Believing the Best About Your Spouse

How do you make sure your marriage is going to stand the test of time? When two people become bonded through marriage they depend and believe on one another. Find out  how to have the relationship you desire and deserve.

I leave wet towels where they don’t belong. I leave a loaf of bread on the counter. I leave the cupboard doors open.

I have an excuse, of course: I am mentally preoccupied. As my wife, Sarah, says, “He is always thinking.” Sometimes I stun myself by what I do or don’t do.

(C) Pinterest
(C) Pinterest

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not a pig. But I am married to Sarah, who is the epitome of neatness and cleanliness, and I flunk by her standards. She is not a perfectionist, but she is logical. Why leave a towel on the bed when a rack is in the bathroom waiting for the towel? Why leave a cupboard door open when the hinge functions both ways? Over the years I have made a conscious effort to curb this tendency.

Fortunately for me, Sarah has not concluded that I am out to irritate her. And though she has reminded me thousands of times to put things away, she has never said, “If you really love me, you would listen to me.” She knows I am thinking of other things and am on autopilot as I come and go.

Sarah is able to see me in a positive light because she has decided to trust in my good intentions toward her and our marriage. She has chosen to see me as a good-willed spouse.

Read more: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/communication-and-conflict/believing-the-best-about-your-spouse

 

5 Communication Tools That Saved My Marriage

 

 

We were blissfully in love and thrilled to be on our honeymoon. Then came day five—we had our first argument. That put us on a slippery slope moving swiftly toward desperation. Within the first nine months of our marriage, Gina and I were both convinced that we not only married the wrong person, but also were condemned to a loveless marriage.

One very tangible side effect of our difficulties was poor communication. I would ask, “What’s for dinner?” She would hear, “I can’t believe you haven’t prepared dinner again tonight!”

She would say, “What time are you coming home?” I would hear, “You better get here and help me because you’re never here.”

We could not express anything we wanted to. We resorted to hurting each other with our words. We did not build each other up … we tore each other down and caused deep, emotional pain. Quite honestly, we had endured so much hurt that we could not see any hope for ever communicating well. Our despair was overwhelming.

In counseling we began learning about intentional communication. I remember thinking, “That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. This stuff is so simple … I can’t believe I’m paying this guy for this.”

But, once I got off of my high horse, I realized something very simple yet profound: If communication was really that simple, everyone would be doing it and all of our communication would glorify God and reflect His image (1 Peter 4:11; Ephesians 4:29). Glorifying God did not describe my communication, and it may not describe yours either. In fact, many of us struggle to communicate well even with those we love the most: our siblings, our parents, our children, our spouse.

The road I took to learn about communication was a tough one. Here are some of the tools that helped transform my marriage and change my heart.

1. The Principle of First Response: The course of a conflict is not determined by the person who initiates, but by the person who responds.

You may feel it’s okay to strike at someone verbally because, “He is picking a fight with me.” You may be correct, but that person does not have the power to decide whether a fight actually occurs. That power rests with the responder. As Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Jesus has a well-worn track record with the Principle of First Response. Recall the times that the Scribes and the Pharisees came to question Him. They were the initiators in nearly all of their communication. Their intention was to defraud Jesus and corner Him. In how many cases were they successful? None. They failed because the power to decide the direction of each conflict rested with Jesus, the responder (Luke 20:19-26).

The implications of following Jesus’ example were huge. My wife’s sin did not give me free license to sin in return. And conversely, my sin did not give Gina free license either. By following the principle of first response, we were being called to take a poorly spoken comment and redirect it.

2. The Principle of Physical Touch: It is difficult to sin against someone while you are tenderly touching him or her.

A difficult time to apply this principle is after an argument has begun. However, a perfect time is when you know you are about to sit down and have a discussion about something that might lead to tension.

 

Read more: http://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/marriage/staying-married/communication/5-communication-tools-that-saved-my-marriage

Rekindle the Romance in Your Marriage

For those that are starting to find married life difficult it is essential to look at different ways to put more energy and passion in the relationship. There are a variety of things that can impact a marriage over time such as growing older, raising kids, and a busy career.

 

Can I be perfectly honest with you? Romance doesn’t come naturally to me. Physical intimacy absolutely does. But romance … that’s another story. I didn’t have good role models growing up and I just don’t think about it as much as the woman I am happily married to for the last 32 years does.

Last Valentine’s Day, I tried to change all that. Okay, it was a last-minute thought, but I decided to buy Cathy roses on my way home from work on the big day. I walked into the busiest flower shop in the world with all the other last-minute shoppers (all guys) who were looking a bit lost. I knew what I wanted and confidently walked right up to the counter and announced, “I would like a dozen long stemmed red roses.”

I was staring at a beautiful bouquet of short stemmed roses for $38.00. The woman smiled and went to the back room, bringing back the dozen long stemmed roses for $84.00. Not only does romance not come naturally to me, but neither does paying $84.00 for such a perishable item as roses!  I looked over at the cheaper roses and didn’t have the courage to change my order.

I brought home the most expensive roses I had ever seen to my wife. She was ecstatic. Even Cathy’s friend, who was at our home at the time, was impressed. Cathy went searching for a vase while I basked in the accolades from her friend at what a romantic husband I was. Life was good.

Cathy came back to the kitchen with a small vase and scissors in order to cut the long stemmed roses to make them short enough to fit the vase. After my initial shock, I quickly offered to go buy a bigger vase but she insisted that the roses were lovely and all she had to do was cut them to make them fit the vase she had – which she proceeded to do.  I watched helplessly as my $84.00 roses had just become $38.00 roses.

Frankly, it wasn’t about the size of the flowers, it’s the thought that counts. My flower financial fiasco told Cathy I was thinking about her. The flowers and a wonderful candlelit dinner created by yours truly did the trick.

This is an oversimplification, but many men just don’t put in the time to be intentional about romance. For whatever reason, we don’t give romance the attention it deserves. Too many people think the words “intentional” and “romance” shouldn’t be in the same sentence. I disagree. For those of us who don’t usually act like we are fresh off the set of an Italian or French romance movie, we need to learn to be intentional about bringing romance to our relationship. Frankly, if you are too tired or too distracted to work on romance in your marriage then something is very wrong.

In your relationship, putting time and attention toward romance honors your spouse. Paul’s advice to the Romans works well: “Be devoted to one another…Honor one another above …

 

Read more: http://www1.cbn.com/marriage/rekindle-the-romance-in-your-marriage

12 Subtle Signs of a Loveless Unhappy Marriage

Marriage is not always a bed of roses. A perfect marriage doesn’t exist and it is normal to have those not so happy moments but what if there are more unhappy moments in your marriage than happy times? Save your marriage before its too late.

 

12 Subtle Signs Of A Loveless Unhappy Marriage

If you’re in a marriage or even in a long term relationship, keep an eye on these subtle signs. You may accept them as a part and parcel of every relationship, but in reality, they can tear your marriage apart even before you realize it.

#1 Emotional affairs. If you’re in a happy marriage, your partner should be your true confidant. You should be happy to communicate with them and share all the pleasant and the sordid details of your life with them. Do you feel more comfortable talking to someone else outside the marriage about your secrets? It may start off as an emotional release, but it would eventually come in your way of marital bliss.

#2 The no-complaints relationship. There are a few relationships where the partners have no complaints about each other at all, because they completely understand each other and their individual points of view, and get along perfectly. If you’re experiencing this grand state of telepathy in your marriage, that’s awesome!

But if you’re in a marriage where you do find faults with your husband or wife, and yet, choose not to talk about it with them because it’s just not worth the effort, that’s just not good. When you lose hope of ever changing your partner or helping them see their flaws, you’re in the no-complaints relationship. Over time, these little annoyances could lead to huge frustrations in your marriage.

#3 You have needs. And these needs aren’t satisfied by your partner. Almost all the time, you find ways to satisfy these needs yourself, be it sexual or emotional. But at the same time, you may constantly find yourself grumbling or whining within your own mind about how much …

 

 

Read more: http://www.lovepanky.com/my-life/better-life/signs-of-a-loveless-unhappy-marriage

13 Signs You Need To Visit A Marriage Counselor

“Most couples wait too long before seeking help. In truth, you are best served if you seek help sooner rather than later. Negative communication and withdrawal can be equally detrimental. When conversations quickly turn negative, partners can feel depressed, insecure, and disregarded. Withdrawing from or avoiding conversation can have the same effect, and has the added negative result of making unspoken complaints increase in importance and severity as they remain unaddressed.”

We believe we’re getting the fairytale when we get married. You know — meet “the one,” have a whirlwind courtship, get married and live happily ever after. What the fairytales don’t tell you is that relationships take work.

Often times, we don’t go into a relationship with the tools to manage the challenges, which is where the pros come in. And by pros, I mean a counselor or therapist who can help you learn new ways of relating to your partner.

The question is: when do you know it’s time to consider marriage counseling? Here are some trigger points and behaviors that are signs you may need help.

1. When you aren’t talking. In all honesty, many relationship challenges are simply challenges in communication. A therapist can help facilitate new ways to communicate with each other. Once communication has deteriorated, often it is hard to get it going back in the right direction.

2. When you’re talking, but it’s always negative. Negative communication can include anything that leaves one partner feeling judged, shamed, disregarded, insecure or wanting to withdraw from the conversation. Negative communication also includes the tone of conversation because it’s not always what you say, but how you say it. Negative communication can escalate into emotional abuse as well as non-verbal communication.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/02/marriage-counseling-_n_5412473.html

Domestic Violence

“Women are more likely to experience domestic violence, forms of abuse occur between all kinds of couples, whether of the opposite or same sex, married or unmarried. While financial factors contribute to the problem, the causes of domestic violence involve psychological issues that we must deal with in order to stop the cycle of abuse. In addition to listening to this critical inner voice, couples involved in domestic violence have often forged a destructive connection, an illusion that they cannot live without each other.”

Domestic Violence

What’s the difference between normal conflict and domestic violence? Conflict is part of every intimate relationship–that’s why conflict resolution skills are important. Domestic violence, however, has no place in a healthy relationship, whether the couple is dating, engaged, married or cohabiting.

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is any kind of behavior that a person uses, or threatens to use, to control an intimate partner. The two key elements are threat and control. Domestic violence can take various forms:

Physical – Violent actions such as hitting, beating, pushing, and kicking. In many cases physical abuse becomes more frequent and severe over time.

Sexual – Includes any sexual acts that are forced on one partner by the other

Psychological – Includes a wide range of behaviors such as intimidation, isolating the victim from friends and family, controlling where the victim goes, making the victim feel guilty or crazy, and making unreasonable demands…

Read more: http://www.foryourmarriage.org/everymarriage/overcoming-obstacles/domestic-violence/

Reasons For Divorce: Top 10 Reasons Marriages End

“Marriage is not easy. Unfortunately, even couples with the best intentions can end up in divorce court. There may appear to be several reasons that contribute to a couple’s decision to separate, but typically the common thread is the inability to effectively communication and a lack of conflict resolution skills. When a person has a valid reason to divorce, he or she knows when to go through the process. Before you consider the divorce, speak to an experienced family law and divorce attorney to discuss your case and options.”

top 10 reasons for divorce america
Photo by http://www.couplescounselingchicago.net/

Understanding the reasons for divorce requires you to suspend any preconceived notions about why they happen. Many people mistakenly believe that most marriages end almost exclusively because of infidelity.

While this certainly is a major factor, the decision to terminate a marriage is much more complicated. According to a variety of marriage related studies, there are a number of other causes that may surprise you.

After doing considerable research on this topic, the relationship experts at the Couples Counseling Center are ready to present our top 10 list of reasons for divorce. The information listed here comes from different forms of scientific research, combined with input from counselors and therapists who specialize in marriage therapy.

Read more: http://www.couplescounselingchicago.net/reasons-for-divorce-top-10-reasons-marriages-end/