While it is true in marriage that opposites attract, couples do need to share core morals and values. A couple has to be headed down the same path with the same goals. Very often discussions about money turn into major conflicts because couples do not share the same core values regarding spending and saving habits. If a couple is not like-minded there could be serious trouble ahead in the marital relationship. Another area for potential conflict is artificial contraception and how to regulate the birth of children in a marriage. One of the major purposes of marriage besides building your spouse’s self-esteem and helping each other achieve eternity with God, is the procreation and education of children. Very often it is the woman who is asked to sacrifice her health and well-being because she is expected to take birth control pills. However birth control pills have a demonstrably detrimental side effects to the overall health of a woman. A couple should share the core morality of regulating births through Natural Family Planning (NFP). A man who genuinely loves his spouse would never ask her to go on birth control pills and deal with the very real consequences to her body, mind, and soul. This continues to be visibly demonstrated by study after study, so much so that even a non-Christian would draw the same conclusions.
Psychologists all the way back to the ancient philosophers of Greece have studied and categorized a variety of human temperaments, meaning an individual’s “thumbprint” as to how they are wired. Typically a simple way to look at it is that a so-called “Type A” temperament fits better with a laid back temperament. So in marriage, temperaments should balance out with one another. Two “Type A” temperaments generally will not work well for a marital relationship nor will two laid back people have much success either.
The third area where couples need to take a more reflective look is, “Are both committed to saving and/or creating a healthy relationship?” The assumption that marriage is forever and that your partner is going along just for the ride is quite dangerous. Marriages must grow and stretch and the couple has to be “all-in.” Wanting to stay married is the best predictor of being able to work through and compromise in areas of disagreement that at first glance seem daunting or irreconcilable. The assumption that a partner will go along just to get along is faulty and a real danger area for marriages. It is a simple but true axiom, “don’t take your spouse for granted.”
Now beyond avoiding taking your partner for granted is a huge one, do you speak your partner’s love language? This can mean simply things like, “What does he like?” or “What makes her feel special?” The answer to these questions are not panaceas meaning fixed formulas to calm an unstable relationship. These are things that bring true meaning and sincerity to the marital relationship. If your spouse’s love language is quality time then are you present with him/her in a genuine and thoughtful manner. Spouses do not like to be a “third wheel” whether it is to work or a leisure activity. A spouse should be able to say to themselves, “No matter what we do, I want to be with you.” Yes guys that may mean a trip to the mall.
Even very good marital relationships have conflicts and it is during these conflicts where spouses have an opportunity to really hurt each other and damage the relationship deeply. Instead of working against each other (oftentimes for the same goal!) couples need to be able to work together to resolve problems. Marriage can be thought of as a pair of shoes and from time to time these shoes need to be cleaned and polished. This means both shoes! Marriages can always benefit from a good “brushing up.”
Not surprisingly couples who stay invested in their marriages are attracted to each other physically and they genuinely like each other. Ask yourself if you like the sight of him in his boxers or her in her “nightie.” Most marriages are based on a solid friendship but if that has been lost then get it back. This can be done through going on dates or talking and listening to each other without the distractions of media (or children!). “Liking” each other again can mean everything for a marriage to continue growing and being all that it can be. If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at http://lamarhuntjrcounseling.com/.