Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Is Your Marriage Defying the Odds - Part II

In my last posting I began sharing what I believe to be some of the critical elements that exist in a marriage that lasts.

The ability to Forgive one another is a huge help when attempting to navigate the rough seas that can be part of any marriage. By harboring a grudge it not only affects one’s relationship with the other person, it has the potential to physically or emotionally take its toll on the person unwilling to forgive. Resentment and bitterness escalate over time. Ken Sande, author of Peacemaker, gives depth to what it means to forgive:

…forgiveness is undeserved and cannot be earned…forgiveness requires that you absorb certain effects of another person’s actions (sins) and release the person from liability to punishment.”

By granting forgiveness we are committing that we will not bring up the person’s offense in our thoughts, words, or actions toward him or her at any point in the future for the purpose of accusation. I didn’t say this was easy.

According to several studies Praying together is statistically off the charts for predicting whether or not couples will stay together. The statistics are at once shocking and intriguing. According to FamilyLife surveys of thousands of Christian couples less than eight percent pray together on a regular basis (excluding meal time prayer). Here’s the clincher – of Christian couples who actively pray together, the divorce rate is less than one percent. Obviously this has to make my list. I suspect that praying together is just a subset of this couples spiritual disciplines.

My favorite, though perhaps the least important on the list is Humor. This includes the ability to laugh at oneself and most certainly to laugh together as a couple. Finding humor in those things that befall us in the course of a each day is great marriage therapy. Being able to laugh together when your spouse finds your car keys in the refrigerator or being able to good naturedly needle each other when an idiosyncrasy shows up makes for a most enjoyable life.

How about Sex why hasn’t that made your list? You did ask that question didn’t you? As a counselor I find that one of the first places marital dissatisfaction rears its ugly head is in the bedroom. The couple has all but given up on being intimate. I doubt that there are many marriages that are built on fantastic sex. I would venture to say however that if the husband and wife are displaying love and respect; if they are exceptional friends; if each strive to be selfless; if they are able to truly forgive one another; and if they laugh and pray together the sex will be incredible!

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