 Signs of a Healthy Marriage

Are my relationships healthy? What does that question mean? What does "health" mean in terms of relationship?

A healthy relationships is one that each person feels valued, cared for, safe, and loved. Each person is relatively content with life and is growing toward maturity.

In every relationship and especially marriage there are at least 5 generally accepted factors or sign of health in that relationships.

Sign #1

1. Each person feels safe to Think for Themselves

If they are told when you say something that "that's a stupid idea" or Just do what I say, stop asking questions!" the spouse will soon learn they are not safe to think for themselves or express their opinion. If this continues it can wear down the persons self-esteem and allow resentment to grow.

Some spouses make it very clear that if you don't think things their way there must be something wrong with you. Bottom line it is communicating to your spouse that their thinking is flawed.

On the other hand in a healthy relationship we encourage others to think. We want our spouse to use their creativity and intelligence, their God given personalities to compliment our own. Someone once said, " If both of us think exactly alike; one of us in unnecessary"

I hate to have to admit this but in my early years of marriage I was guilty of this and so was my hubby. We are VERY different people and really for years had a hard time understanding that the other person perspective could actually enhance our decisions and our lives. We spent many years arguing about things because we each thought our way of thinking was superior.

The truth of the matter is we both had good ideas and we both brought our own individual strengths into the marriage. Now we listen to what each of us has to say and if we don't agree totally many times we will come up with a compromise.

Today, think about the times when your spouse's ideas or counsel blessed your life, your marriage and perhaps even saved your from a big mess. Thank God today for the gift of your spouse.

Next Post: Sign #2 To be Encouraged to Talk and Know Your Words will be Valued

3 A house is built by wisdom
and becomes strong through good sense.
4 Through knowledge its rooms are filled
with all sorts of precious riches and valuables.

5 The wise are mightier than the strong,[a]
and those with knowledge grow stronger and stronger.
6 So don’t go to war without wise guidance;
victory depends on having many advisers.

Proverbs 24:3-6 (New Living Translation)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How to Honor Your Spouse

We talked about honor 2 posts ago and today I wanted to give you some ideas on how to honor your spouse.

We talked about how "honor" creates safety and security in your marriage, that it is a 'gift' we give our spouse not something that is deserved or earned and that honoring each other is a "Choice"

This hard stuff if you have a difficult spouse or you have had years up built up resentment. First you probably need to clear out some of that resentment - I talked out that in my FORGIVENESS blog. If that is a problem go to that post and work through that process.

We also talked about - what we believe we will find evidence to support that belief - so we need to start by building the belief that our spouse is a great person and we are extremely blessed to have them!

Here are some things you can do to begin the process: (it would be great if you both do this)

1. Make a list of your spouses positives - what you admire about them - their personality, their values, their talents, their character, the way they do things - then post it somewhere you can see everyday.
If you place high honor on someone they will justify it!

2. Become a student of your spouse - What are their preferences? favorite food? favorite date night thing to do? How do they like to relax? What is their love language?
Do things they like, make your spouse feel valued.

3. Remember it's the small things that matter the most - Guys - fix things that need to be fixed, open the door, what ever small things that make her feel valued. Girls- clean something that he would usually have to do, make his favorite food, take the old t-shirt off before bed and put something sexy on :)
If you have been a student of your spouse you will know what makes them feel special!

4. Seek Forgiveness - A heartfelt apology without excuses. Being humble makes your spouse feel honored.

5. Stop being critical, judging and condemning - God is safe, merciful and doesn't judge.
Work on changing you not your spouse.

Ending thought:
You have the freedom and responsibility to change yourself but you do not have the responsibility to change your spouse.

13 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.

Galatians 5:13 (New Living Translation)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Honor in Marriage

Last post we talked about creating "security or safety" in marriage.  One of the keys to creating safety within a relationship is something that Gary Smalley calls, "Honor."  So what does "honoring" someone look like?  To honor your spouse or anyone else is:
  • to value a person highly
  • to treat them as a treasure and treat them with respect
Honor is like many things - A Choice.  We can choose to honor our spouse whether they deserve it or not.

This is the hard part - when you do not feel your spouse deserves to be honored.  But the way you have to look at it is that honor is not earned - it is a gift.  It doesn't depend on your feelings or your spouses actions - it is something that you choose to give.

Just like many things in life, once you begin to honor your spouse, you will actually begin to see the good things that you couldn't see before.  It changes our thought process from a negative to a positive.
What we choose, creates how we feel.  So if we choose to honor someone the feeling of honor will follow over time.

You make the choice to value that other person, you choose to look beneath the behavior to find the value inside, you decide to treasure them and look at their pluses not minuses.  You keep in this frame of mind and your emotions will begin to fall in line.

Our feelings always follow our beliefs......

This is called, "Confirmation Bias"  (look it up)  Confirmation bias means that what we believe about someone whether positive or negative, we will find evidence to support that belief. 

If you focus on the negatives of your spouse, it is inevitable that you will treat them accordingly.  On the other hand if you look at the positive side and see your spouse as a wonderful treasure you will begin to place high value on them and your feelings of affection will grow.

Dr. John Gottman, a relationship expert, found that he can predict divorce by 99% accuracy just by observing whether couples honor each other.  Without honor you can not attain intimacy or security in marriage.

Next post: Some ways to honor one another...

"Be devoted to one another in love; give preference to one another in honor"  Romans 12:10