by Barry J. Brigham
Jesus talked about those who hear and obey and those who merely hear, he illustrates this by offering a parable. (Matt. 7:24-27) The storms will come. Great marriages are not those that never encounter difficulty, great marriages are forged out of difficulty with a tenacious ability to confidently get the marriage back on line immediately following the storms that life throws at them. What was the message?
Never underestimate the importance of a good foundation.
Communication is the foundation of a marriage
Rules for communication:
- be of one mind (unified-shared vision)
- be compassionate (empathy and mercy)
- love deeply (1 Cor 13:4-8.)
- be tenderhearted and courteous (put the other first)
- bless your spouse (wanting the best for them, I Peter 3:8)
Forgiveness is essential for trust
Dale Carnegie once noted that the only animal the grizzly would allow to eat with him was the skunk. Grizzly bears in Yellowstone Park often come to eat at the place where garbage is dumped. This huge bear can fight and beat almost any animal in the West, but it lets the skunk share its meal. Carnegie said that the grizzly surely resented the skunk and could have easily killed the little creature in any fight. No doubt the bear would have liked to have gotten even with him for his intrusion. But he didn’t. Why? Because he knew the high cost of getting even.
Bitterness is the most dangerous of all plagues to healthy Christian living. It will eat away at the vitality of your spiritual life until your once-vibrant testimony is in shambles. It is the “cancer of the soul”, and it claims millions of victims each year. It spreads faster than the common cold and threatens the survival of many churches.
Yet there is a cure for this plague. One of the most beautiful words in any language is the word “forgive.” To forgive is to release someone from the wrong that they have done to you. It means to give up any rights of retaliation.
When I forgive, I open the road to reconciliation. I can begin building an authentic trust between someone and myself. That trust needs to deepen through telling the truth and being accountable.
Trust is the key to deepening intimacy
Familiarity and intimacy are not the same. Each has a value in life, certainly in married life, but one is no substitute for the other. If one is confused for the other, we have the basis for major human and marital unrest. In marriage, familiarity is inescapable. It happens almost imperceptibly. Intimacy is usually hard to come by. It must be deliberately sought and opened up and responded to. Familiarity brings a degree of ease and comfort. Intimacy anxiously searches for deep understanding and personal appreciation. -Gordon Lester
Great marriages require real intimacy, which is taken from the Latin phrase “to-see-inmost.” Another article on our site addresses the separate facets of intimacy for married couples. When intimacy is positive and enduring for a couple, it adds to the fundamental needs of security and significance that a person has.
Healthy marriages contribute to the needs of security and significance
My spouse cannot meet all of my needs of security, nor all of my needs of significance…I will only be complete when I see Jesus face to face. I will be like Him for I shall see Him as He is.