The Sunday Mail
Apostle Kanyati : Matrimonial Hub
MARRIAGE is a journey. Once the honeymoon phase is over, couples are left with the non-exceptional and routine expectations of everyday life: They go to work, cook, do laundry, pay bills, manage family and social relationships. In most cases, those little things called “differences” begin to appear and would need to be worked out too.This is a lot for couples to manage, yet many underestimate this unexplored dimension of married life. Much of married life is acted out in the everyday behaviors, actions, thoughts, and interactions that you and your spouse have.
Yet, there seems to be some things that healthy couples do and things that unhealthy couples do. These things set the successful marriages apart from the unsuccessful marriages. Well, this is your chance to give your marriage a check-up.
Read on to see things that healthy couples do that could extend their relationship indefinitely.
Remember your history: One of the many ways couples become disengaged with each other is to forget their history. Think of a ship’s anchor: it serves a very important purpose. Not only is an anchor useful when there are turbulent waters in the midst of a maiden journey, but anchors usually provide a sense of assurance. Whenever needed, the ship can be secured and stabilised.
Furthermore, an anchor is controlled by the ship captain and can be deployed at any moment. It is always there. Life can take marriages through turbulent waters. I and my wife have worked with dozens of couples whose waves are capsizing the ship and there is no sign of an anchor. In marriage, I see a relationship’s courtship and the early days of a marriage as the relationship anchor.
Couples can use their relationship’s beginning stories as a way to highlight several things. One is to highlight the basis for the marriage taking place. In other words, why did the marriage become a reality?
When couples were interviewed, they were able to highlight the positive reasons that led them to marry. The marriage is justified and feelings of happiness and positive recollections flood the couple. Additionally, these stories help highlight that although a couple may be experiencing turbulence, their relationship is more than just what is happening currently.
A relationship history can offer long-forgotten reasons for why the relationship is worth fighting for or saving. Many times, relationship beginnings have stories of successes and triumphs that have become buried in piles of countless arguments, petty differences and negative feelings.
Here’s what to do with this: take a time this week and spend 30 minutes on the couch with your spouse and tell your story of getting together, courting, and eventually marrying. Have some fun with it and recollect.
Be positive : Remember that old saying, about seeing the glass half-full, instead of half-empty? Well, it turns out that if applied to your marriage, it could greatly benefit it.
In some ways, being positive in your marriage is like giving it a super-strength pill. One of the benefits is that choosing to look on the bright side is NOT ignoring problems.
In fact, being positive and upbeat helps make your marriage bond stronger, increases marital satisfaction, expands your thinking, and allows for working better together toward solutions to those problems.
Examples of being positive include expressing gratitude towards your partner, celebrating accomplishments, being enthusiastic and doing fun activities together. Need a little more positivity in your marriage? Take an evening walk and tell your spouse a joke on the way.
The next morning, leave him or her a note on their pillow letting them know one special thing you really appreciate about them.
Be a chain-breaker : No one comes from a perfect family. And although some families may present with healthier characteristics than others, it is ultimately up to you and your spouse to alter the future. Remember that every couple has the opportunity to influence the future of their children and their families.
It was established that individuals and families tend to pass along traits, beliefs, and behaviors from generation to generation.
Known as the “multi-generational transmission process”, this process is actually alterable, yet many of us fall into its trap. The way we behave, think and act in marriage is also a reflection of the families we came from and our marriages suffer for it.
Be transitional persons by breaking the chain of negative family influences. You can do this by being the ones who interrupt and ultimately stop negative and unhealthy patterns from being passed on to future generations.
Some of the ways in which transitional persons do this include, but are not limited to, an increased awareness of negative and unhealthy circumstances, a strong desire to change, persistent focus on making the changes happen, and getting help from others to make these changes happen.
Think about it: which behaviors and patterns are you passing on? Which behaviors and patterns are you eliminating?
Make marriage about friendship: Friendship is a wonderful word. Although friendship can be defined in many ways, there are two basic requirements for friendship: trust and admiration. There are very common phrases that float around in society about friendship, such as “a friend is always there, even when we’re not,” or, as one philosopher put it, “Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.”
Studies have shown that friendship was one of the top responses couples gave when asked why their marriages have lasted as long as they had. One of the enemies of friendship in marriage is chaos and lack of scheduled time to act friendly towards each other. Set time apart to work on building that friendship with your spouse.
Once children come in and careers take off, competition for your attention and time will be fierce. Schedule it in your calendars and hold each other accountable for building the blocks to a great marriage friendship.
Use quality and constructive communication: Constructive communication has a positive effect on marital satisfaction. The quality of the communication is the factor that can influence the marital relationship – regardless of the circumstances surrounding any work-life balance difficulties. So, you could have a bad day at work, but still positively impact your marital satisfaction.
Therefore, the individuals in the marriage relationship have the decision to make: either use constructive communication, or destructive communication.
Constructive communication involve being able to self-soothe, show empathy and be clear about what you are communicating.
On the other hand, being defensive, feeling contempt, criticizing and feeling flooded are all indicative of destructive communication.
Hopefully, these marital insights will give you some ideas on how to have a long, loving and lasting marriage.
Hopefully, it also gave you and your spouse a healthy dose of affirmation if you have already been doing these things.
Marriage is definitely complex, so take it one step at a time, and invest some more in your marriage to increase the odds that it will thrive and last. Enjoy your marriage.
Apostle Kanyati is president and founder of Zoe Life Changing Ministries and Grace Unlimited Interdenominational. Feedback at [email protected] and WhatsApp +263772 987 844