Website DIVISIONS (Over 600 articles to help you to grow in every facet of your life)
Written by Jimmie Burroughs
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With over 50% of marriages ending in divorce, learning how to preserve your marriage and building it into a lasting relationship is so important. The word “building” is the key; no marriage builds itself; it requires the concerted effort of both the husband and the wife and it requires time. There are of course many things that contribute to a successful and lasting marriage, but since I’m not writing a book here, I tried to think of 7 essential things that have helped me the most in my own experience of 44 years of marriage; to the same woman I might add. So I came up with these very important 7 powerful ways to build a good marriage:
4. Time together
7. Spiritual growth
Good communication is an art that is learned, and continually improved upon. Desiring and learning to communicate in your marriage is the most important first step to building a lasting marriage. Where there is no communication the marriage is bound to fail. So what should a newly married couple be talking about? The answer is everything and anything! There should be no secrets.
I need to point out here that communication in certain areas, sex being one, is very difficult for most men. So there is more of a learning curve for men, but men must realize the importance of communication if their marriage is to grow and give them the fulfillment that they desire.
While it is helpful for the couple to discuss certain things about their marriage with friends, there are also some things that should always be kept private, especially things of an intimate nature. Have an agreement with your mate from the beginning what you expect to be kept private.
Each should feel free to talk about their dreams, their hopes and desires without the least bit of ridicule from their mate. Of course there will be disagreements; no two people always agree on everything, and that is what is called individualism. If two people are exactly alike, one isn’t needed. Individualism complements the marriage. Two heads are always better than one. The blending of personalities and ideas also enhances the marriage.
Differences are to be appreciated; they make for a much more interesting relationship. I’m not talking about mixed marriages where the differences are so great that they can become a detriment to the marriage. However, don’t be discouraged if you are in a mixed marriage because they can also work well, but require extra effort. Mixed marriages can be defined as interracial, interreligious, extreme political differences, extreme Philosophical differences, etc. It is better to know and to discuss your differences before you marry and how you will deal with them.
We all have our differences but when the differences are to the extreme, they require much more in order to maintain compatibility, especially interracial and interreligious, but even these can work if the communication is there. However, if differences are too overwhelming to you, then you need to carefully consider if entering into a marital relationship with a particular person is the right thing to do.
For more information on communication skills read other articles on this website under the category of communication.
Intimacy is not “making love”, it is expressing love. A couple can use each other’s body for personal gratification, which is the wrong approach, or they can use intimacy as a means to express their love for each other, and create a closer bond. It may require more effort to maintain intimacy in your marriage than anything else, but it is absolutely essential in order to build a strong and lasting union.
No two people are exactly alike when it comes to their sexual needs; therefore, it always requires a willingness to be flexible. In most instances, it requires a compromise. One will have to settle for sex more frequent than they desire, while one will have to settle for less, but it needs to be a mutual agreement. Hopefully in time it will become the perfect arrangement for both. Men usually want sex more often than women, at least in the beginning of marriage, and that being true it can create a very large problem if not dealt with correctly. The frequency of sex among the average couple is less than most think, at about 66 times per year. If you average it out, that is a little more than once a week. I think it is when men expect sex every day that it becomes the greatest problem, because most women will not be satisfied with that sort of frequency.
The point is that when you do have sex that it is the best, and each person’s needs are met. Having good sexual experiences is like other good experiences, you have to learn how. Therefore, I recommend that you read some good books on the subject together. Feel free to discuss your needs with each other. This is not a matter to be embarrassed about; it is an important part of your marriage. Sometimes there are physical or physiological problems, especially in women, that inhibit the sexual drive. These are almost always treatable. Here is the key: Make it your incentive to please your mate, and by doing so you will generally also have your needs met.
Trust also is built over time when each partner learns that they can trust their mate. It is important to note that when trust is broken through unfaithfulness, it is hardly ever regained. A relationship may continue and still have a degree of satisfaction but when trust is lost, a valuable part of the marriage is missing.
The old saying that the grass on the other side of the road always looks greener until you get there and discover that it isn’t, and maybe not as green as the side of the road you just came from; true also with relationships outside the marriage that at first may seem fulfilling but then become complicated and cause far more problems than the excitement they may bring initially.
Trust is a primary attribute of good character. Character flaws such as infidelity bring harm not only to one’s marriage, but to the overall quality of life. Trust is also relevant to other things in the marriage beside fidelity such as trust in financial matters; trust in the children’s welfare; trust in personal integrity, etc.
Any couple that has no time for each other is in trouble in their marriage. While some time apart can be endearing to the relationship, too much separation can be harmful. Is there such a thing as too much time together? The answer for me would be yes because I need some private time. I think most people do need some private time, some more than others. My wife and I had private bedrooms; the reason being I snored and she was a light sleeper. But over time I enjoyed having my own bedroom, a private place where I could go, and be away from everyone and everything for awhile.
Once again quality is of the essence. Having time together is one thing but having quality time together is a whole different thing. My wife and I often planned weekend trips to nearby locations where we could be alone, and just enjoy being with one another. Sometimes it was just a motel in a nearby town and eating out in new restaurants. Then there were time when we took larger trips like a cruise to the Caribbean, or to exotic places like Jamaica, etc. I know that this is expensive, but for us the larger trips came after the children were grown. At any rate you have to save toward them.
Your wife or husband can be your very best friend when you have built the other essentials mentioned above. There are few greater things than having a friend that will stick with you through thick or thin; one you can always depend on without question; one who knows you better than anyone else in the world but still loves you anyway. Hardly anyone one else can better qualify for all that other than your mate.
Freedom is God given. Not everyone in the world enjoys the great freedom we have in America. However, the kind of freedom I’m speaking of here is the freedom sometimes missing in marriage, the freedom to be an individual, and pursue your own dream, and have your own friends, and enjoy spending your own money.
Let’s consider those one at a time: Firstly: the freedom to be an individual. What does that mean? It means not insisting that your mate be what you want them to be, but giving them the freedom to be themselves.
Secondly: The freedom to pursue one’s own dreams. I know a couple whose marriage ended in divorce. The wife had a dream that she was vigorously pursuing that the husband continually ridiculed her about. He never had a word of encouragement, only criticism. Probably there were other issues, but his unwillingness to allow her to be and individual and pursue her own dreams must have been high on the list of causes for the divorce.
Thirdly: The freedom to have your own friends. Friends are very personal matters and are not always a mutual choice of both husband and wife, but the freedom to choose one’s own friends and associate with them freely is a right that everyone should enjoy.
Fourthly: Having your own money to spend. True there needs to be a joint bank account for making sure all bills are paid on time, but then having your own account available to spend as you please is very satisfying. I realize that this is not recommended by some financial advisors. Also a person must exercise trust and credibility when they have this privilege. I also know that it can be abused to the detriment of the marriage. With that said, I still believe that it can help to build a stronger marriage when it is used with wisdom.
For example, it is nice for a lady to take her lady friends out for coffee occasionally and pick up the tab, or buy that new blouse that she has been wanting. Going out and buying a complete new wardrobe when the family finances are not in a great shape would be an example of abuse, or the husband going out and buying a new fishing boat. A family discussion is always in order for large purchases.
Spiritual growth that I and many others consider to be the most important essential to a lasting marriage is probably the most ignored. What I mean by spiritual is not some sort of mythological spirituality that is often referred to in the New Age movement. I’m talking about a real relationship with God the creator of the universe. While divorce among church members is on the rise, divorce among couples who have a close relationship with God is static. Bonding with God enhances our ability to bond with each other. The old saying, “A family that prays together stays together’ holds a lot of truth.
When you read through the 7 powerful ways to build a good marriage that I’ve listed above, they may not seem that significant to you. But rest assured they will have a great impact on your marriage when you diligently engage each one. The key of course is when both husband and wife have an equal desire to build their marriage, and take equal action to assure it. I hope this has been a help to you; God bless.
Jimmie Burroughs: Founder of Christian personal development.
About the author: Jimmie Burroughs is a motivational speaker and author who has been involved in teaching Christian Personal Development for more than 30 years. There are hundreds of articles to help you on this website, Website Contents , in your person growth. If I can help you personally, please send your concerns via: Contact me.
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