Real Talk About Relationships and Married Life

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Marriage 101: Let’s Stay Together

Lets stay together

Anyone who is married or has been married can tell you that marriage is not always peachy. It is not an easy road to tread. It takes work, a stick-to-it attitude, and a decision to work together no matter how hard the other person may be to deal with. When couples do actually work together not just in word, but in deed, and when they view their roles as members of a team instead of opposing forces, therein is half the battle. There are many ideas and philosophies of how marriage should go. Some may be very effective for your relationship and others may not help at all. The important thing is to find a method that works for your relationship and you and your mate’s individual personalities.

Now this does not mean to sweep things under the rug, tolerate abuse of any kind, be complacent, or not deal with the real issues. It means to determine and agree upon the best method or practice for your particular relationship and be consistent with the execution of what you decide upon. However, again the key is working together.

There are many psychologists, marriage counselors, and relationship coaches out there who have great advice. Couples who utilize their services can be the better for it if they in fact take the prescription. However, honestly, how many actually do? If they do, how many actually continue using the principles? So my question is, if you are looking for ways to make your relationship better, no matter how many great people are out there to support you and help you to succeed, it boils right down to you and your mate. That is the bottom line.

There are many people who have difficulty being married or they anticipated marriage being different than what they perhaps might be experiencing. While this is not unusual, it does lead to disappointment in the relationship or the feeling that maybe the grass is greener on the other side. The truth is sometimes it is, but most of the time it is not. Grass that is greener is grass that is being watered. So before you start watering your neighbor’s grass, try giving your own grass what it needs and you will find that you have just as beautiful of a lawn as the one you are envying.

You cannot neglect, abuse, or misuse what you have and expect it to perform at its best. A car needs to be tuned up. A house needs maintenance and repairs. A plant needs sunlight and watering. Likewise, a marriage needs adequate attention for it to thrive. Don’t expect to build a happy home, yet refuse to get your hands dirty and get in there and work at it. It just doesn’t happen that way. A car does not drive itself. It takes a driver and that driver must take action in order to move the car. If the driver is reckless, the car can veer out of control. If a house is not properly built or the foundation is not stable, the house will not be able to withstand the various weather conditions and the changing seasons.

At the end of the day, it is not your therapist’s responsibility to keep your marriage together. It’s not your pastor’s, your friend’s or your parents’ job to make your marriage work. It is yours and your mate’s job. No ifs ands about it, point blank! Yes, it can be very frustrating when negotiating with your spouse to respond to your needs and respond the way you want and need them to respond. Again, at the end of the day, the responsibility belongs to the two of you. Believe you me; running is not always the answer.

Now, there are many views on marriage. However, here are ten basic marriage tips that will help couples get through some common problems in their marriage.

1. Make Your Spouse Your Number One Priority After the Creator. The Leave and Cleave principle is worth its weight in gold to a healthy and happy marriage if you but understand. The truth of the matter is if the couple do not cleave, someone is bound to leave.

2. Communicate With Your Spouse and Consult With Them. Remove the “I” and replace it with the “WE.” Nothing destroys loving communication faster than feeling like you don’t matter or are not a part of the plan. When you got married, you chose to exchange the singleness with the togetherness. Don’t be surprised if you try to do the single thing in a together situation and it does not work out well. Two opposing ideas cannot occupy the same space at the same time and there be harmony.

3. Fight Fair. No stonewalling, name-calling, playing the dozens, verbal abuse, going to bed not speaking to one another, or withholding intimacy out of frustration or anger. These are games people play because they lack self-control, but they are the very games that chip at the core of a marriage. This is a game that both players lose.

4. Practice Self Control and Maturity. People get upset and angry. Yet how you handle anger is key. Don’t lock yourself in a room and your spouse out of one. The only thing that should be between you and your spouse is loving kindness. It is emotionally abusive to lock your spouse out of a room absent of physical danger. Nothing breeds distrust faster than locked doors between couples with the refusals of opening them. In truth, you are locking more than doors in regards to your marriage, and you might find that when you are ready to open them, the door is jammed.

5. Be Patient With One Another. It’s amazing how patience and forbearing couples are with one another when they are trying to “get” the other. Somehow that forbearance goes out the window, when the “I do’s” happen. Patience is a demonstration of maturity and the willingness to do what is necessary to work things out.

6. Make Time For Intimacy. There is no such thing as “I don’t have time” when it comes to a healthy marriage. People do what is important to them. That is the bottom line. Couples, who make their marriage an important part of their life, make the time to nurture it and give it what it needs to thrive. They are happier and get the most out of their marriage. If you can make time to go to the barbers or salon, dentist and doctor’s appointments, surf the web, tweet your daily tweets or make your Facebook posts, or the other things you deem necessary, how important is your spouse and making the time to nurture that relationship?

7. Balance Me Time With We Time. It is important for couples to have individual time and space for their own personal development. Yet when the “Me” time far outweighs the “We” time then something is wrong with that picture. If you find you much rather do things alone or without your spouse, then perhaps you need to reconsider some things. Marriage is about togetherness, not singleness. If you prefer the “Me” over the “We” more, then you might want to ask yourself if you are in the right life situation.

8. Share Household Responsibility. Nothing puts a damper on morale in marriage faster than the feelings that your spouse is not pulling their fair share around the house or is not being a team player. Household maintenance and upkeep is not a gender responsibility it’s a team effort. One of the worst feelings is to be taken for granted and nothing drives that point home faster than a spouse who does not help.

9. Pray Together. The old familiar tune, “A family that prays together stays together…” I have a feeling that this is actually very true. It takes humility to pray with your mate, especially when they are getting on your nerves or you just do not want to be around them. In truth, that is when you should be more apt to pray together. When both husband and wife realize or believe that there is a power greater than them both, they tend to honor and respect one another more. However mere belief counts for nothing unless carried into practice.

10. Be Loyal and Faithful Friends. Some couples act as if they are mortal enemies. This is a ridiculous disposition to take. If you want a war and desire to be on a battlefield, go to war with anything or anyone who causes a division or sows seeds of dissension in your marriage and get on the battlefield to make your marriage work. There’s enough unrest in the world. Who wants to come home to it? If you intentionally pick fights or “stir the pot” with your mate just to get them going or hear their mouth, you might take a closer look at what you might be cooking up. Know when fun has turned foul.

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Trying to Find My Way

how_to_deal_with_postmarriage_blues

Dear Atiya,

I will get straight to the point. I have been in a relationship with my husband for 17 years and married for five of those years. I knew him from when we were kids at school and I met him again when I had just ended my first marriage. To cut a long story short I now realize that I just do not love him. I have tried everything from date nights to going away for special weekends which he loves and enjoys but I can just about tolerate them! I would love to love him but it is not happening and as the years go by I feel like something in my soul is dying and I am scared that I will never get back my spark or feel again what it truly means to love someone with heart, body and soul and still be myself, (Especially at my age 44!)

I am constantly at war with myself. Yes it would be so easy to get up and leave because I am an independent woman but honestly feel there is an element of fear because as much as I am so unhappy I do think there is a certain dependency there after so many years? We had separated recently and it was a mutual decision but he moved literally around the corner and kept coming to the house, bearing gifts, doing things around the house and calling almost constantly so eventually I just gave in and he returned. We bought a house together, so here I am back to square one and he thinks that I am not trying but I have no more fight left in me. The cold truth is that he loves me and I just don’t love him. How do I get back to me? The happy loving person I have not seen in years and get rid of this angry, miserable person? I so desperately want my shine back!! Thank you for taking the time out to read this letter, stay blessed.

– SO DESPERATELY LOST AND UNHAPPY!!!

Dear So Desperately Lost and Unhappy:

Thank you for your letter. No one can make you love someone that you just do not love. Everyone has the right to be happy. Now, with that being said, it sounds as if you do not know exactly what you want, and no one is to blame for your casualties of war but you. You may not have any more fight left in you, but it is not fair to emotionally abandon your mate and your marriage. If you do not like the person that you have become, then I would suggest that you decide what you want and stick to your decision. Stop playing games with someone else’s heart because of your own inability to be honest and straightforward. You say you do not love him, but my question to you is, “Do you even love yourself?” Another question I would pose is this, “Is there another man?” and yet a third question is, “Are you sure you even want to be married?”

You want to know how to get back to the loving person that you have not seen in years and get rid of the angry, miserable person? Start by telling the truth to yourself and your mate. Marriage is a serious commitment. It is designed to be a lifetime barring abuse, infidelity and other serious issues that destroy the health and life of the marriage. However, some marriages survive those issues as well.

I cannot tell you to leave or stay. That is for you to decide. What I will say is this. Your husband appears to be making every effort to hold up his vows. You did not mention him being unkind to you. You did not mention him being unfaithful. You did not mention him being abusive or problems he has that is destroying your love for him. As a matter of fact, the way you described him, leads anyone to believe he is a pretty good man that any woman would be blessed to call husband. The marriage relationship has its ups and downs, its ins and outs. It goes through cycles and seasons. It is not always, whirlwind romance. It is up to the couples to make their marriage blissful, and it takes work on both the husband’s and the wife’s part.

Remember, the decision you make impacts not only you. It impacts your husband, your family, friends, and any children that the two of you may have. So before taking any drastic measures, my advice to you is to get counseling for your marriage; get counseling for yourself; and take a good long hard look in the mirror and be sure of what you really want before walking out that door. That grass is not always greener on the other side. Grass is greener because it gets watered.

– Atiya

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Two Words That Solves the Marriage Crisis

love-is-trustThere are two words that solve the whole marriage crisis. They are love and trust, and this applies to everyone whether you are married or single. For the single person, love and trust God enough to hold on to your vision of marriage until that special one comes. For the married couples love and trust each other enough to know that God sent the right one.

 I was very touched by an article written by Lesahaun Taylor, author of the book entitled, “It Was Me All Along” that I wanted to post it here in Dear Atiya with my comments.

 Article by LeShaun Taylor:

Often times we talk about the awesome pluses to being single. Freedom to come and go as you please, not having to ride an emotional roller coaster and being able to date multiple people with no attachments. With so much divorce, financial strains, and infidelity it doesn’t even seem worth the effort.

Some have determined themselves to be married to singleness. Divorce has become so common place, within the church and out, that our hope, innocence and belief system in love and trust has been damaged. I heard a wise man say how beautiful it is for a child to keep the hope and excitement for Christmas and Santa Clause alive.

It gives them something to look forward to and no matter what, that gleam in their eyes of excitement and joy is priceless. I will say this about being single, enjoy it but don’t put a ring on! Trust that the man or woman in your vision, is on the way to help you with the vision.

Comments by Atiya:

Great article and very timely. SMILE. I encourage abstinence until marriage. It is so very important to respect, love, and appreciation in marriage. While abstinence has always been a goal of mine from very young, I like many fell short of reaching it until now. In my current marriage, I finally achieved that goal, and I am married to a wonderful man of God, no doubt about it! SMILE.

What most people do not realized is that a Godly arranged marriage opens both husband and wife up to their healing from their past and those who are running from the commitment that comes with marriage is in truth running from their own healing. Likewise, divorce happens because one runs from their healing, or the other is refusing to go through the process of healing.

I would like to add though that, singleness is not just a mindset that people who are not married take on, it is one of the greatest problems in marriage that triggers all sorts of other issues that can lead to a one way trip to divorce court.

It is natural for someone who is single to have a single mindset. However, a supernatural mindset is needed for marriage, and when one walks through that door of holy matrimony, couples must be prepared for a new paradigm and learn to move with both speed and accuracy, because at that point, the couple is operating in another realm. If they are not prepared, not sincerely ready to walk that walk, or afraid of losing themselves, the ride can get pretty bumpy and lessons learned the hard way.

The world of singleness and the world of holy matrimony are very different, and if people would truly open their eyes and really look at what is going on around them, they would be able to see from a different perspective and a discerning pair of eyes. The problem is two fold.

Single people who hate singleness and do not prepare, understand, or hold the vision of marriage, consciously or unconsciously wages war on the world of matrimony. The marriage becomes invaded by inappropriate emotional attachments between married and non married persons of the opposite gender, thus breaking a bond necessary for marriage to thrive. This happens through things like facebook, twitter, other social media. This happens through friendships, job, church. The sad thing is that the persons who have been possessed fails to realize that they have lost their balance, and the married person will begin to see their spouse as the enemy and the single person will begin to unconsciously or consciously do things out of a lustful spirit such as go online just to see if the person is there, dress to gain the attention of the married person, make themselves always present and available just in case the married person needs them.

Married couples who have not totally committed themselves to the process of marriage or whose intentions were not really on marriage at the onset but rather to get a woman or a man rather than a husband or a wife, or who is struggling to make that paradigm shift for whatever reasons breaks down the marriage and erects walls of division by not building hedges of protection around it. They are exposed by faulty reasoning such as this is mine and that is yours, these are my friends, those are your friends, and I need more space, not realizing that there is a huge gap of space that is filled with everything else other than the spouse. Married couples must have a shared vision for their marriage, because single visions in marriage do not work. It takes the spirit of love and harmony – we, us, and ours. Married couples must cover one another as not to leave the other exposed. Friendships and relationships must be healthy and whole and friendships of the marriage. How can two walk together unless they be agreed.

It takes a whole lot more than walking down the aisle saying “I do” or “I will.”

Singleness is a temporary condition that is designed for a short time to allow for the opportunity to prepare. Marriage is a lifelong journey and takes a lifelong commitment to the process and the ability to move within a new paradigm with speed and accuracy.

For husband and wives I ask, “Have you noticed that the words Listen and Silent have all the same letters?” God sent this message through a Godly friend who understands the vision of marriage. SMILE. This is no coincidence. The key is husbands need to listen more to their wives; and wives need to be more silent and let The One touch her husband’s heart.

Hopefully, the man gets the message before he falls and the woman gets the point before she loses her mind. A husband must love his wife enough to put her before everything else except The One. The wife must trust her husband enough to let go and let God. Husband and wives must never stop believing in one another. No matter what the world says or the world’s way of doing it is, a husband has the right to be in everything the wife does, and the wife has the right to be in everything the husband does. Whether they exercise that right in all cases, when they do, it would behoove the other to pay very close attention. There is a reason for it. Usually that reason is a warning signal from the spiritual realm which reads: Attack or Threat of Attack. Nine times out of ten, the woman sees it first, this is why it is so important to listen.

They both must understand that it takes working together to maintain balance and there is no such thing in a healthy marriage of “my business” or “your business.” It is about “OUR” business. This must be the attitude of married couples and they must come to understand that anything the other does or says impacts the other. That impact can be life or it can be death. That’s how serious this thing is.

Love is not a game, so stop playing the field; and what God has joined together let no man or woman put asunder!

Your comments are requested and welcomed.

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