Russell & I attend the Alpha Omega community group at Mountain Brook Community Church. It's a class for married couples, and, out of probably 60 couples, only 3 or 4, including us :), does not have children. So, we're learning a lot about marriage and family life!! It's truly wonderful!
Our pastor and his wife, Tim & Christi Kallam, have shared two of three parts to a "Marriage Truths" series, so far. Here are some notes, if you so dare to entertain yourself! Be sure to share with your spouse! :)
1-2 years - Young Love/Romantic Love
3-10 years - Realistic Love
11-25 years - Comfortable Love
26-35 years - Renewing Love
35+ years - Transcendent Love
-differences are pronounced - ex: she reads instructions; he does NOT
-travel - ex: she wants to stop & go shopping on the road trip; he just wants to get there!
-cooking/organization - ex: she likes to clean as she goes; he lets it piles up, waiting to clean it all when finished!
-meals - ex: he ventures out; she gets the same thing every time
-making the bed - ex: her perspective: you have to! his perspective: why bother? you're just gonna get right back in tonight.
-shopping - ex: her perspective: let's make an entire day out of it...we can eat brkfst, lunch and dinner out! his perspective: let's just get it done! we can make it home by kick-off at 11:00!
Ask yourselves these questions, as individuals and as a couple:
Ultimately, what really matters in life? What are our values? What are our goals?
-finances/budget-we can let less or more income affect our values
-1 person + 1 person = conflict
-1 person in love + 1 person in love = conflict... you can't get around it...it's always there.
*Goal: Getting to Transcendent Love: walking in step with each other in the Lord, regardless of the circumstances of life; appreciating your spouse's idiosyncrasies (the things you thought were so cute when you were dating but then became obnoxious after marriage). BUT to get to Transcendent Love, you've got to go through all the other phases of love...God will use all the phases to bring us to the ultimate transcendence in our marriage.
How are our marriages affected by life's stressors?
-Emotional & Physical State of Being
*We want to not merely survive, but thrive!
A Physical Perspective often perceived by marriage counselors:
Wife's perspective on sex: "We do it ALL the time! Two times a week!"
Husband's perspective on sex: "We NEVER do it! Only two times a week!"
Realistic Love can lead to drifting and boredom in your marriage, characterized by 'just living day by day,' just 'makin'' it.
Tim mentioned a book here, Tender Warrior, by Stu Weber, which alludes to how life can become when you lose vision.
(Russell has read this book several times, and we just started reading it together this week. We're trying to do a chapter/night, and it's really great. God's opening my eyes in new ways to who a man in Him really is! Russell's thrilled to see me delighting in it.)
Steps to take:
1-Accept your mate - Romans 15:7
2 Peter 1:3 - God has give us all that we need for our marriage to thrive, not just survive.
Principle of Acceptance - brings confidence & security
Gen. 3:22 - statement of acceptance of Adam to Eve
1-Appreciate & embrace each other's differences (ie, "irritants")
2-Accept Reality - adjustments are inevitable; pray for wisdom in how to love 'this other person' vs. trying to change him/her (you cannot change anyone!)
3-Set aside our personal agendas - women can tend to manipulate
Principle of Affirmation - builds respect
-Proverbs 18:21 - we have the power of life & death in our word choice
-Eph 4:29 - be sensitive to what your spouse needs to hear in this moment, not necessarily blurting out whatever you may want to say.
-Keep date nights special
-Plan retreats - set goals for marriage, for family...
1-Words of Affirmation - genuine, sincere; specific, not vague
2-Quality Time - UNdivided attention
3-Receiving Gifts - don't wait for a special occasion; think of these gifts as investments into your spouse & marriage!!
4-Acts of Service - doing something your spouse would appreciate.
5-Physical Touch - not for selfish reasons; give him/her a back rub, cuddle...
Principle of Preference -
-Philippians 2:3-4 - prefer your spouse's interest first; the greater the sacrifice, the greater the love communicated.
Principle of Anticipation -
-Jeremiah 29:11 - that's the Father's heart for your marriage, for you as individuals...a desire for us to prosper, not fail; plans for a hope & a future!!
I'll try to get notes for Part II posted...should come toward the first of February...stay in tune!