Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Gleanings from the Pastor's Perspective: Practical Suggestions for Developing and Maintaining Good Marriage Relationships

The Pastor’s Perspective
“Practical Suggestions for Developing and Maintaining Good Marriage Relationships”
First Published: April 1, 2003

Here are some tips for creating healthy marriages from Dr. Wayne Mack:

To develop and maintain good marriage relationships, keep the following guidelines in mind.

1. Be willing to admit to being part of the problem (Matthew 7:1-6; Proverbs 20:6, Philippians 4:2-3).

2. Be willing to change (John 5:6; Philippians 4:2-3).

3. Avoid the use of emotionally charged words: “You don’t really love me.” “You always do....” “You never do anything right.” “I don’t really care what you think.” “You’re just like your mother.”

4. Accept responsibility for your own emotions, words, actions, and reactions, and do not blame them on the other person. Admit it if you got angry, lashed out, became discouraged, etc. (Galatians 6:5; James 1:13-15).

5. Refrain from having re-runs of old arguments (Ephesians 4:26).

6. Deal with one problem at a time; solve it and then move on to the next (Matthew 6:34).

7. Avoid being historical; rather, deal with the present. Hang a “no fishing” sign over the past unless it will help to solve the present problem (Philippians 3:12-14; Jeremiah 31:34; Isaiah 43:25).

8. Concentrate on the positive rather than the negative (Philippians 4:8).

9. Learn to communicate respect and love in positive, non-verbal ways (Matthew 8:1-4, 14-15; Psalm 32:8).

10. Express your thoughts and concerns to each other. Relate your activities. Listen and understand the meaning behind the words and actions. If your husband manifests annoyance, he may be saying, “I’ve had a terrible day. Nobody respects me. I would like to have some encouragement and respect from you. Please encourage me and let me know you are glad to be my wife.” Of if your wife says, “You don’t love me,” she may really be saying, “I desperately want some affection. I want you to hold me, pay attention to me, and tell me you love and appreciate me.” (Example of Jesus in John 1:45-47; Mark 5:1-5; John 11:20-35).

11. Practice the golden rule in Matthew 7:12. What would you like your mate to do for you? How would you like your mate to treat you? Would you like your mate to: Tell you the truth? Ask your opinion? Help in time of need? Thank you for help or service? Then mimic that action. Practice the principle laid down in Luke 6:35. “Do good (that which will help the other person), and lend, expecting nothing in return.”

Count on it — if you practice these principles regularly, you will be relating to your mate in the way God wants you to relate, and promoting a God-honoring, enriching relationship with your spouse.

Adapted from Wayne Mack, Strengthening your Marriage, 2nd edition, Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1999), 73-74. Used by permission.

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