|Vol. 15 No. 4 April 2013||
Well, where do I start? I had to do a lot of thinking on this question. So, I went to my family and friends. They all said different things such as realizing that we would not always stay the same in our thinking, money matters, knowing one another better, how to deal with the sexual part of marriage, knowing my spouse and his family better and some of their background history, how to rear children, how many children we would want, unity in religion, how to prevent problems that can happen by living too close to the in-laws, communicating as adults (which we were supposed to be), more Bible study together as a family, letting the husband be the head of the home as God would have it, and having three in your marriage (God, husband and wife). There could be so many more ideas that could be mentioned, but these are a few that were suggested to me by my family and friends.
I was 19 when Bob and I got married on December 29, 1967. I thought I was so in love, and there was no way I could love him any more than I did than on the day we married 45 years ago. Boy, was I ever wrong – I didn’t know anything. However, when we said our “I Do’s,” we knew it was for life. We could not go back home to dad and mom, and there was nowhere else to go, so we had to learn to rely on one another. We were told you are making your bed, now you must lie in it. Of course, marriage was for life, so we stayed and made the best and wonderful life together.
Yes, we were in love, and I was in the happily ever after mode. Of course, we had our ups and downs. If you hear someone say we have been married for so many years and never had an argument, you better stand back and wonder how this could happen. There is one of two things on which you can count; either they are not telling the truth or their arguments have always been one sided. Only one had a say; the other just listened and bit his or her tongue.
When you get married, you need to remember there should always be three in your marriage – God, husband and wife. Take two strands of cord and twist them together. Do they stay tight when you let go? No! Then take three strands of cord and braid them. When you let go do they stay tight? Yes! So, that is why you need three in your marriage. God is the strand that will keep you tightly bound together!
We need to be able to learn
to read each other’s personal needs.
Communication: This is a very important factor in a good marriage. We need to learn to be upfront and honest with one another. Sometimes this can hurt your mate’s feelings. Of course, don’t try to hurt him. Tell him before you start talking that you do love and appreciate what he does for you. Yet, let him know how you feel. (He also needs to be upfront with you, too.) How we talk with one another is so important. Your tone and how you say things makes a big difference to your husband or he to you. Do not talk down to him or speak accusingly. He will not respond to you in a good way. Put yourself in his place as if he were talking to you. Also remember you attract flies with honey – not vinegar. You will make more headway with your spouse when you go to him in a loving attitude.
Also you need to pick the right time. Do not let things build up. Don’t sweat the small stuff. This attitude tends to make things worse. If you want to talk, don’t go in with a chip on your shoulder. You will get nowhere except a big all-out battle that you did not want. So that this does not happen, sometimes you have to give each other some space, and then come back to talk and work out the problems.
I am sure you have heard of the book, Men are From Mars and Women are From Venus. Wow, is that ever right! Men think most of the time logically, and we women think most of the time emotionally. So we do not really see things alike. There has to be discussions and listening. God gave us two ears and one mouth. Why did I say that? We should listen to what each other has to say. You should not be thinking of what you want to say next. Instead, just listen to what he has to say to you.
Also I had made up my mind I would never go to bed mad. I believe God gave us this Scripture in Ephesians 4:26, “not to let the sun go down upon your wrath,” for a reason. We are not to stew and brew on being upset. This will lead to a lot of anger and hurt feelings. I am not saying I always went to sleep happy, but we did talk before going to sleep. I did not always know how things would work out, but I did know with God on our side, things would work out for the best. We would kiss and make up soon.
I found this little article in a church bulletin. So I thought I would pass it along since it so was so fitting to go along with the communication segment of this article.
Tonight, I thought my husband was acting weird. We had made plans to meet at a nice restaurant for dinner. I was shopping with my friends all day long, so I thought he was upset at the fact that I was a bit late, but he made no comment on it. Conversation wasn’t flowing, so I suggested that we go somewhere quiet so we could talk. He agreed, but he didn’t say much. I asked him what was wrong; He said, “Nothing.” I asked him if it was my fault that he was upset. He said he wasn’t upset, that it had nothing to do with me, and not to worry about it. On the way home, I told him that I loved him. He smiled slightly and kept driving. I can’t explain his behavior, and I don’t know why he didn’t say, “I love you, too.” When we got home, I felt as if I had lost him completely, as if he wanted nothing to do with me anymore. He just sat there quietly, and watched TV. He continued to seem distant and absent. Finally, with silence all around us, I decided to go to bed. About 15 minutes later, he came to bed, but I still felt that he was distracted, and his thoughts were somewhere else. He fell asleep; I cried. I don’t know what to do. I’m almost sure that his thoughts are with someone else. My life is a disaster.
Boat wouldn’t start, can’t figure it out. Moral: Men are so uncomplicated!
Source: Mountain Wings as well as several places on the web
Central Church of Christ, Martinsburg, WV
To Be a Keeper of the Home as God Would Have It: Learn how to be a housekeeper and cook. Your home should be lived in and not a show place, but it should not be a pig sty either. There is a happy medium so that all can be happy.
Mothers are doing an injustice to their daughters by not teaching them to be keepers of their homes. A lot of young women are getting married and do not know the first thing about housekeeping or cooking. I am not sure how they thought things got done when they lived at home, but it was not them learning what needed to be done. Mothers thought it was just easier to do things themselves, and believe me it surely was sometimes. I have three sons, and all of them could cook, clean and run the appliances before they were teenagers. They said, “Why do we need to learn to do woman’s work?” My answer was, “How do you know you will get married and have a wife to do this for you? Not all young men get married and not all young ladies that you could marry would know how to take care of a home.”
I know of one case when the young couple got married the wife could cook and clean, but she chose not to clean. She was a good cook and loved to cook for her husband and then the children, but she did not clean up her mess in the kitchen. She did a lot of cooking from scratch. She knew how to make the food stretch. It was not because she couldn’t or didn’t know how to clean, but it was because she was too lazy and did not like cleaning. Her attitude was, “No one was going to tell her what to do any more.” So the house was a pig sty. The husband would get tired of this and start cleaning after he got home from work. He would start a bonfire in the back yard. There was no excuse for this because she was a stay at home wife and mom for many years. She also quit cooking for the family, and they had to start eating out of cans and microwave foods. For many reasons this marriage did not make it, but this situation did not help matters.
This was one thing the man said he would never do again. He would never live like a pig again. He said the pigs had it better than he and his children did.
Money Matters: The first bill you have is to give back to God. When doing your finances, always put God first. If you put God and His church first, God will take care of you. No, you will not always have it easy. There are unexpected things that come up such as car or house repairs and sickness; that is how it is in life. However, God promises seek Him first and He will take care of us (Matthew 6:33).
There are choices you can make that will help make things easier on your finances. Learn to stay home and eat. You do not have to go out all the time. Maybe the wife needs to learn how to cook from scratch and stretch what food you have. You do not have to have microwave food or food out of the box or freezer readymade. You would be surprised at how much your husband would appreciate you cooking for him.
Teach your children how to use and spend the money they get wisely. Part goes to God first, some for the bank and lastly some for them. This will help tremendously when they become adults. If you want something big, save up your money for it.
Don’t go into marriage thinking I want a nice house, a nice car or nice furniture like my parents have. Remember they did not start out with these nice things either. It took them many years to get what they have. Do not spend more than you make. Be a wise steward with your money.
Children: This is another subject that must be discussed. How many children would each of you want? There are some who do not want children, and some may want a few or a lot. So you see this can be a problem of contention if you wait until after you are married to discuss this subject.
Religious Differences: Many jump into marriage with different religious backgrounds thinking it is not a big deal. Well, I can tell you from many women I have talked with about this subject that they wished they had known how hard it would be to stay faithful. If they had realized this, they would have taken a lot harder look at what they were getting themselves into. Some have said they probably would not have married their spouses even though they loved them.
Then when children come along, if he goes to a denomination, how can a Christian say it is okay for this little one to go where he or she will not learn the truth? You are responsible for this little one’s soul. So you see this can be a real problem of contention.
Many times the spouse who is not a Christian pulls the child of God away from the church and one’s Christian family. Don’t get me wrong, there are also many women who have won their husbands to the Lord. Yet, the statistics show that more have fallen away from Christ.
In-Laws and Family Background: You may say, “I am marrying my fiancé, not his family.” Oh, yes, you are marrying the man, but are you going to make him choose between you and his family? What about you; do you want to have to choose between him and your family? If you want a good marriage, you really need to learn to like your in-laws and learn to get along with them.
It is better to have some distance between you and both your families for a few years so you can learn to rely on one another. If you build that reliance on each other, your marriage will grow strong. If you have an argument, don’t run home to dad and mom. Stay together and work it out. If you run back to your parents, they should send you packing back to your husband.
When our oldest son got married, and when he and our daughter-in-law would get into an argument, he would go talk to her dad, and she would come talk to me. I would tell her, “Go home and talk to your husband.” They got a chance to get a job about 2 ½ hours away from us, and I was so excited. One day my sweet daughter-in-law said, “Mom, why do you want us to move away?” My answer was, “If you don’t want to be married for very long then stay here, but if you want your marriage to succeed, then move away so you can learn to rely on one another.” They did move, and they have a strong marriage now. They had to rely on each other. They knew no one else in the area, so this helped also. The Bible says to leave parents and cleave to one another (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5).
It also helps if you know some things about the family and its background. One lady I talked with said if she had known some things it would have helped her be more patient and understanding of her mother-in-law, and she could have been a more understanding daughter-in-law. She had a domineering mother-in-law. She would make plans to do something with her friends and mama would say I want you to come and help do this or that, and this girl was to drop her plans no matter what. She believes that her mother-in-law was jealous of her friends. This was cause for a lot of contentions and resentment between the son and daughter-in-law. They had to move away because of him losing his job. This did help the situation between them a lot.
When they came home to visit on vacation, mama wanted total control and did not want them going to see their old friends. She wanted them all to herself. Of course, this caused problems and not a very happy vacation for either of them. Vacations are supposed to be fun, and we should look forward to being with family and friends.
Sexual Relations: When I was a newlywed, I had a friend who told me, “Sexual relations is one of the smallest parts of marriage, but it is one of the most important parts of marriage." She did know what she was talking about. You need to learn how to read one another.
We are to stay faithful to our partner. In our marriage vows we say, “until death do us part.” We should take this very seriously; God does! In Hebrews 13:4, God says the bed is undefiled. This means that we should be virgins when we get married. We should save ourselves for our husband and he for us. This is one of the many pleasures of being married.
Personal Time: One young lady told me she wished that she would have known how to deal with the personal time needs of each other. Maybe this would fall under time management. Learn to pay close attention to each other’s moods and feelings.
Family: Finally, wives need to put their husbands second after God. The husband should be first in your castle. Your husband is the king, and you are his queen. When you bring a baby into your marriage, a newborn sometimes demands your time before you and your husband. However, as children get older, they should realize daddy comes before them. When our sons were at home, I would serve Bob first. They would ask, “How come dad gets his desert or food first all the time?” My standard answer was, “Your dad was here first, and when you are all grownup and gone, your dad will still be here. So this means he is first before you boys. Hopefully when you get married, your wives will treat you the same way.”
Marriage takes a lot of prayer and work. God will help you, but you definitely must do your best to make it a great union. Remember, God first, husband second and self last.