7 Steps To a Healthy Marriage – Introduction, is the beginning of a new series. The internet is full of information about marriage. I typed “How to have a happy marriage,” in my Google search engine and found about 879,000,000 results in 0.37 seconds.” What makes this series different? For 1 thing, my wife and and I have been married and in the ministry for 50 years. But how can I reduce 50 years of life into 7 steps? Good question. The answer is that these 7 steps are more than theory. They come from real-life experiences. I’ll also share some humorous mistakes I’ve made, as well as helpful suggestions. I like what former First Lady Michelle Obama said on the Today Show. “One of the keys to a successful marriage is separate bathrooms!” I couldn’t agree more.
“…the starting point for a lasting and healthy marriage; becoming best friends.”
A healthy marriage is a spiritual relationship. But it is also a physical union, and a business partnership. Anyone who has been married for more than a few years knows there is much more to a healthy marriage than a few steps or principles. However, in the “7 Steps To a Healthy Marriage – Introduction,” I will share what I believe is the starting point for a lasting and healthy marriage; becoming best friends.
In the early days of adulthood, I became aware that I had an impulsive streak. I am a soloist, a writer, and a poet. My tribe often depends on serendipity. We are drawn to the challenge of a blank canvas. On the other hand, my wife is an educator who instinctively seeks stability. There was a lot that we had to learn about each other if we were to have a successful marriage. What were the chances we had of making life work? For me, heading into the unknown was thrilling, but frightening for my wife. I was talking to a friend about this dilemma. I paused after a few minutes to hear what he had to say in response. I expected something profound when he jokingly replied. “I believe that spontaneity definitely has a time and place!”
What about you? Are you impulsive or more settled? Do you like to hit the road without a map and see where it leads or are you more of a homebody who wants to settle down? Is your dream vacation a 5-star hotel with a spa and a great restaurant? Or would you rather go camping, take long walks, and eat around the campfire? How well do your personalities blend? Do you believe the old saying that “opposites attract?” What have you observed in other people’s relationships? This is all part of starting life together.
“Personal distinctions must be appreciated, accepted, and assimilated for the relationship to work.
Most studies say that opposites don’t attract each other. Some others insist that they do – or at least they can. Something that I’ve found helpful is to think of a couple’s differences as their individual distinctions. Understanding those distinctions can bring beauty into the relationship. Here is the key – personal distinctions must be appreciated, accepted, and assimilated for the relationship to work. Opposites may or may not attract, but appreciating each other’s personality traits and preferences can make for a rich and rewarding marriage.
“The 1st thing was already in place – we were best friends.”
There was a time, about 20 years into our marriage – when my wife and I realized that our marriage needed help. Now, years later, we can see that our problems primarily stemmed from not dealing with our unique personality differences early on in the relationship. Thank God, we were willing to do the work and figure it out. Along the way, we identified several things we needed to do to strengthen our marriage. The 1st thing was already in place – we were best friends. Because we were best friends before marriage, we were able to make the needed changes. Now, we have been together for 50 years and we are still best friends. We also have 3 amazing daughters who, with their husbands, brought 10 awesome grandchildren into our family. In my opinion, best friends make better marriage partners.
Why best friendship first?
It would seem to be obvious that friendship precedes marriage, but that is not always the case. Sometimes a couple marries because of physical attraction, loneliness, an unplanned pregnancy, parental pressure, business considerations, wealth, cultural considerations, or planned marriages. While some of these things might factor into the decision, they cannot be the central reason for making a lifelong covenant before God. If friendship isn’t the priority, then commitment has nothing on which to stand. Below, I’ve listed 7 elements of a lasting best friendship and a healthy marriage.
7 elements of a lasting best friendship and a healthy marriage
- Take time to talk
- Share personal secrets
- Work on projects together and How To Stay In Love
- Actively worship together
- Never lie to one another
- Never pressure one another
- Be Quick to Forgive each other
“In my coming articles, I will delve more deeply into each of these 7 steps.”
Developing a lasting best friendship is basic to a healthy marriage. In my coming articles, I will look more closely at each of these 7 steps. I hope you will share this series with your friends and on your social media accounts. Thank you, Ken.