Recently I’ve been talking about the marriage relationship at church. During this sermon series we have looked at various scriptures that seem to speak to intimate relationships. Bottom line—we are to love and care for one another even as Christ has demonstrated his love for us.
Obviously not everyone in our congregation is married. Many are, but others have been married before, but it didn’t go so well. Others are married and struggling to find happiness. Some are hoping to be married one day; while others are content with being single.
What a high calling it is to bring our faith to bear in all circles of life, in every relationship—especially in our marriage. To do so requires an equal commitment by each to make the marriage work.
John Gottman’s principles for making a marriage work have proven to be quite successful. His book Seven Principles for Making a Marriage Work was a NY Times bestseller. I believe it contains, along with another, Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, a great deal of help for any of us.
He disagrees with experts who focus almost entirely on problem solving, like conflict-resolution techniques. He counsels mates to focus rather on more positive interaction than negative—more positive than negative feeling, more positive words than negative, more positive experiences flowing between husband and wife.
This leads to a major premise in his work—the key to reviving a marriage is not in how effectively one learns to fight or settle disagreements but in “how you are with each other when you are not fighting.”
In so many words, he says:
Know your mate. Nurture your fondness and admiration. Turn toward, not away, from each other. Let your spouse influence you.
Question: Any other good words you think of that could be added?