Monday, 9 August 2010

From Good to Great

There was a very good business book out a few years ago by Jim Collins entitled Good to Great, The premise was that while there were many good companies there were certain characteristics of great companies. Great was measured by predetermined criteria and the results were sustained over time. One might suggest that marriages could be examined in a similar fashion.

Lisa Kift, a Marriage and Family Therapist, wrote an article entitled “The Characteristics of Successful Relationships.” Most likely if the following ten are found in abundance in your relationship you have a good marriage. The ten are: (1) friendship,(2) humor, (3) good communication, (4) chore sharing, (5) satisfying sexual intimacy, (6) affection, (7) the absence of John Gottman’s Horsemen of the Apocalypse (see post of 8/5/10), (8) mutual and separate friends, (9)reliability and (10)relationship vision.

So what could possibly be missing from the list? You did ask that didn’t you? In my opinion for a marriage to go from good to great it must glorify God. A marriage must be built on a covenant commitment, i.e. we are in this for the long haul. A marriage must be built on total trust and honesty. For a marriage to significantly move the needle on the “Marriage Richter Scale” the partners must treat love as a verb; they must be willing to put the other first.

A couple that has God at the center of their marriage handles conflict in a much different way. They view disagreements as a way of learning more about one another, as a way of arriving at a decision that honors both parties and brings glory to God in the process.

When God is at the center of a marriage the difficulties that are certain to come will not have the devastating affect that such difficulties often have on marriages where God is not at the center. Unemployment, for example, can have a huge impact on a marriage. Not only does it squeeze a couple’s financial resources but self-confidence and security can be shaken. Shame, blame, guilt and anger surface along with underlying worry. If God is at the center of the couple’s marriage they recognize that in the cosmic scheme of things God is still in control. They have the peace that comes from trusting Him. Most likely they are not totally worry free, but they support one another and encourage one another and pray for one another.

A good marriage features all the interpersonal skills you can bring to bear and the application of much of the wisdom that can be found in hundreds of books on the subject. A great marriage is one that adheres to the principles laid out in Scripture, which brings sustainable joy to the couple and brings glory to God.

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