Pastor Randy and Nancy Osborn, Happily Married Since 1968
MARRIAGE/COUPLE SKILLS BY PASTOR RANDY OSBORN
With the national divorce rate at 50%, the 2004 census showing an 80% divorce rate and a high teen pregnancy rate in Whiteside County, Illinois, here are some brief thoughts that might just help.
The following thoughts and observations have come from years of bible study, reading books on marriage, attending marriage conferences, taking counseling courses, doing counseling and personal experience. I would like to thank those who have imparted into my life, like Gary Chapman, Mark Gungor, Josh McDowel, Larry Christiansen, Gary Smalley, the Parrots, Craig Hill, Neil Anderson, Dr. Dobson, Dr. Beasely and many more. This is an accumulation of their teachings.
Parents of teenagers should consider discussing the 'Before Marriage’ thoughts with their young adults. The married or engaged couples would find it most beneficial to read and talk about these points with their marriage partner.
Before reading thru this study, please pray and ask the Lord to open your understanding to any of these thoughts that might improve your life.
The following contains sections on Before Marriage, Ready for Marriage, To the Married, Communication Tips, Communicating in Conflict, Men vs Women, Sexual Issues, Personality Types, and the Love Test.
God has a plan for your life. Trust the Lord and let Jesus be your Shepard. (Psalm 23, John 10:11)
Live a life committed to Jesus and holiness. Glorify God in your body, soul and spirit.
(1Cor 6:19-20, Heb 12:14, Col 3:17)
Read the Word daily. By reading God’s Word and following its rules a man can stay pure. God’s word is a light unto our path. (Ps 119:9-11, 105. 2 Tim 3:16))
Pray. Specifically ask the Lord to lead you not into temptation, but to deliver you from any evil or hurtful situation. He is faithful and promises to never let you be tempted above which you can bear or he will make a way to escape. ( Matt 6:13 ,1 Cor 10:13, 1 Thes 5:17)
Live by the Spirit’s leading, which will result in good fruit in your life, especially self-control. Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of flesh. Be filled with God’s spirit. (Gal 5:16, 22, 25, Eph 5:18)
Attitude is the ‘aroma of the heart’. A rotten attitude reflects something bad is in the heart. Allow Jesus to fill your heart and the attitude improves, which will bring blessings to you and everyone else. Being a Christian means having the right attitude towards God, Jesus, church, friends, family, work, school and life in general. (Facing the Giants movie) (Ps 51:10, Matt 15:19, Romans 12:3 )
Relationships influence our behavior. If you have worldly friends your lifestyle will reflect worldliness. If you have godly friends, then you will be motivated to be righteous. A spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ will cause you to live a pure lifestyle. Walk with Jesus and choose good friends. Church attendance, which is fellowship with God’s people, is good. (Josh McDowel ) (Ps 1:1-3, 1 Cor 15:33, 1 John 1:5-7, Heb 10:25)
Men should make a covenant with their eyes not to look on women to lust after them. Men should treat women as sisters, with all purity. (Job 31:1, 1 Tim 5:2)
Women should dress and act in a way that is not provocative or lewd. Looking nice is good, but let your goodness be what is most noticeable. (1 Tim 2:9,10)
A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.--- Charles Gordy.
‘No’ is a bible word! Use it when necessary. (Matt 5:37)
Keep your virginity! Wear it like a badge of honor to the Lord. True love will wait! You should save your intimacy for the one you marry. You shouldn’t cheat on your future marriage partner. (2 Cor 11:2, Song 8:4)
Flee fornication! Fornication is defined as all sexual relations that God forbids! By doing so you’ll avoid a broken heart, unhealthy soul ties, STD's or an unplanned pregnancy. Do it the way God intended. Live righteous and you’ll reap the most good out of this life. (1 Cor 6:18, 1 Thes 4:3)
The devil tempts us to meet our legitimate needs in an untimely or illegitimate way! He knows that sin, which is transgressing God’s laws, always results in negative consequences that will bring hurt. Don’t fall for his lie. Live for God every day. (Romans 6:23, 1 John 3:7,8
It’s not a sin to be tempted, but we must resist the temptation to sin. If we entertain a temptation, accept and act it out, then it becomes sin and we reap negative consequences. Remember, Jesus was tempted in all points that we were, but never sinned. If we are totally submitted to God, we can too. We can count on Jesus to help us to stand in our times of temptation. (James 1:13, Heb 2:18, 4:15)
Every premarital relationship that you open your heart to and then have it torn apart will leave scar tissue. That scar tissue makes you hardened in certain areas. When you finally marry that scar tissue will make it difficult for you to bond completely with your mate. The less scar tissue the easier and more complete is the bonding of your hearts in marriage. Avoid this by keeping just friendships until you find that special person. (Dr. Don Beasely)
Fulfilling of premarital lust will erode the future foundation of marital trust. If you jump the gun, respect and trust issues will develop later. Don’t make the mistake of thinking lust is love. (Dr. Don Beasely and by observations)
Watch how you play. Young men will sometimes play at love to get sex. Young women will sometimes play at sex to get love. The old ‘ If you love me you will’ is twisted around. It should be ‘If you love and respect me you wouldn’t’. Again, don’t mistake lust for love. (Song 8:4, Prov 30:19)
The bible tells us not to awaken ‘the sexual appetite’ before marriage. If you never taste sugar, then you won’t crave it. If you awaken the sexual appetite before its time, then you will have to fight the spirit of lust, which will keep you from enjoying people and life in the way God intended. Remember, premarital sex will weaken the needed foundation of trust in your future marriage. (Song 8:4)
Fact, premarital sexual relations or even pregnancy doesn’t necessarily mean that your partner will love you. Sometimes the opposite occurs, they hate you for complicating their life. But when the love and commitment of marriage come first, sexual relations and children will, most often, serve to deepen the relationship. (2 Sam 13:14,15)
Relationships with the opposite sex progress in stages. It’s like a baseball game with first base, second base, third base and home plate. First base is talking, second base holding hands, third base is kissing and home base should be intercourse in marriage. Even if a couple is engaged to be married and they skip a stage the relationship will suffer later in the trust area. Don’t jump the gun. Do it the right way. It will take discipline and self-control, but it is well worth the wait!
If you are too young or know marriage is not an option, make it clear that you will keep all relationships at first base or the friendship level.
Make no provision for the lust of the flesh. Otherwise, an unmarried couple should not be alone with the lights down low, drinking wine and listening to romantic music. Also, avoid pornography or certain movies. If you light the ‘fire of passion’ it is hard to control! Don’t light that fire, because you will get burned! (Romans 13:14)
Socializing in a ‘circle of friends’ without the pressure of being a couple is a much better idea than dating and having a steady boyfriend. This is especially true if you are in junior high or high school and are not mature enough or ready for a relationship to develop. Church youth groups serve well to meet this need.
If you do date, decide ahead of time where you will go and what you will allow. Be determined and make your intentions very clear. Very clear!
Note! What God reveals he heals. If in reading through these thoughts, you realize you have messed up in an area, don’t feel it’s the end with God. Just humbly go before the Lord with a willingness to change. In prayer confess your fault and ask for the forgiveness and strength to do it right. God will forgive, cleanse and give needed grace to live righteously. (1 John 1:9)
READY FOR MARRIAGE
If you are ready for a marriage partner consider doing the following. Set your eyes on the Lord and start running with all your might towards him. As you run, if someone out the corner of your eye just happens to catch your attention and they are of opposite sex and are running as hard towards the Lord as you are, then take a closer look. (2 Cor 6:14,15)
The bible says not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. If someone you are interested in doesn’t know Jesus and actually discourages your faith, forget it! Ask the Lord to lead you to someone with the same heart. ( 2 Cor 6:14,15 )
Sexual attractions to the same sex are not of God. The bible calls them unnatural and perverse. Don’t go there. The feelings can be coming from a generational curse or a ‘spirit of perversion’. If you struggle in this area, talk to your Pastor for counsel and prayer. (Lev 18:22, Rom 1:24-26)
In choosing a marriage partner, you might consider the following before saying 'I do': 1. Do you feel comfortable with them? 2. Are they a committed Christian? 3. Are they responsible and can you trust them? 4. Will they make a good parent to your children? 5. Have you prayed and do you have 'the peace of the Lord' in your heart about this relationship? 6. Do you have your parents blessing, as well as your Pastor and friends blessing? 7. Can you have meaningful conversations, which includes discussing things of God? 8. Are they someone you care deeply for and never want to hurt? 9. What will be your financial situation? 10. What kind of family background do they come from? 11. Does this person inspire you to be a better individual and serve God?
The one you marry might not be perfect, but are they perfect for you? Note however, if the person you are attracted to has some serious issues they are dealing with, like substance abuse or anger problems, realize that marriage won’t make the problem go away. If they aren’t free, you won’t be either.
Beauty really is only skin deep! Look past the outward to the inward beauty of the heart. God does! (1 Sam 16:7, Prov 31:30, 1 Peter 3:4)
An engaged couple should talk about what they expect the role of a husband and wife to be in marriage. Talk about finances, paying bills, cooking, cleaning the house, the holidays, when to have children, the chlidren's religious training and such. This will help eliminate dealing with unspoken expectations later. (Gary Smalley)
Living together before marriage is not good for several reasons. First, it is sin (fornication) and dishonors both God and parents. Secondly, it sets a bad example for the younger generation. Thirdly, it gives the appearance of evil, which we are to avoid. Fourth, thinking that we need to try ‘us’ out before we marry, indicates doubt is already in the heart. Fifth, it has proven not to help keep marriages together. Sixth, the ‘we can save money’ argument is canceled by the truth that ‘if we seek God’s kingdom and his righteousness, God will provide’. Seventh, future trust and respect issues will be created. (1 Cor 6:18-20, Matt 18:6-7, 1Thes 5:22, Matt 6:31-33)
A husband or wife can be a gift from God, but they are not God. There is a place in everyone’s heart that only the Lord Jesus Christ can fill. Never try to make anyone or anything be your God and to meet all your needs. They won’t and can’t! (Exodus 20:3)
TO THE MARRIED
God ordained that marriage be between a male and female only. It was established so man wouldn’t be lonely, for procreation of the human race and for humanities welfare. (Gen 2:18-22, Mark 10:6-9)
Marriage is the basic building block of all human society. As goes the family so goes a nation. In the context of marriage and the resulting family, we are to find companionship, nurturing, security and love.
God honors all legitimate marriage covenants. Marriage is to be a life long covenant to be severed only by death. (Heb 13:4, Mark 10:9)
God hates divorce and abuse. His perfect will is that children are raised in a stable and loving environment. God wants marriage to reflect Christ’s loving relationship with his church. (Malachi 2:16, Eph 5:31-32)
‘One’ in the bible means exclusive or cannot be duplicated. So, being ‘one’ in marriage is a ‘unique unity’ with special blessings that cannot be duplicated. (Malachi 2:15, Mark 10:6-9)
One of marriage's most magnificent possibilities is to merge two lives and build something far greater than either spouse could have built alone. (Neil Warren)
A husband or wife can be a gift from God, but they are not God. There is a place in everyone’s heart that only the Lord Jesus Christ can fill. Never try to make anyone or anything be your God and to meet all your needs. They won’t and can’t! (Exodus 20:3)
Don't be in love with the feeling of being in love, because when the feeling leaves, you might too! Be committed to make your marriage work.
Make Jesus the head of your home. Build your house on the sure foundation of God’s word and the storms of life will not destroy your home. In fact, God will cause everything to work together for your good, even the trouble. (Matt 7:24-25, Romans 8:28)
Pray together daily. I suggest that each morning you gather to say the Lord’s Prayer. Ask God for wisdom, knowledge and strength to do his will and accomplish what he has ordained for you that day. Pray for each other. Give God thanks. (Matt 6:9-13, Matt 18:19, Phil 4:6,7)
The ‘foundation of trust’ is necessary for any relationship to be strong. Never do or say anything to break that bond of trust between you and your marriage partner. (Romans 12:17, 1 Cor 13:6, Luke 11:17, Eph 4:25)
Say ‘please and thank you’ to demonstrate humility and show your appreciation. Saying ‘you’re welcome’ says you were happy to help. Use these words often and give compliments. (Prov 16:24, Col 4:6)
Love in 'word and deed'. Couples should tell each other "I love you" very often, and show it by your actions. Words and deeds must compliment each other to ring true. (1 John 3:18)
Little kindnesses speak volumes!!!
Marriage is like a bank account. If you don't put as much or more into the marriage as you take out, then it will surely go bankrupt!
Spent some time together. Go on a date once in a while to keep the romance alive. Don’t take each other for granted.
Remember to nourish your marriage relationship, because the kids won’t always be there. It would be sad to wake up some day with an empty nest and realize that you no longer have anything in common with each other.
Get to know your mates ‘love language’. That means to know in what way they receive and communicate love. The main ways are through affirming words, gifts, touch, a helping hand or time together. Ask each other what they believe is their main ‘love language’. Once known, make the effort to show them in ‘their way’ your love. (Gary Chapman)
Never 'dishonor' one another. Dishonor comes when one of the following occurs: 1. You tell a lie 2. You break your vow 3. Make major financial decisions without consulting one another 4. Making plans without checking with the other 5. Not providing or withholding needed physical affection 6. Speaking to one another in a demeaning way or acting as if their opinion doesn’t matter 7. Ignoring each other’s needs 8. Not being considerate enough to call if you’ll be late or plans change. 9. Share intimate feelings with a friend of the opposite sex. This is especially true if you have not shared those feelings with your mate. 10. Any other act that’s not kind or loving. (Craig Hill)
When you cut down the one you married, you cut down yourself, because you are one. And, after all, you chose them! (Eph 5:28-31)
Always enforce the honoring of the ‘father and mother’ by your children. If you disagree with a discipline given by the other parent discuss it in private. If you discover you have been too harsh, don’t be too proud to alter your decision. Parents should try to stay unified. (Eph 6:1-4)
One of the best things parents can do for their children is to love and honor each other. Disagreements should be discussed in private. This way the child will feel secure and be taught by example how we are to treat each other. (1 John 4:11-12)
The bible says to ‘leave and cleave’ when married. That means cut the apron strings. You should remember to respect your family of origin, but you are now married. Seek parental advice, but make your own decisions and create your own family traditions. You should not allow yourself to be controlled by a mother or father. Let Jesus be the Lord of your marriage. (Eph 5:31)
Don’t hang on to old letters, pictures, jewelry or objects that romantically tie you to an old boyfriend or girlfriend. Shut that door and burn the bridge of thinking you might get back together. No looking back. You must be committed to your marriage. (Luke 9:62)
Love in marriage is best expressed in ‘giving’. It’s giving up, not your individuality, but your independent living. It’s giving a listening ear and communicating. It’s giving the affection due and not taking each other for granted. It’s giving your time and energy to insure the relationship stays strong and grows. It’s giving, even your money, sometimes for something you don’t want, but you know will please the other. It’s giving up selfishness and self-centeredness. (1 Cor 13:5)
Trouble in marriage almost always occurs when one or both are in love with ‘themselves’.
Try to out serve each other!(Phil 2:4)
Money can be a major issue in marriage. Consider doing the the following to help in the financial area: 1. Make a budget and try to live within your means. 2. Watch those credit cards. 3. Avoid regretful purchases by using the ‘pray and wait at least a day’ rule on all major purchases. 4. Ask for advice from someone wise in the financial area. 5. Always honor God with your first fruits. (Prov 3:9-10)
Watch out for ‘seducing spirits’ that draw you to someone other than your marriage partner. It may look greener on the other side of the fence, but it isn’t! Flee fornication and potentially adulterous affairs. If you are struggling in this area you will need to confess your fault to another mature Christian and get prayer for deliverance. (Prov 2:16-18, 5:1-5, 15-20, James 5:16))
Be committed to your marriage !
Communication is the giving and receiving of information. It is necessary for a successful marriage.
We think of communication as just speaking words, but in fact, the tone in which we speak the words sends a message as loud as the words themselves. Your facial expression and body language play a large part also. (Parrots)
Communication is like playing ball. The one that has the ball speaks and when done speaking tosses the ball to the listener. The listener catches the ball and then they become the speaker and the other listens. Back and forth it goes. If you have trouble listening and waiting until someone has finished speaking, then the tossing an actual ball during conversations can be used for training in how to wait until it’s your turn to speak. Only the one with the ball can speak.
Communication in marriage is easily kept alive by simply taking time at the end of each day to ask, “How did your day go”?
Be an attentive listener. God gave us two ears and one mouth, so listen twice as much as you speak! Look at the person whose speaking to you and pay attention. Watch the facial expressions and their body language as they speak. Turn off the TV or radio. (James 1:19)
When shifting from listening to speaking, take your time. (Eccl 7:8-9, Prov 16:32)
To enhance communication and to avoid misunderstandings, learn to practice 'reflective listening'. That means that after listening, repeat what you've heard the other tell you. Ask the question "What I heard you saying was this or that. Is that right?
Also, try to 'discern the emotions' the speaker is exhibiting as they talk. Reflecting back what you are discerning can help get to the root of a situation. For example, you may say something like "It seems to me your are very angry right now." They may not agree but it will help the person think about how they are really feeling.(The Parrots)
To communicate how you feel in a situation, try using a 'word picture'. Like, "I'm feeling like the Lone Ranger here' or 'I feel like a bomb about to explode, so let's take a break' or “When you say ‘I’m proud of you’ it makes me feel ten feet tall.” (Gary Smalley)
Rating ones feelings or emotions can help communicate what you are experiencing. For instance, say something like “On the scale of one to ten, I ‘m an 8 on the anger scale” or “That meal you just made was definitely a 10”. (Gary Smalley)
How you say something speaks as loud as what you say. Always, speak the truth in love. Let the law of kindness rule your lips. Don’t feel you have to snap back an answer. Stay in control and be patient. (Prov 31:26, Eph 4:15)
COMMUNICATING IN CONFLICT
Remember it takes two to fight. So don’t throw another ‘log on the fire’ when contention is rising. Bring the situation under control. (Prov 17:14, 20:3, 26:20)
The objective of a conversation is to have a meaningful discussion, not to just vent our emotions! So control that temper.
In troubled times, couples ‘should attack the problem, not attack each other’. In fact, God will cause ‘stormy times’ to bring you closer together and deepen your love, if you will let him. Treasure hunt the difficult times for God’s lessons. (Gary Smalley) (Romans 8:28)
Conflict is an opportunity for growth. Confront it. (Neil Warren)
A hurtful situation that is not brought into the light, discussed and resolved will erode a relationship. The ‘anger’ will, first, cause one to make cutting remarks that are disguised as jokes. Then it will evolve into arguing with each other and then move to name-calling. The end result will be not speaking at all. Always talk things over and when necessary forgive each other. Pray and ask God to keep your heart pure. It’s a must! (Prov 29:22, 30:22, Matt 5:22, Matt 6:14-15, Mark 11:25-26)
Silence is a communicator! A relationship is in serious trouble when it has reached the point of ‘not saying anything’. It indicates one or both have stopped trying. (The Parrots)
If you are angry, you are in some way ‘displeased’. When angry, try to identify the ‘real’ underlying source of your displeasure. Maybe you feel bothered, afraid, rejected, cheated, threatened, insulted, jealous, dishonored or hurt. Ask yourself if the cause of your displeasure is real or just imagined. Identifying the cause helps you to not misplace the blame. (Ps 6:1)
Don’t let the sun go down upon your wrath. That means don’t let your anger get out of control and drag on for days. As quickly as you can, pray and get your spirit under control of the Holy Spirit. Don’t say something you might regret later. Don’t react in the flesh but respond by the leading of the Holy Spirit. (Eph 4:26-28)
Sometimes dissatisfaction in marriage arises because of ‘unspoken expectations’. The wife or husband entered marriage expecting the other to just do certain things automatically. Maybe the wife expects the husband to do things that her father did for her mother. Maybe the husband expects a home cooked meal each night like his mother had done. Things like this should be discussed before marriage or when you realize it’s become a problem. Remember, you can’t blame someone for not doing something that they didn’t know they should be doing. (Prov 13:12)
If you have to bring up something negative always ask God for wisdom. Wisdom will instruct you in what to do or say to bring about the needed changes. Also, wisdom will help you pick the best time to bring up the subject. ( Eccl 8:5, James 1:5)
Remember to choose your words wisely. Speak pleasant words that will promote healing. A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up strife. (Proverbs 15:1, 16:24)
Always confirm your relationship before bringing up something negative. Begin by saying something like, “I’m your husband and I will always love you, but something is bothering me. Can we talk?” (Rev 2 How Jesus addressed the churches)
In conflict, try not to start a statement with the accusing 'you' word. Instead of saying "you always do this or that', which stirs up strife, try to state your feeling first. For instance, say something like "I feel really bad when you do that"
Remember to fight fair when in conflict with your mate. You shouldn’t bring up the past, stay with the present issue. (1 Cor 13:5)
Never compare your husband or wife to someone else. Never say “I wish you were like so-n-so, they do this or that.”
Don’t let foolish pride keep you from saying “I’m sorry” or “I was wrong”. Repent and ask the other to please forgive you, when you see that you have wronged them in any way. (Matt 5:23,24, 1 Cor 13:4)
We all have ‘blind spots’ and irritating things we do. God will often use our marriage partner to point these out. Be wise and take instruction to become a better person and improve your relationship. (Prov 8:33, 9:9, 12:1, 15:32, 19:20)
Always forgive each other. (Eph 4:32, Luke 17:3-4)
A ‘meaningful hug’ is a good ending to a disagreement or debate. Touching signals ‘everything is ok between us’. (Gen 33:4, Luke 15:18-24)
If you can’t resolve an issue, get a mediator. Talk to your Pastor or go to a counselor. Definitely pray and ask God for help! (Matt 18:15-16)
MEN VS WOMEN
It is important to realize that God has designed men and women differently. When he made woman from Adam’s rib, he removed the feminine aspect from Adam and put it in Eve. Now, when man and woman come together and live in the covenant relationship of marriage it brings the masculine and feminine together to form completeness. When we learn to recognize the unique differences in men and women, then we can accept and appreciate each other as who God made us to be. We then can learn to live together in an accepting and loving relationship.
A husband’s greatest basic need is to feel adequate and respected by his wife. The wife’s greatest basic need is to feel loved by her husband and to feel secure. The marriage will be strong when these basic needs are being met. (Eph 5:33)
Men are to love, nurture and care for their wives. Women are to reverence and respect their husband. (Eph 5:25-33)
The bible teaches that a man is to be the head of the family, with the wife taking the subjective role. That means the husband has the final decision or the ‘buck stops here’ role. A wise man, however, should recognize his wife’s wisdom and always listen to her feelings and advice before making a decision. She is God’s gift to him and may even be more gifted in a certain area than him. For instance, she may be better at handling the finances. If wise, he will take full advantage of her abilities. All big decisions should be made after prayer and counsel together. ( Prov 20:18, 24:6, 27:9, 31:10-11, Eph 5:22-33)
Men actually like to have their wives share some of their interests. Husbands sometimes like their wife to go fishing, golfing or to a football game with them. Women, remember that he didn’t marry you to have just a maid and cook, but wanted a companion, friend and lover.
Men are by nature hunters. They want to seek, find and conquer. The man will usually like movies that reflect this nature. An error a man can make is to stop saying and doing sweet things for his wife because now he has ‘caught her’ and thinks he doesn’t need to try anymore. Never take your relationship for granted. Husbands need to cherish and nurture their wives. (Gary Smalley) (Prov 18:22, Eph 5:29)
Women are by nature nesters. They want to settle down and make a home for their family. A woman wants to feel secure and loved by her husband. The woman usually will like movies that are about romance and the family. (Gary Smalley) (Prov 31, Titus 2:4, Eph 5:33)
Men usually don’t care to shop with their wives, because of their different natures. The man will want a shirt, so he goes to the store, finds one, buys it and that’s that. On the other hand, the woman likes to check out every item of clothing and take their time. They enjoy the ‘shopping experience’. The man usually doesn’t. Let love lead in this area. (Gary Smalley)
Men usually think in boxes. They do and think about one thing at a time. When done with a task, they will close that box before opening another one. One of their favorite boxes is the ‘nothing box’, in which they watch TV, fish or do something when they just don’t have to think at all! (Pastor Mark Gungor)
Women are wired by God to multitask. They can do many things at once. They can cook a meal, tend to a crying child, talk on the phone and watch TV all at once! As a result women are usually more sensitive to the whole. (Pastor Mark Gungor)
Men think logically and want to solve problems. That’s why they will usually give you advice, even if you just want empathy. Women are more relational and consider feelings important. If a wife only wants a listening ear they need to tell the husband that she just desires him to know how she is feeling. Men sometimes need to just listen!
Men fellowship with other men ‘shoulder to shoulder’ and as equals. Women like to relate by being ‘face to face’ and intimate. A woman when talking to men other than her husband, should not get to close and intimate, so they will not send the wrong message. (Ps 55:13-14, Prov 6:24-25)
Men are inclined to go into a cave (get alone) to ‘think through’ a problem situation.
Women tend to want to ‘talk it through’ when a troubling situation arises. The man should explain that he wants some time to pray and think about things before acting. Women should not take this as ignoring the problem. To bring the subject up again for discussion, after there has been a reasonable amount to time to ‘think in through’, is ok. ( Gary Smalley)
If the wife wants her husband to do something she needs to do three things. First, ask him to do it. She shouldn’t be overly romantic or spiritual by assuming he should just know what she wants. The wife should just come right out and ask what she wants him to do. Second, if he doesn’t get it, don’t get upset simply ask again! Third, don’t use insults to motivate him because it rarely works. Insults will usually just discourage a man. (Mark Gungor) ( Prov 14:1)
God designed our bodies so that intercourse would be pleasurable both physically and emotionally. Sex is an important part of a healthy marriage. But there will be times in a marriage when the couple will have to refrain from relations such as during an illness, or injury. One fruit of the spirit is self-control,so know that the Lord will give the needed grace for those seasons of life. (Song of Solomon 8:3, Gen 18:12, 26:8, Prov 5:9, 7:18, Eccl 3:5, 1 Cor 7:5, James 4:5-6, 2 Cor 12:9, Gal 5:22-24, Song of Solomon 8:3, Gen 18:12, 26:8, Prov 5:9, 7:18)
Using affection as ‘a bargaining chip’ is not acceptable. Your love should be unconditional. If it’s not jokingly, don’t say “if you do this or that, I’ll be appreciative tonight”. Also, withholding affection for an extended time as a punishment is not wise. You open the door for an extramarital affair. (Eccl 3:5, 1 Cor 7:3-5)
Men are known to have many sexual thoughts a day. The key is to make sure you are thinking about ‘only your wife’, otherwise cast them out! The bible says to be captivated be your wife’s love alone and let her breasts satisfy. (Prov 5:18-19, 2 Cor 10:5)
Wives should keep the home fires burning. Take a lesson from the Proverbs 31 virtuous wife that clothed herself in satin and made tapestry for her bed. Wives should keep themselves looking attractive and keep Dad wanting to come home. (Prov 31:22)
Men are ‘sight oriented’ when it comes to sexual arousal. Thus men, by just seeing their wife undress, can be ready for relations, even after a disagreement. Women, on the other hand, usually ‘become romantic' by pleasant things that have happened earlier in the day. Women tie everything together. So, men should remember that talking, praying together, a small gift, being helpful and kindness all make for a better marital experience.
Men and women should both realize that sexual needs are psychological and also hormonal. The need for affection may be romantic or the body chemicals have built up to cause a strong desire for union. So at times you should 'give in' to your mates needs, even when you aren’t really as needy. It will help keep them from being tempted to meet the need elsewhere. It’s called loving each other and helping each other be happy. (1 Cor 7:3-5)
Married couples may find it difficult to talk about intimacy, but sometimes it might be necessary. This is especially true if one feels some sexual act is morally, physically or emotionally uncomfortable. Couples should communicate and pray about these matters. (Romans 14:22-23)
If there is help needed in the area of intimacy, there are many tastefully written books available on the subject. Pray and ask God for guidance, knowing he cares about every area of your life. (1 Peter 5:7 ,Philipians 4:6)
God has also made man with different personalities. We are all wired differently. When we can recognize and accept our differences, then we will be able to live together in harmony. This truth also can help us have better marriages.
There are many great studies and technical names given for the different personality types, but for simplicity sake, I will mention only Gary Smalley’s and Dr. John Trent’s personality inventory.
Gary Smalley and Dr. Trent have broken the personality types into four easy to understand categories using animals. They define us as being ‘The Lion’, the ‘Golden Lab’, the ‘Otter’ and the ‘Beaver’ type of personalities.
The ‘Lion’ personality type of person will be authoritative, a leader, determined, confident, firm, enterprising, competitive and productive. They enjoy challenges and are bold, goal driven, strong willed, controlling, persistent, independent and action oriented. They are a “let’s do it now” person.
The Lion’s strength is leadership, but can be overbearing and run over people that are in their way.
The ‘Golden Lab’ type person is sensitive, loyal, calm, even keeled, non-demanding, non-confrontational, warm and relational. They enjoy routine, dislike change, give in easily, are indecisive, adaptable, sympathetic, thoughtful, nurturing, patient, tolerant, good listeners and peacemakers. The are “Let’s keep things the way they are” type people.
The Golden Lab people are very likable and everyone’s friend. They want everyone to feel comfortable and get along. They are very dependable. They can be taken of advantage of because of their trusting and caring nature.
The ‘Otter’ type person is playful, enthusiastic, a risk taker, visionary, motivator, energetic, very verbal, promoter, friendly, enjoys popularity, fun-loving, likes variety, spontaneous, enjoys change, creative, optimistic and inspirational. They like laughter. They are “Trust me, it will work out’ type people.
The Otter people are fun to be around, but because they like action, they can be a bit irresponsible. They are very impulsive and can act before thinking.
The Beaver type people are accurate, consistent, controlled, reserved, predictable, practical, orderly, factual, conscientious, perfectionists, discerning, detailed, analytical, inquisitive, precise, persistent, scheduled and sensitive. They are “How was it done in the past’ type people.
The Beaver type people are great bookkeepers and scientists, but aren’t the best with people.
Everyone will be a blend of the above personalities, but most likely will be strongest in one personality type. Once we know our type, we can see strengthens and weaknesses. Then with God’s help we can learn to use the strengthens and manage the weaknesses. It also helps us to accept ourselves and to accept others for who God made them to be, especially your husband or wife.
TAKE THE LOVE TEST
In marriage God wants you to be true to each other, enjoy one another, treat each other kindly, pray for each other, encourage one another and live together as joint heirs of the grace of life that's in Jesus Christ. In short, love each other!
The Apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthian Church described how ‘agape love’ behaves. 1 Cor 13:4-8 reads “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
‘TO TAKE ‘THE LOVE TEST’ JUST PUT YOUR NAME IN PLACE OF THE WORD LOVE WHEREVER IT APPEARS IN THE 1 CORINTHIAN 13 BIBLE PASSAGE’. For an example, “John is patient, John is kind, John does not envy,……”.
If you are not measuring up in any area, just confess your fault to God and ask his help. God is love and will shed his love in your heart as you pray in faith believing!
(1 JOHN 1:9)
LOVE ONE ANOTHER!