On November 12, 2009 I did an interview on TBN. We did two segments. The first one was titled "Keys to a Successful Marriage".
On air I promised to include the specifics of the interview on this blog. I hope the following provides all the information you need. If you have any questions, please let me know.
My interview was with Pastor Eugene Norris. He asked the following questions.
I. What would you say are the most important things in a Marriage?
It’s a huge subject and there’s a lot of material to cover for this question, but let me give you the top five things I feel are vitally important.
1. Marry the right person for you. Most couples slide into marriage thinking they can change whatever is wrong after they are settled in their own home. Unfortunately marriage highlights our shortcomings it doesn’t erase them. Spend as much time talking as you can. Find out how they feel about different scenarios. Ask what they would do if...... Make sure you know their heart and mind. Marriage is more about living with the daily grind than it is about romance.
2. Don’t marry for love. What? Strange thought but it’s true. If you know the person doesn’t suit you but you’ve bought into the thought that love covers a multitude of sins – you are in for a rude awakening. The only love that covers problems is a mother’s love and God’s love. For the rest of us, when there’s a problem love is the first one out the door. Marry because everything else is in place. Respect, honor, life goals, principles. Once those are in place then love is the icing on the cake. Love enhances everything but it can’t be the cake.
3. Apply the Golden rule. 95% of the arguments that lead to divorce would stop if the participants would apply the golden rule by agreeing that – "I will only do to you what I want done to me."
4. Elevate the good points. Concentrate on what’s right in your marriage. Build a base of all the good things and then work out from there.
5. Compassionately forgive and work on bad points …together! Not separate, not standing back and waiting for your spouse to change, but work together with compassion.
II. 50% of marriages end in divorce, can you give us some reasons?
Again there are many reasons but lets tackle the top 5
1. Too many couples want a fairytale. They entered marriage with starry eyes and when the rude awakening came, they weren’t prepared. Most people put more thought and planning into choosing a car than in choosing a mate. With so little research it's silly when they appear shocked because they don’t fit.
2. Finances are huge. If you built your marriage on what you have rather than on being with that other person, you probably won’t survive the first year of setting up your home. Think back to when divorce was only one in 20. Think back to the 40's. Times were tough especially after the war. Yet most marriages survived. Most couples were happy living in one room with a bed, dresser and a two burner hot plate. Why? Because they were building on their relationship not on what they had. If you build your relationship on what you have rather than who you are or how much you love them - it will be a difficult roller coaster ride.
3. Spoiled Brats make lousy partners. No one can do all the sacrificing. Marriage is supposed to be two people shouldering the load together. If you have to carry your load and theirs – you will crash. If I am channel surfing and land for even a moment on these programs about crazy brides or spoiled brats - I wind up yelling at the groom as if he could hear me "Run man....run away as fast as you can!"
4. Most couples don’t know how to disagree. They make it personal rather than making their disagreement about the problem. Most arguments end up being about what the spouse isn't doing or some bad habit they have rather than about the real problem. If stress at work is eating at you - don't fuss because your husband isn't helping around the house. Make the argument about the problem not the person.
5. Your marriage will end in divorce if your partner likes to take the easy road. Marriage is hard, requires work and commitment. Someone who easily gives up will not pay the price needed for a good marriage.
III. Give us a few principles that we can apply to hurting or damaged marriages.
There have been volumes written on this topic, but I have my favorite top five.
1. Pray. Praying brings you under submission and helps you to be willing to ask the hard questions. Praying puts you in a submissive mode. Praying opens your mind to questions and answers from all directions not just your own.
2. Be honest about your part of the problem and work at solving your half.
Be careful if there is abuse. A controlling abuser can make you feel that you are totally responsible for all the problems. For truly abusive situations you must remove yourself. It’s impossible to work on changing abuse if you are still in the middle of the situation. An abused person can't see the truth or who is really at fault. Remove yourself from the situation and get help to "honestly" judge the problems.
3. Stop all bashing and begin promoting good points. Lift your spouse higher. I love the book by Wellington Boon titled Your wife is not your mama. I instruct couples that this book isn't just for men. It only works when both couples are consistently trying to life the other spouse as high as they can. Being unselfish is the only way to support your partner.
4. Find a project that you both love and do it together. Nothing begins to solve marriage issues like working on a project together. After all, over 3/4th of affairs at work happen because two people are thrown together to work on a project. Find something that the two of you can enjoy and work on together and it will bring out the best in your relationship.
5. Have some fun. Dating is all about fun and too many married couples forget to have fun together.
I hope this gives you a quick look at some things you can do to help your marriage. If your group or church seems to be having too many marital issues - check out my classes. I would love to come and speak on this or any other subject.
God loves you,