Note: In this 10 part series, Richard and Linda explore various aspects of the most important institution and commitment in the history of society-Marriage. Some of the articles analyze what is happening to marriage today, while others suggest ways to strengthen marriage. Each article is headlined with a question. The series will run in Meridian for 10 consecutive days.
Part1: What Does Marriage Matter?
Part 2: What are the Conjugal and Revisionist Views of Marriage?
Part 3: What is the Irony of the Gay Marriage Movement?
Part 4: Is Traditional Marriage Disappearing?
Part 5: Is There a Right Kind of Marriage?
Part 6: Is Cohabitation a Cancerous Curse on Society?
Part 7: Why Should We Celebrate Traditional Marriage?
Part 8: Is “Marriaging” More Important than Parenting?
Part 9: What is the Greatest Reason for Not Giving Up on a Marriage?
As we conclude this series on marriage, let us end with perhaps the most crucial advice we could give-the advice of better communication.
It is pretty easy to get most people to agree on the importance of marriage as the “committing glue” that holds families together; and on the family as the foundation and basic unit of society as we have written about these last several days . But where marriage gets hard is in the micro-in or own individual homes as we all face the pressures of keeping a relationship strong in the stresses and strains of everyday life.
We got into an energized discussion recently about the five kinds of problems that are most often blamed for divorce: Money concerns, Sexual issues,
Parenting differences, Career or goal disagreements, and Faith or belief conflicts.
As we interacted about the “Big 5” the consensus was that those are also the five things that have to be communicated about almost constantly in a strong marriage.
Think about that for a moment: The five things that are most commonly blamed for divorce are the very five things that have to be the topics of open, constant communication if a marriage is to be strong.
Consistent, candid conversation about each, the group seemed to be saying, is what will turn them into strengths and elements of unity instead of problems that can lead to separation or divorce.
It’s not that there wasn’t descent or resistance to that conclusion. One comment was “Can’t we each have our own finances-why share everything?” Another one was “Why do we have to talk about sex-can’t we just do it?” And another, “She’s strict with the kids and I’m not-we just agree to disagree.”
But by the end of the evening, most were in accord that these 5 things, if they go unresolved and un-discussed can bring down a marriage and if they are openly and almost constantly talked about can bring the understanding and empathy if not the agreement that can keep a marriage strong.
There were some wonderful ideas suggested by the group to facilitate more and better discussion of each of the 5:
–Try to always go to bed together at the same time to facilitate “pillow talk.”
–Go on a weekly date and continue the courtship.
–Have a “5-facet review” together once a month where you talk about each of your children and how he or she is doing physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, and spiritually.
–Have a weekly “Sunday session” or meeting between just the two of you where you discuss the schedule and goals for the next week. Make it more of a little get-away once a month to plan the month, and take a short trip together once a year to set goals for the year ahead.
–Pray together every night
–Adopt the motto: “Unexpressed feelings never die, they just get buried and come forth later in uglier forms.”
Richard and Linda Eyre are among the most popular and prolific speakers and writers on marriage and family. Visit them anytime at www.TheEyres.com, www.EyresFreeBooks.com, or www.valuesparenting.com.
LindaMay 31, 2013
PG I do not agree with you. WG is much more on target. Prophets have told stories of couples who griped and complained about their spouses weaknesses and how it crushes them, even recently. You are right that all communication should be talked about in love and by adding kindness a lot of stuff just needs to be overlooked. My spouse said what you said UNTIL I mentioned something He did. Then All kindness and love was gone. It is much easier to just love him the way he is. He will only change when he is ready. That goes for all of us.
PGMay 24, 2013
I agree with your article and disagree with WG. If you deal with emotions upfront, then you can release them and they are no longer an issue. That doesn't mean it needs to be a fight or cause of discord. You can kindly share your feelings in a spirit of love and acceptance and then both are able to understand each other better. I don't remember any prophet's counseling that we shouldn't communicate in love and truth. I think it builds and strengthens relationships, marriages & families.