As promised, I want to continue some discussion from last week’s post, Grace in Marriage. I re-listened to Dr. Dobson and Gary Smalley’s interview on Focus on the Family (Feb 2nd) and jotted down some key points, listed below. Following that are some familiar, but ever-helpful Scriptures to guide our interactions in marriage, and with others.
1. Marriage is like the unity candle–no longer I, but WE.
2. Anger is a disease that destroys intimacy in marriage, and thus marriage itself.
3. Four ‘viruses’ promote anger, and destroy communication:
Withdrawing from one another
Escalation (volume of discussion and heartbeats rise)
Belittling your spouse (in words, actions, body language)
Seeing more negative than is actually there. In counseling, this is called the “confirmation vice.” The more negative you see, the more you think you see.
4. To counter these ‘viruses’, couples need to do the following:
a. Honour your mate
List on paper the things valuable about your spouse and look at it daily
Tell your spouse about what you value in him/her
b. LUV Talk
Many arguments could be avoided when we listen to our spouse, and try to understand their issues/concerns. The validation is a form of “repeating back” what is heard, to let them know we were listening.
c. Seek to understand your spouse’s deepest need or fear. Arguments take on many variations, but they usually come back to one common denominator–a need that each person is afraid won’t be met.
5. Take at least 20 minutes a day to attend to each other–listen, understand, validate, and honour one another.
Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and the stores are full of cards, candy, and chocolates to remind us. But let’s go beyond card and flower giving (though those are always welcome!) Let’s honour our spouse with our attention and value them with our words. In so doing, we love and honour the Lord, for He gave us as gifts to each other.
“Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…” I Cor. 13:4-8
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 2:31-32
“…put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone, just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” Colossians 3:12-14
“..let each one among you also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see to it that she respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:33
“To sum up, let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.” I Peter 3:8-9