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7 Steps to a Healthy Marriage
by Denise Spooner
08/18/07
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7 STEPS TO A HEALTHY MARRIAGE ~


COMMITTMENT

Commitment is the foremost important decision to make before you are wed, beginning with, "from this day forward.." Statistics show, those with a mind set of believing they are marrying
‘until do us part' have a 50% greater chance of weathering storms that come their way during their marriages. With over half of all marriages ending in divorce within the first three years, that doubles your chances of marriage survival.
Going into marriage knowing you are basically stuck for life with the one you have chosen, will make a drastic impact on decisions you make together with your spouse, how you handle
conflict, how many children you both want if any, where you want to spend your lives together, career choices and much more.

Be committed from day one, make the choice to stick it out no matter what. With this in mind, all decision will be made together, all conflicts will be resolved, you will agree on how many children you want, where you want to live together and what careers you both want to purse with eachother's blessing and support.


AGREEMENT

Being in agreement with one another is very important as well. Without this vital key in a marriage, boiling arguments are inevitable. Decisions will be made without the other knowing,
and often will conflict with one another causing strife and undue anxiety. Stress will rot your bones as is mentioned in the Bible, therefore why not prevent excessive stress from getting the best of you by setting some guidelines right form the beginning.

Areas of most importance to agree on are spending limits when you are together or apart, what is
expected of one another in the home, who the main supporter will be and how much supplemental income may be needed by the other spouse, major purchases, who is responsible for balancing checkbooks and sending payments, if education will play a role in either spouse's life after the wedding, how many children and when to begin having them, discipline of the children, life and death decisions involving insurance, retirement funds and inheritance issues,friendships after marriage, television and music influences in the home, etc. These are all issues
that will arise after the wedding and if an agreement has not been made, there is not unity and balance which will surely lead to dysfunction, quarreling and misjudgments. Having agreement
brings about stability in the couple, happiness and peace. Things that make a marriage strong and last a lifetime.


COMMON INTERESTS

What normally brings two people together are common interests. Where you met, what you were doing and who you were with all have a bearing on whether you want to get to know someone
better or not. If the ‘click' is not there, chances are you cannot create it later on. Laws of attraction kick in immediately and whatever you were doing when you met your spouse,
however serious or fun it may have been, will likely be the glue that holds you together through
thick and thin.

As people grow older changes occur. Not just physically but emotionally and socially. It is important to know what your spouse likes to do and not do. While you both may not like everything the same, enjoying several things together will bring harmony, closeness and a sense of togetherness into your marriage. While there must be things you both like to do or places you both like to go, when one spouse wants to do something the other does not, often it is a sacrifice of
love for the spouse who would rather be fishing than scrapbooking or visa versa. Couples still need time alone as well, to enjoy activities apart from their spouses. The blending of two lives in to one, does not mean the individual spouse loses themself altogether in their mate. It just means a
new life for the both of them takes place and they are joined as one with their own personalities, likes, dislikes and lifestyles blending to complete eachother more fully. Taking the time to share in your spouse's joys and sorrows, fun and sometimes boring events of life grows a relationship deeper and closer than ever before. It solidifies the marriage and a sense of oneness just happens naturally. This oneness cannot easily be broken and therefore brings security and stability to a
marriage.


FORGIVING FOREVER

This is probably one of the hardest things to do in one's life let alone in a marriage. Trust is a very
important factor in a marriage and once it is broke, it is hard to earn it back, but it is not impossible with forgiveness.
Whether you've been wronged on purpose or an accident, offenses hurt, and sometimes they hurt deeply. Time does heal, but often, time is not enough. Forgiveness does not say the offense was
okay, it only wipes it away, puts it in the past and keeps it there. This is what makes forgiveness such a necessary component in a marriage. In the time you are wed, there will be wrongs
experienced, offenses dealt and unfortunate misunderstandings happen that lead to feelings being hurt and trust being tested. Without forgiveness, offenses can be held in the heart, dangled over heads, and used as a weapon against the other spouse and further offenses can take place. Forgiveness paves the way for healing and restoration. Two things every marriage must have
actively working in it or it is just a matter of time for the marriage to dissolve and each go his/her
own way. Forgiveness is tough, usually needing a supernatural touch from God to ensure forgiveness is forever. It must be reciprocated, all the time. Both spouses must be willing to seek
forgiveness before closing the issues and moving on. Just as love can last a lifetime, forgiveness needs to be forever. No looking back, bringing up old offenses, or holding grudges. Trust can be rebuilt when forgiveness is genuinely offered and accepted. The marriage can become stronger
and spouses can feel closer than ever, when forgiveness is present in the relationship.


GIVING 110%

When we marry, we are deeply in love, wishing only the best for our spouses, and expecting only the best from them. When we dated our spouses, we always put them first, giving 100% of
ourselves, our time and attention. Their needs, wants and desires became ours. We thought alike, laughed over the same things, and enjoyed believing in one another. Every day was new and fresh with excitement of what it may hold. Selfishness was not in either spouses vocabulary, for each spouse did everything they could to please the other. After the wedding, it is easy to get comfortable and think about our relationship as being planted firmly and unshakable. All too soon, the other spouse is no longer top priority. Other things come into play, such as a new job, hobby or interest. One spouse slacks off with responsibilities, and the other feels they are carrying
more than half the weight in the relationship. If this is you, a check and balance system needs to be adopted and both spouses need to comply.

Giving 100% at all times means there are no gaps. Both spouses are cared for completely. Not all the time will one spouse be able to give 100%. This is where the spouse will need to give 110% and actually make up for the lack of the other spouse. Maybe one spouse is having to change jobs and more hours at work are involved. The spouse with the same routine may need to pick up some of the slack of the other spouse for a time. Agreeing on how long and knowing what extra duties must rest on the spouse without the job change for instance is extremely important. At this time, one spouse may be giving 110% while the other can only give 90%, Thus having the overlap where needs can still be met, responsibilities are taken care of and peace and joy can remain between the couple. If either spouse slacks off more than their fair share, burdens are felt by both spouses, patience falls and if the weight of one spouse is carried for too long, the one will crumble and animosity and grudges can form and be very hard to break through. Marriages are give and
take relationships. Both are always giving, but once in a while, one may need to give more than the other for a time. This 110% makes up for slack, holds things together for a time, and keeps
things in balance long enough for couples to return to routines and deposit into their reserves once again. This is what helps whether storms that would ordinarily shake a marriage and set it on the rocks. Giving 110% never sees gaps, it is always covering for bumps and being sure there is always enough to sustain the marriage.


POWER OF APOLOGY

The simple word is quite powerful actually. Saying your sorry covers a multitude of sins and can lead to immediate healing and restoration. What could take years to overcome, can happen in a
matter of a few words, I'm truly sorry. These are words to live by, to love by and to die by.

When an apology is left unsaid, bitterness can easily grow in the heart leaving little room for love and kindness. Simply say your sorry. The event may not have been your fault, or it may have been. Either way, whatever touches our spouse touches us as well. If we are to maintain a healthy relationship with
those we love, particularly our spouses, sorry should not only roll naturally out of our mouths, but immediately. In a marriage, a spouse normally does not want to hurt their beloved partner, but to help heal and restore them. Apologizing right away leaves little room for hurt to bury itself within
the walls of the heart. Saying sorry cuts through the pain and opens wounds to heal while helping to avoid any festering. A soft answer does turn away wrath, and if troubled by anger, you are approached with a gentle, caring apology, it make sit very hard to remain hard and cold. Saying you're sorry, begins the necessary healing and forgiveness process, that makes good relationships better and great relationships outstanding.


BEING THANKFUL

Last, but not least, is thankfulness. Gratitude goes far and is remembered long after it is offered. There are so many things in life to be thankful for, and our spouse should be at the top of the list. When we are thankful, it gives us a sense of appreciation we can get from nothing else in life.
Through good times and in bad times, thankfulness for having met our spouse, marrying and committing our lives to them deepens our walk with them. The world is viewed as a better place
just because of thankfulness.

Think of the times you were thankful and those you were not. Were not the times of thankfulness far more fulfilling than those times we sulked in our self-pity? So why not choose to be thankful rather than ungrateful? Being thankful humbles and reminds us to look around and be content with such things that we have. Putting thankfulness at the top of our list not only makes us feel good, but it also makes your spouse feel that you are putting them first.. Which in return makes them want to put you above them. It is a wonderful, endless cycle to get caught up in. It seems when we are not thankful, everything in life looks bitter. Skies are darker, flowers lose their sweet
scents, people irritate us more and life just seems depressing. Being thankful truly is a wonderful way of life, of looking at things and experiencing life's greatest rewards, no matter how small or how large. Being thankful is always worth it.














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