In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Favorite Marriage Quote

My favorite marriage quote is:

"Marriage is like two ticks looking for a dog"

I know it's not very romantic, but it is true. Why I, and everyone else, has strife in marriage is because I'm looking to meet my own needs. I want it to be all about me.

In fact, if you think about it, what's the kind of love we "fall into" really about? Many social psychology researchers have said, and I know it to be true for myself and many others, this type of love is about how that person makes you feel. You love that person because they feel absolutely dynamite to be around.

There's a really good book on marriage, "His needs, Her needs", by Willard F. Harley Jr. This book talks about a love bank. Maybe it's because I'm an administrator, but this whole concept made sense for me. The idea is that we all, unconsciously for the most part, have a love bank. When a person does things that make us feel good, deposits are made into their account in our bank. When a person does things that make us feel bad, withdrawls are made. A person's balance in their account with us, determines our feelings of love toward that person. If a person, either purposefully or unwittingly, makes enough withdrawls they can become overdrawn and their account will become downright closed - now their deposits are no longer accepted. Typically that's what happens in that pre divorce stage; accounts are closed so that it no longer matters what that person does, it's too late. This particular book is all about finding out your partners most significant needs and directly ensuring that you meet them. This idea is logical to me since in marriage we expect a lot of our needs to be exclusively met by our partner; so if he/she isn't meeting them, we're either unfulfilled or end up getting into an affair.

My biggest challenge is to choose to meet my husbands needs; especially when these are not my biggest needs. I'm like that tick on a dog who wants to suck and get - not give. My nature is not generous. For me I have to look outside of myself and ask G0d to change my heart.

One practical way for me to cooperate with God's work in my heat is to meditate on scripture. Meditation on God's word each day, and being aware of my natural tendency toward selfishness, is helpful. Every year around Valentine's day I take an inventory using 1 Corinthians 13:1-8; I ask God to, by His spirit, help me really see myself and I inventory my love for my husband. Then I set some goals of areas to focus and work on.

Another way to educate my mind to new ways of thinking that's been helpful in my marriage is for us to read books together. Usually, due to busy schedules, we rarely actually read them together. But we'll both read the same book and then sometimes discuss the concepts. Sometimes we'll even purchase two separate books and both read/underline and then share what we got out of the chapters as we're going through. We aren't where I want us to be in our ability to discuss these things; especially when there's a problem area. But I see growth and that encourages me. A fun thing we also do is to make sure that our marriage book list includes books on physical intimacy. There aren't really many great Christian ones on this topic but I don't have a problem if the author is coming from a different perspective, even that makes me think and that's basically part of why I'm reading in the first place. Plus the physical information is still valid and helpful and I've learned so much more about our bodies and sexuality than I was ever aware of - all to the enhancement of our marriage and life pleasure.

I notice in my marriage that if I can get past my natural inclination toward selfishness, and I really seek to meet my husbands needs, that a positive cycle starts to take place. He's so happy and pleased that his desire to do those things that I like is increased, and as he meets my needs I want to meet his, and so it goes.

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