Thursday, 5 September 2013

Does Your Marriage Have a Barometer?

In their book The Marriage App Paul and Virginia Friesen suggest that couples would do well to have a way of assessing how they are doing as a couple.  They share their own personal example in the following:

Virginia and I find that how we take critique from each other is a barometer of our marriage.  When we are doing well and I am feeling respected by Virginia, she can critique me and I welcome it.  When we are not doing well, however, she could tell me something as simple as (You have a piece of lettuce in your teeth) and I would snap, “Why do you always have to be so negative?”


I think this is a powerful habit to incorporate into your marriage.  In fact you may want to have several barometers that provide feedback as to how well things are going between the two of you.  My wife came up with a really good one for us – are we laughing a lot.  Neither my wife nor I are big on telling jokes however we find a great deal of humor in everyday life.   If we look back over the course of a week and realize that we had very few laughs we need to ask ourselves “what’s going on?”  Perhaps we are taking ourselves too seriously or getting caught up in the busyness of life and neglecting our relationship.

I would encourage you to sit down with your husband/wife and come up with tangible indicators that could be used to assess how you are doing as a couple.  One of the most obvious barometers is what’s happening in the bedroom and/or other indications of intimacy and affection.  Are you kissing as much as you do when things are going well?  Do you hold
hands, hug or give each other shoulder massages as frequently as you do when you are feeling close. Perhaps when things are going well you pray together or read to each other but when tension or busyness set in those practices get ignored.

 Once you identify your barometers determine how frequently you will check them and who has the responsibility.  If you have more than one barometer perhaps you would divide the responsibility so that each of you is accountable to the other for keeping your marriage vital.


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Internal GPS

If there is anyone more directionally challenged than my wife it would be me.  On our third date we got lost in a parking lot, we couldn’t find our way out.  Based on that confession you would wonder why I of all people would have the audacity to question our Garmin GPS.  Because it has been wrong, because it doesn’t seem to know my right from my left, because I paid huge bucks for upgraded maps and got nothing upgraded and it has a degrading way of telling me that it is recalculating because I missed a turn.

Sorry for that rant, I just felt I needed to tell someone.  This example however reminds me that my internal GPS, the one that tells me where to go and how to get there is not always reliable either.  The following guidelines were offered by Mary May Larmoyeux of Family Life.

1.    Overconfidence is not a good thing. "Pride goes before destruction." Proverbs 16:18.  Until I became more mature (defined as so old my pride was gone) I hate to admit it but even though I was lost I would never stop and ask for directions.  Men tend to treat marriage counseling or finding a mentor couple the same way.  Even though they are aware that things are not right they are not willing to stop and ask for help.

2.    You will reap the consequences of your actions.  Thus says the Lord God: Because you have forgotten me and cast me behind your back, you yourself must bear the consequences ..." Ezekiel 23:35

3.    God wants us to follow all of the directions that He gives for life (His Word). "So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God." Numbers 15:40.  Perhaps since the Bible is not arranged by topic most guys assume that they couldn’t find a specific verse to help them even if they tried.  However as the author of the instruction manual for human beings and their relationships we would do well to seek His will.

4. It's never too late to turn around. "Tormented and empty are wicked and destructive people, but the one who trusts in the Eternal is wrapped tightly in His gracious love.." Psalm 32:10 (The Voice)  One of the greatest privileges that comes with being a Christian is that no matter how bad things get or no matter how much we screw up (that is a theological term I learned in a locker room) God is willing and able to make all things work together for good.  There is no disease He can’t heal, no sin that Christ’s blood hasn’t covered, and no circumstance that God can’t use for His ultimate purpose.