In my last blog, we looked at four things I have learned about marriage over the past twenty-eight years with my incredible wife Teri. If you missed it, you can go back and read it here.
Today we continue with four more things I have learned about marriage. I hope you find it useful!
Communication is Key
One of the most damaging things people do in a marriage is make ungrounded assumptions. This relates closely to the Baggage point in the previous blog. Your spouse did not grow up in your childhood home, so they don’t necessarily understand that you expect things to go a certain way. They don’t know what you want or expect unless you tell them. So stop thinking love is about the other person knowing what you want even before you do, and just tell them what makes you feel loved and special. It’s a lot easier than ESP.
Physical Intimacy is More Than You Think
Our views on intimacy have been seriously warped in modern times. Everything from cars to news-feeds screams cheap sexuality. The irony is, that lust-driven marketing will always leave us unfulfilled for what we truly desire. As I shared in a recent blog, God created Adam and then separated him into male and female (Eve). When man joins with woman, they become complete again. It is in this perfect unity that new life is created and love expands to include others. While men certainly are stimulated by what they see, they will never be completely satisfied with the mere act of physical union. Every man craves to be connected to his wife with all his being (body, soul and spirit). The physical act should catalyze the joining of spirit and souls and complete the perfect trinitarian God connection. Women also crave this connection, but are more likely to respond with their whole self when they feel unconditional love that forsakes all others.
Sometimes the Things You Think You Need Are Not Really What You Need
One of the most challenging things for me in marriage was learning that when I asked God to give me the woman I needed, that was not always the same as the woman I wanted. There were many times over the years when what I thought I wanted was exactly opposite of what I was getting. Honestly, I was – at times – angry and begged God to fix her. Invariably, God’s answer has always been to fix me. It is amazing how much more wonderful my wife became, when God worked on me. I am a much better man today than I ever could have been if God would have given me a woman who indulged my immaturities, instead of one who challenges me to grow up – although gracefully I don’t think she has ever actually said that to me even when I often deserved it.
We all have bad days. As mentioned before, we all have baggage. Everything your spouse says and does is NOT about you. Sometimes it is related to something that happened years ago that your look just reminded them of. Sometimes, it is about stress. Sometimes they don’t even know what it is about. Instead of taking it personal and getting defensive, learn what you can do to help, and be okay with whatever that is. If it is giving some space, then give some space. If it is about holding them, hold them. If it is about beating someone with a stick… In that case you can just joke with your spouse that you are ready to go do it – but please do not :-). Let them talk it out without judgment and ideas of how to fix it. Ask them deep probing questions (see my coaching blogs, classes and materials) that help them work it out in their own mind. Don’t try to be their savior. (Jesus is the only one they need.) Instead, be their friend and be there for them.
So there you have it. Eight things I have learned about marriage during my twenty-eight years of marriage. It is important to note that Teri and I are not the perfect couple. No one is. We wouldn’t have even learned these things if we had not been completely sold out to doing the will of our Father in Heaven and believe wholeheartedly that God hates divorce. (Malachi 2:16) Although I didn’t mention it directly in my eight things, one-hundred percent commitment to God and each other is absolutely foundational to everything else.
If you want to hear more about these topics, or if I can be of service in any way, please let me know. Info@RodneyDHall.com
P.S. I will be speaking at Abiding in Him Church in Fayetteville, NC this Sunday, July 10th at 10:30 am. We would love to have you join me.