I’m at the Tulsa Workshop this week talking about building strong marriages and families. Yesterday I talked to a packed house about how to fix a self-centered marriage. The reason it was a packed house, was not because I was teaching … but because marriages and families are struggling, and we’re seeing the value in strengthening them.
Today’s class on healthy families. I’ll be starting it out by reminding them that the best thing you can do for your family is have a healthy marriage. When building a healthy marriage don’t buy into these BIG LIES about marriage (a partial reprint) …
- Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Never! It’s okay when a job separates you occasionally, but taking a job that keeps you away for weeks at a time is asking for trouble. I had a man tell me once that his new job, that would take him away 4 months out of the year, would be worth it because it would gain him over $12,000 a year. I asked him if that was worth losing his family. He said it would never happen … but it did. I’m not saying a marriage can’t survive a job that separates a husband and a wife, but I sure don’t recommend it.
- Your spouse shouldn’t be your best friend. Actually the opposite is true … your spouse SHOULD be your best friend.
- My spouse will know my needs without me having to say anything. Let me just say, “ARE YOU NUTS!” No way. Just because you are married doesn’t mean your spouse can read your mind. You have to tell your spouse what your needs are in order to have them met. Wives, listen close, you can’t connect the dots CLOSE enough for your husband to figure it out and catch on to what you’re thinking … so just tell him. Dropping hints or just expecting your husband to know what you’re thinking will only lead to MORE frustration.
- Romance and affection will always fade in time. That’s not always true. Some of the most romantic couples I’ve seen have been married for 20+ years. At the same time, I can’t help but smile when young couples who are wanting to get married tell me, “Trey, we’ll be alright. When things get bad, we’ll live off the love we have for each other.” It’s at this time I’m usually looking for a trash can so I can throw up. Romantic love WILL fade in time, if you don’t put in the effort to keep it strong.
- You will automatically grow in your marriage without working at it. Believe it or not, marriages that last are built on good old-fashion work. Good marriages and even great marriages don’t just happen, they take work. What kind of work? Read a book together, attend a weekend marriage seminar, take a weekend to get away without the kids, be willing to make changes in your own life or simply start by asking your spouse “How are we doing?”
- Marriage is about getting your needs met. Nope, marriage is about giving and meeting your spouse’s needs. When you’re focused on meeting your spouse’s needs, they will in turn meet your needs.
- Ignoring issues or problems will make them go away. Catch this … ignoring things your spouse says are problems will ONLY make them worse in time. Sweeping things under-the-rug only makes for worse problems later. When you’re having issues in your marriage, FIX THEM!
- There are some things you shouldn’t share with your spouse. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a million times more … keeping things or hiding things from your spouse is a sign of problems in a marriage. A healthy marriage is one that is built on total openness and honesty. When it comes to secrets in marriage, there should be none. You should NEVER hide passwords, emails, text messages, Facebook content or anything else from one another.
- You should put your children first. Raising your children should be of the utmost importance, but not so important that you put your relationship with your husband/wife on the back burner. If you invest all your energies into your children and none into your marriage, your marriage will struggle to survive when the kids are grown. What happens is, once the kids are grown, you’ll look across the table at your marriage partner and realize you really don’t have anything in common anymore.
Having a successful marriage does not come by simply finding the right mate, but more by being the right mate.