Last week we looked at the first five keys from the book How to Make A Good Marriage Great –Ten Keys to a Joyous Relationship by Victor Cline, Ph.D.
Now we’ll look at the remaining five keys. Here is a summary with my added editorial comments:
- Sixth Key - Develop Effective Communication / Negotiation Skills - Successful communication with our spouse is essential to a happy marriage and comes with practice, patience, and hard work. Become a student of the best communication style with your spouse. The good Dr. has these suggestions:
- Get quiet time ALONE together, even if that takes an overnight away together. Never discuss critical issues when tired or exhausted.
- Be a good listener without interrupting.
- Don’t flee or run away, rather stick it out and work at issues peacefully.
- Be honest with each other sharing true and honest feelings.
- Avoid blame statements and convey how certain actions or statements are making YOU feel.
- Remember to be positive and express your thankfulness for what is right in your relationship.
- Avoid criticism.
- If it is too difficult to discuss, try writing it out and sharing this letter with your spouse so you can discuss it. This will allow you to share all your feeling without being “run over.”
- Seventh Key – The “Extra Dimension” - Remember God desires you to have a richly blessed relationship. Pray for each other and pray together as you work at growing your relationship. Pray that the Lord will bless you with a patient and understanding spirit and that you learn how to selflessly love your spouse.
- Eighth Key - Acute Stress can Kill Love – Deal with It! - Our lives are filled with a variety of stressors including the usual issues of small children (or larger teenage types), job or lack of a job, financial stress, health issues, or family and extended family issues, to name a few. These can add extreme pressure on even the best of relationships. But don’t quit. Look at these times as the “white water days” of your marriage. Much like a river raft trip, there are calm water days and white water days. During the white water days you need to really hang on. Find ways to simplify and de-stress your lives. I believe that God will restore us to the calm water but remember to love each other even in your white water days, for then you need each other most.
- Ninth Key – Participate in a Marriage Enrichment / Marriage Encounter Experience – Take time to grow in your knowledge together. A weekend seminar together should be a major priority. Find a marriage book to read and discuss together.
- Tenth Key – Pair-Bonding, Renewing the Magic - Work daily at these things: Make a daily decision to love each other and express that love, shower each other with positives and take time daily to share feelings.
Dr. Cline has shared some valuable ideas on how to have a Great Marriage. But head knowledge alone will not bring about the desired results. You must commit to work at these things. The rewards are worth the effort.