Successful marriage. Everybody wants one. However, you can’t flip through the channels without seeing some “reality” show promoting anything but. Relationships are rife with manufactured tension, intrusive family members, and wannabe friends looking for their 15 minutes of fame. While these shows are not a good look for the ideal marriage relationship, they get one thing right. If your marriage is going to succeed, you have to make sure it survives friends and family.
Recently, I wrote an article that caught a lot of flack because I outlined ways to “train” your spouse for a “perfect” marriage. Some people took issue with the word “train” and some with the word “perfect.” Needless to say, it made for a hearty discussion. As I read some of the comments, I thought, ironically, when our marriages are in the crapper, isn’t this the reason why?
In our communication with our partners, we get so stuck on one word, we fail to get the point. So we run tell that to anyone who’ll listen…well, not anyone. We talk to people who will “take our side.” They feed our negativity, our pride, and the beast determined to kill our relationships. Before you know it, we can no longer protect the relationship we once held so dear. If you want your marriage to survive friends and family, here are four ways to make that happen.
Keep God as a fence around your relationship
Marriages fail or succeed for different reasons. But most successful marriages have a strong spiritual influence on the relationship. God is often the center and the fence. With God at the centre of your relationship, we are more likely to get out of our own way.
Harsh words are seasoned with love.
Anger is quieted by grace.
Pride is broken by humility.
Selfishness is overtaken by consideration.
Just as important, with God as the fence, we work hard at keeping negative influences out.
Don’t degrade your spouse to anyone, including your mother…or I should say, especially your mother.
When your friend is degrading her spouse, don’t join the party.
Pray…a lot…before you seek advice.
Don’t invite others into your business
It’s so easy to talk down our spouses when we’re angry. We find the nearest ear and vent our frustrations without regard for how that person will view our partner and our relationship. Actions have consequences. When you tear your partner down, either to or in front of others, those people will view your relationship differently. If they are your friends, they will want to take your side. And to them, taking your side includes demeaning your spouse along with you.
If you want a successful marriage, see point one. Take your frustrations, your fears, your concerns to God first. Then, after you’ve calmed down, speak to your partner with a level head and an open mind. Unless there is abuse, infidelity, or danger, do your best to keep others out.
Discuss issues with each other before anyone else.
To have a successful marriage, this point should be a given. However, oftentimes, we go to our parents or our friends before we go to our spouses to talk about stuff. Those same friends or family members remember all the other problems with our relationship and before you know it, they begin to stoke the fire designed to destroy your marriage.
Fair communication is more than just important in your marriage. It’s necessary. Your marriage thrives on communication. As issues arise in your relationship, talk to each other in a way that pleases God and uplifts your marriage. If things get heated, walk away and come back after you’ve had a good chat with God. In other words, see point one.
When asking for help, make sure it’s unbiased.
Sometimes, things go beyond what you can handle. That’s just the bottom line. You’ve prayed, you’ve talked, yet nothing is getting resolved. You’re unsure of how to move forward. One thing is certain, you want your relationship to work.
Getting counselling from a therapist or pastor is not a bad thing. Look, relationships are tough. Depending on the influences we have around us, it’s harder for some than others. But the moment we bring family and friends into the mix, we’re just making matters worse. Ask for help from people whose only desire is to see your marriage succeed.
So, what’s the bottom line? If you want your marriage to survive your friends and family, don’t invite them into your relationship, and stay out of theirs.
Written by Joann Fisher. She has been a writer and editor for both print and online newspapers and magazines for the last 10 years. She now serves as a Writer/Editor at BMWK and lead Editor for The Joy Network.
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