Healthy marriages are incredibly important. The ripple effects of unhealthy relationships are broad and deep, adversely impacting husbands and wives, children, friends, and society as a whole. My challenge to you is to discuss and incorporate these principles into your marriage.
Be on the Same Page with Money. Money issues are often cited as the leading cause of arguments and divorce. We must find a way to work as a team. A common foundational issue occurs when couples don’t combine finances. This can lead to all kinds of power and emotional issues. Combine your accounts, income, bills and debts, and work together to address them. It’s “our” money, not “my” or “your” money. Our pastor, Ben Newman, states that in his experience, “Couples who have separate accounts have a 100% (not 99%) chance of having finances drive a serious wedge between them.”
When it comes to developing a plan to be free from debt and to live generously, the strategy that has helped the most people in America is found in the book, “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey. It is an easy yet probing read. Prior to reading this, we knew a fair amount about money and budgeting, but didn’t have a framework of how to sequence our financial life. We were doing a little of everything and making small gains. Applying these principles changed everything for the better. We now have the opportunity to be debt free in the next few years, expand our generosity, and have taught our kids to do the same at a much earlier age. Applying these principles will change your marriage and could change family’s future for generations to come. More info is found at daveramsey.com.
Have Constructive Conflict. Conflict will happen. You should prepare yourselves to “fight fairly” and be wise in your communication in conflict. When things are calm and going well, develop ground rules for future conflicts. Focus on the issue at hand. Don’t bring up past issues, especially when it’s been forgiven. Address the issue without making it personal. Personal attacks will result in bitterness and resentment. You should desire to resolve the conflict, not “win” at the expense of your spouse’s self-esteem or well-being. Remember, you promised to love him/her forever. Hurting is not loving.
Here are two easy to remember tips to incorporate into your next conflict. First, don’t say “never” or “always” during conflict. That’s likely not true, and those words are meant to wound and not heal. Second, use “I feel that” instead of “you”. As an example, “I feel that when the garbage is not taken out, my other contributions are being taken for granted”. Versus, “You never take out the garbage and are lazy.” An excellent book on this topic is Communication: Key to Your Marriage by H. Norman Wright.
I encourage you to incorporate the eight principles we’ve covered in this series and have a long and fulfilling marriage.
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