PRACTICAL MARRIAGE ADVICE
Just a few weeks ago on September 6, Miguel and I had the privilege of celebrating our seven year anniversary.
To celebrate and enjoy our last days of summer, we booked a last minute weekend getaway to New Smyrna Beach. The change of scenery helped us reflect on our personal journey and on marriage — our adventure of love.
However, with hurricane season upon us our getaway was delayed a week due to Tropical Storm Erika. If you are a Floridian, you know all too well how we prepare for storms around here. Sometimes, we rush to the stores and raid the canned goods, water and battery isles — while other times we just kick-back and bring out the board games as we wait for the storm to pass through. Let me tell you from experience, being prepared for a storm before it hits is always the wiser choice.
But in our day-to-day, how do we prepare for the storms of life? Because one of the things that what we’ve learned while being married is that every marriage is an adventure in adversity.
What exactly am I talking about? Well, a few weeks back, Miguel and I attended Christ Journey Church as we normally do. Actually, it was just a couple of weeks before our anniversary that we heard this life-changing sermon on marriage. In this message, Pastor Bill White shared some of the most practical marriage advice we’ve heard in a while. It was note worthy, applicable and definitely worth sharing. The message was so helpful that I had to ask our pastor if I could share it with you. Here’s what I learned…
See in Ecclesiastes 4:12 it says “A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” In the past I’ve heard teachers refer to that cord/strand as you, God and your significant other. And if you kept God at the center, that strand would withstand adversity. Though that concept still remains, our pastor dove a little deeper by also teaching about the three different types of love that can be found in Scriptures. Philia love – a friendly brotherly love. Eros love – an erotic love with physical desire and longing. And Agape love – an unconditional, abounding love. The combination of those three creating a storm-ready “not easily broken” marriage.
Marriage is a commitment of love and a promise to persevere even when times get hard — because as we know, hard times will come. In fact according to NY best-selling authors Dr. Les and Leslie Parrot, the average couple has 312 fights a year. (312?!? Yikes.) These fights can come from unspoken expectations (including money, sex, power), lack of communication, external circumstances (job loss, in-laws, kids) or past influences and/or experiences.
So what makes a strong marriage?
- A strong marriage creates an emotionally safe environment. Philia love.
It offers the safety of emotional friendship. It is a place where you feel loved, heard and are never judged.
- A strong marriage is volitional and secure. Agape love.
It consists of a strong willful commitment to make it work and make it fun. One feels safe knowing that your spouse is in it for the long haul.
- A strong marriage is physically sensual. Eros love.
It is a love that says I am all in with all of me. You desire each other and are generous to one another sexually.
Images by: Yukiko Golfari • Akemi Photographic Design
Simply knowing all these things may help your marriage, but true change really comes down to action. So what can you do to better your marriage? Here are a few practical steps to help you cover the basics:
- Tend to your relationship with God. Because He is the source of unconditional love and forgiveness.
- Make time every day to connect with your spouse. Look and listen to each other and share an emotional connection. (Miguel and I call it our happy and crappy time. It is a time where we share the crappy and happy part of our days.)
- Make time every week to be together. Set a date-night and make it a priority. Not sure what to do? Make a list of favorite things to do (go on a bike-ride, take a walk, go to the movies). We’re foodies so we recently started a must-try restaurant list.
- Give each other a token of love every month. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Think flowers, a card, chocolates, a hand-written love letter, anything. And don’t wait for an anniversary!
- Have a change of scenery or plan a getaway every quarter. It is not only refreshing, but in some circumstances it can allow you to talk and focus on things you otherwise wouldn’t have time for.
- Be generous to each other sexually. Don’t neglect your physical relationship. Enjoy each other and love each other fully!
No marriage is perfect and our relationship is definitely not the exception. Through this post I am by no means trying to portray a perfect marriage. In fact, everything that I’ve just shared with you, Miguel and I are learning to put into practice ourselves.
In fact, if you personally know us, you also know that we’ve had a fair share of ups-and-downs, because again — no marriage is perfect. (If anybody tells you otherwise, find new friends. Ha!) The positive side to it all is that good habits build a healthy marriage. With time and by God’s grace we learn that in order for a marriage to withstand adversity we must first surrender it to God and then do everything we can to tend to it with our time, energy, money and full devotion.
Are you in a storm right now? Don’t quit. Fight for love. Because a wise friend once said, “Sometimes setbacks can be setups to something even greater!”
PS: Still have questions? Feel free to let me know if I can be of any help to you in this topic. I love praying for my married friends and I get so excited to see God’s hand in every circumstance — good and bad.
PSS: If you and your significant other want to have matching three-o-fab tees like us. (305 /30fab get it?) Use the code FLAIRBESTIES at checkout and get a 20% off discount!