Marriages all across America are crumbling due to many issues. The book, Why Marriages Succeed or Fail is an insightful and powerful look into the importance of why there is failure and success in marriage. Many people go into marriage as a way of finding the “one” who will make them happy in all ways and are many times discouraged when they realize the imperfections of their spouse. The importance of having clear communication, boundaries, and expectations for marriage is vital for it to last. The book clearly gives a plan and questions to build and strengthen any marriage. The first aspect of my marriage that we realized through the book that we needed to improve upon was our communication. We are opposites when it comes to dealing with conflict in our marriage. I (Josh) am vocal and focused upon “talking it out.” Cassidy (my wife) tends to avoid conflict. But as we have been married we are learning to understand each other’s differences and are improving. One of the key ways that I must communicate more effectively is in the tone of my voice. It is more about how the communication comes across than what is being said in the conversation. Wisdom has been found in communication when both sides agree to listen without interrupting and not raising voices. This has helped us considerably through our marriage and communication.
The second aspect that we are focusing upon to grow is to keep the marriage fun and creative. The tendency for me as the husband is to not think as romantic as I did when we were dating and engaged. I’m learning that it is an active “chasing” of my wife and to build her up and let her know that she is special. One the other hand, we are learning our roles in the home as in who cooks, cleans, etc. We are working well together and usually share roles for each other. We are learning to talk about what needs to be done each week and then planning out how we are going to accomplish it on different days. Since I am a more driven, organized person and she is more laid back, we are learning to appreciate each other’s differences and balance each other out. Through our times of dealing with conflict we are learning to become stronger through it and not let it tear us down.
The third aspect of our marriage that needs strength is how we carry ourselves in public. I have learned that non-verbal communication is much more important in public than verbal. We are making a decision to handle issues or disagreements in private and not to communicate negatively in public. It is easy to not focus upon those around us but I have learned that how we handle any issue in front of others is an important aspect of leading other people to have healthy relationships. I have learned from my mentor that learning how to listen to my wife is one of the most important aspects of showing love. I grew up with all brothers and so it has been difficult at times to respond with sensitivity and grace. Through listening and understanding what makes her happy or sad, it has helped me considerably in how I respond to her needs. One decision that we made is to stop whatever we are doing (texting, cell phones, TV) when we need to discuss something of importance. We have learned that if we do not focus our full attention to each other then we will devalue the conversation and end up causing conflict. Another decision we have made is to not carry our cell phones into restaurants when we are out on a date. We do this so that we are not distracted and put the emphasis on listening and sharing with each other. Since I’m a student minister, I get calls and texts often and so if I leave it in the car it shows Cassidy that she is more important and that the calls can wait.
Another important aspect for us to become stronger in is how we deal with finances. I am more of a saver and Cassidy is more of a spender, so we have grown considerably in how we communicate about finances. We are focused upon becoming debt free and through sharing and explaining the benefits; we are focused upon making the best decisions towards financial freedom. I usually do the finances and now I have learned that communicating the budget and talking through it will help us both be on the same page on finances. We have started using coupons and my wife has begun to start watching for deals when grocery shopping. The fact that we are both working towards a goal together, it makes the journey that much more fulfilling and fun. We want to be able to provide for our future children and be able to give more throughout our life. Life is short and we are learning this daily that if we make wise decisions, we will be better in the long run for Christ.
The most important aspect of our marriage that must stay consistent is to continually keep Christ at the center of our lives. I’m learning that through constant communication with each other and showing grace when one person makes a mistake, strength will result. Keeping Christ at the center of our lives personally will help within our marriage. Taking time to pray together has been one of the most important things we do together, so we are focusing our hearts and minds on God’s direction. God has blessed me with a wonderful wife and I pray that we can influence others to put Christ first in everything.
Order the book here: "Why Marriages Succeed or Fail"