Insufficient Marriage Training Is The Norm
Marriage training is typically neglected when people pursue marriage. One of the primary problems with marriage is that people are not taught how to be married before they get married. Imagine if you started a job and was told to operate a machine that you were not trained for. You were somehow expected to be able to operate that machine safely, consistently, and get the job done. That would seem crazy to us, and yet that is exactly what happens in marriage. Two people “fall in love,” decide to get married, and then have to learn to “operate the machine” so to speak. One of the principle ingredients to ensure a happy marriage is, therefore, marriage training.
That scenario is exacerbated by the fact that when we do get married and try to do things right, what we do may be wrong. Sometimes our efforts to do something correctly is the wrong approach and we eventually contribute to its demise. Consider two people coming together approaching marriage this way. One or both are trying to do things right, but in the wrong way or by ineffective methods. Sooner than later, the marriage begins to wane and the couple begins a journey towards separation instead of the solidification of the relationship. The horrible thing about this is that neither may know what is going on or why.
Prepare For Marriage Yourself
Some attempt to prepare themselves by attending pre-marital counseling in the church or participating in marriage ministry events. However, they still find themselves unprepared to build a lasting and happy marriage. I can tell you from my experience that many marriage ministries are ineffective at preparing people to be married or helping people restore their marriage or build a happy one. Many marriage ministries focus on stereotypical acts that have nothing to do with the psychology shift needed to build a happy marriage.
For example, I recall participating in a marriage ministry event where couples were instructed to do things for each other. As usual, it was more about what the husband was supposed to do for his wife. He was supposed to be gallant. He is supposed to remember her birthday, hold the doors for her, wash the dishes for her sometimes, cook for her to relieve her of cooking duties, etc. None of those will help build a lasting marriage. They are all fluff that when followed only addresses the surface of a very deep deficiency and soon to be a problem.
Building a happy marriage is not about doing little things for each other. It is not about Valentine’s day, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. It is about dealing with another human being in a way that promotes togetherness, understanding, and unity. It is about getting to know your spouse and modifying your communications and actions so that you can effectively build your relationship. This means that both will have to be open and honest with each other and avoid condemning, accusing, blaming, or otherwise being condescending to their spouse. It is a way of “telling the truth in love” so to speak.
Tips For Marriage PReparation
I have found that there are two primary ways for the husband and wife to build a foundation that will support their efforts to build a happy marriage. It is simple, but not easy to do.
The husband should try to learn and understand the psychology, mindset, disposition, needs, language, etc. women. If women come from Venus, then here husband should learn the way of Venusians.The husband should try to learn and understand the psychology, mindset, disposition, needs, language, etc. of his wife. The husband should not assume that his wife is like the stereotypical woman, but instead get to know her personally and intimately.
The wife should try to learn and understand the psychology, mindset, disposition, needs, language, etc. of men. If men are from Mars, then here the wife should learn the way of Martians.
The wife should try to learn and understand the psychology, mindset, disposition, needs, language, etc. of her husband. She should not assume that her husband is like the stereotypical man, but instead get to know him personally and intimately.
Basically, two human beings need to get to know each other and they can therefore build a happy marriage. This holds valid regardless of how the couple were married, i.e., arranged marriage or marriage by choice. Eventually, the two should get to know each other so that they can build a firm foundation for their relationship and then have that relationship germinate and become very prosperous and strong leading to longevity.
How? Like I said, it is simple, but not easy. So, how do you build this foundation of understanding leading to togetherness? Well, simply decide to build this foundation. The couple simply needs to make the decision and commitment to each other to build this foundation. They have to make it known that they know nothing about being married, and though they love each other now, they want to ensure that nothing subtracts from that love and that the marriage moves forward becoming stronger and lasting. Have a conversation and decide on the plan of action to build this foundation.
Think about it for a moment. We are told to state our goals for life pursuits. We are told to say our affirmations about what we want to achieve. However, we are never told to do this in the context of marriage. If we would take some of the same general principles of self-improvement and achieving our goals, then many couples would experience a happy marriage instead of one that solely dies without any clue as to why. Here are some of my own personal tips.
Talk to your spouse
Have regular casual conversations with your spouse about anything. Talk about God, the Bible, issues in your life at work, children, goals, plans, etc. Involve your spouse in your life by talking about the things that you are experiencing.
Tell Him/Her Immediately
If your spouse offends you or otherwise hurts your feelings, then tell him or her at that moment or as soon as possible. Don’t ignore it and wait days, months, or years to bring it up. Waiting will only contribute to an unhappy marriage.
Tell your spouse what you like and don’t like
If your husband gives you roses every month, but you don’t like roses, then tell him. If your wife likes to scratch your neck and you find that irritating, then tell her. How is she to know unless you tell her you don’t like it. Of course, communicate such things in a non-confrontational manner. However, I should say that you don’t need to say something if it happens one time or perhaps two times. It could simply be something that happened at that moment and not something that she does regularly. If you find that doing that “thing” is her normal gesture or act, then you may want to say something to cut it off before you get offended and have an emotional outburst.I remember when I was first married that my wife had this habit of patting/slapping me on my face. It was like you patting someone on the back lightly but on the face. I didn’t like that. I don’t like anyone hitting my face, especially in a slapping matter. She did it a few times and then I told her not to do that and that I don’t like it.
be sensitive to each other’s needs
Ensure that your spouse’s needs are met as best you can. If your spouse needs your support then support him/her. If your spouse needs more affection then give it. If your spouse needs more sex then accommodate him/her. Not meeting your spouse’s needs is a sure way to hinder progression to a happy marriage and will probably cause the marriage to go sour after a while.
Avoid emotional responses
Responding to anything from a purely emotional perspective can be very dangerous. Once you say or do something, you can’t really take it back. Therefore, if your spouse upsets you, don’t respond emotionally if at all possible. Try to tame your emotions and respond objectively. Tell your spouse how you felt about what he or she did and allow him or her to explain, apologize, and make things right. Sometimes it is just a misunderstanding and not an intentionally effort to hurt you.
Remain Committed To Your Marriage
Remain committed to the goal of a happy marriage and don’t let setbacks hinder that progression. There will always be setbacks, but they do not have to be the end of the relationship. Even best friends have conflicts. Remain committed and learn to discuss things objectively with your spouse. Make it a habit to discuss your feelings with your spouse. This give him or her the opportunity to communicate more effectively with you.
Do it because it’s the right thing to do
Sometimes we have to do things for our spouse or for the relationship that we really don’t want to do. However, we do them because they are the right thing to do because they will contribute to the goal of a happy marriage.
There are more tips that I can give from being married for over 30 years. However, these tips are great starting points. The bottom line is to get to know your spouse on purpose. Don’t assume that the marriage will be happy just because you’re married. It doesn’t work that way. Two people in love today can literally hate each other in the very near future. People who assume that marriage will last will soon find themselves in divorce court if they don’t take a determined effort to make a happy marriage.
We wouldn’t expect to graduate with honors from school just because we were accepted to that school. Instead, we know that we have to study hard, do the work, and learn in order to succeed. Why would we expect any difference in marriage? You enter the relationship and now you have to work at that relationship to make it a good one. The key to this is to be trained in marriage. That training will probably be from your own efforts, but you must be trained nonetheless.