What Ingredients Are Needed to Create a Thriving and Fruitful Marriage?

BY: - 28 Mar '17 | Marriage

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Dear Dr. Buckingham,

I am a 28-year-old single male, but I recently proposed to my girl. I want to get married fairly soon. I have been following you and you often talk about unconditional love in your articles. I know that love is needed to develop and sustain a marriage, but I am pretty sure that there are other things. You also talk about trust, respect and effective communication.  But besides these things, what else is need to make marriage work? I want my marriage to start off on the right foot. What ingredients are needed to create a thriving and fruitful marriage?

Single, But Ready for Marriage

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Dear Single, But Ready For Marriage,

Thanks for following me. Also, I applaud you for seeking information that will help you thrive after you get married. I felt a level of excitement as I read your question because most people ask this question after they are married.

You are correct in that I believe that unconditional love, trust, respect and effective communication are key ingredients for developing and sustaining a healthy and fruitful marriage. However, I do believe that there are 3 other ingredients that must be integrated into the healthy marriage recipe.

Ingredient #1 – Faith: an allegiance to a person.

Faith positions us to believe in things that we cannot see or prove at any given time. This is a critical ingredient in developing and sustaining a healthy relationship because marriage offers no guarantees.

We take our marriage vows hoping and believing that our love will last forever. This is the essence and meaning of faith. Marriage brings joy, but also challenges. You might not always understand your spouse’s intentions, desires or behavior, but you have to have faith in him or her.

Faith gives us the courage to move forward. We demonstrate faith by believing that God will bless our marriage. Marriage without faith is like a car without gas.

Marriage without faith is like a car without gas.

Ingredient #2 – Work: physical or mental activity that is done to achieve an objective.

Marriage is a beautiful union and can bring a wealth of joy if the right kind of work is conducted to sustain it. We often hear the saying that faith without work is dead. This is true because faith without work does not last.

After the exhilarating feeling of being in love weakens, reality sets in.  The dynamics of being in a committed relationship (to include; building and maintaining a life together, adjusting to career shifts, parental responsibilities, occasional in-law dilemmas and life stressors in general) begin to take a toll on the relationship.

Now, individuals attempt to balance personal needs with their spouse’s needs, but find it difficult to do so at times. The hustle and bustle that comes with trying to secure and maintain the American dream and keeping a spouse, two kids and a dog happy, leaves little time to express physical, sexual and emotional affection. Sexual encounters are scheduled and are viewed as being part of the marital obligation. Complacency sets in and “I Love You is replaced with “You know I love you, I should not have to say it all the time”.

Examples of work include hugging, communicating, listening, sharing, forgiving, sacrificing, compromising and praying. Work is needed to sustain your faith and love. Marriage without work is like a business without clients – it cannot prosper.

READ: Fruit of the Spirit: A Blueprint to a Happy Marriage

Ingredient #3 – Money: coined or stamped metal currency.

Most people believe and agree that money cannot buy love. While this may be true, money can enhance your quality of life and provide security. I believe that money is a key ingredient in developing a healthy marriage because it influences how some people give and receive love.

As a marital therapist, I have witnessed marriages end due to disagreements and fights over money. Some people believe that money is the root of all-evil. I disagree. How people manage and use money is the root of all evil.

Make sure that you use money as a tool to enhance your marriage and not control it. Faith and work builds love, but money is needed to build a good life together. Financial stability and security reduces quality of life stressors. The acquisition and efficient use of money can contribute to enhanced connectivity and bonding in marriage. Remember, it is your responsibility as head of your household to provide for and protect your wife to be.

Marriage is not all about love. Faith, work and money are key ingredients to developing and sustaining a healthy marriage. Faith allows you to believe in the unseen, work motivates you to enhance your love and money makes it slightly easy to do the latter two.

Congrats on your engagement and favor!  Proverbs 18:22 states: He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord.

Best regards,

Dr. Buckingham

If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to askdrbuckingham@gmail.com

Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.

About the author

Dwayne Buckingham wrote 167 articles on this blog.

Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham, author of Qualified, yet Single: Why Good Men Remain Single and Unconditional Love: What Every Woman and Man Desires in a Relationship, is a highly acclaimed international clinical psychotherapist, life coach, relationship and resiliency expert, motivational speaker and corporate consultant. He is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of R.E.A.L. Horizons Consulting Service, located in Silver Spring, Maryland. To learn more about Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham visit his website at www.DrBuckingham.com.

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Here’s What Would Happen If Couples Just Learned to Compromise

BY: - 29 Mar '17 | Marriage

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I recently had a client, who was afraid to get into a relationship, say, “I just don’t want to lose myself in a relationship.” Well of course I peeled that onion back and discovered that the core of the issue was that my client didn’t realize that compromising isn’t the same thing as settling. Why has the word compromise become a 4-letter word instead of a 10-letter word!?

Why has the word compromise become a 4-letter word instead of a 10-letter word!?

For some reason, it seems like we’ve become more stubborn than selfless in our relationships. We’ve been convinced that giving of ourselves makes us weak…when it’s actually the thing that makes us stronger. The truth of the matter is that in any healthy relationship you are going to have to compromise.

Why Compromise Is Different from Settling

It’s true, in both compromise and settling you are getting less than expected. But settling is something that you more or less decide to do on your own – – except less. Where as compromise means that you have worked out a deal with the person you are relationship with. You are trying to find middle ground. I think that is why compromising can be so good for the relationship. Because when you do it right, you are both working together for the common of good for the relationship.  Yes, you give up some things…but in the end you can gain so much more.

Here are 5 additional reasons that compromising is important for the strength of your relationship.

  1. It shows some vulnerability when you’re willing to let go of some control.
  2. It shows a strong partnership where it’s not about one person, but about two people working together.
  3. It shows an ability to communicate because compromise only exists when two people can communicate in a healthy way.
  4. It shows a willingness to sacrifice and sacrifice is a strong trait in healthy relationships
  5. It opens up the doors of honesty because it shows that you can disagree in a healthy way.

And here are four areas where couples often have to make compromises.

Friendships

When you get into a relationship, the only way to make the relationship strong, and keep it strong, is to spend time together. Meaning, you may have to compromise on some of that time you used to spend talking with your girls or hanging with the guys, so that you can spend some of that time with your partner.

This doesn’t mean that you must get rid of all your friends. But, it does mean that healthy boundaries must be set. You may no longer be able to go to the same places you all used to go or hang with all the opposite-sex folks you used hang with. You may not be as accessible as you used to be.

Setting boundaries and sacrificing some of the time you spend with friends doesn’t mean you’re losing yourself. But it’s a compromise you had to make to gain a strong relationship. 

Activities

Before the relationship, all you liked to do was drink and party or sit around the house doing nothing. Well, when you’re in a relationship with someone else who may have a different idea of fun, sometimes you’re going to have to do some of the things they like to do.

Sometimes you may have to go to that museum or a cooking class or movie, instead. This doesn’t mean you’re being controlled or that they your mate is trying to “change” you, it just means you’re finding alternative ways to spend time together and it’s the time spent that matters most.

Chores

Before your relationship, you never washed clothes or dishes…you just did things when you felt like it. WELP, you guessed it, sometimes you’re going to be asked to do things that aren’t on your time or the way in which you used to do them.

So the compromise will be, instead washing the clothes once a month, let’s wash them once a week. It doesn’t mean you’re being told what to do or being given chores like a child.  It just means you’re doing what’s necessary to keep the house clean and smelling good now that it’s two people there.

Career

For many people, work can become the dominant thing in their life and their career or business can take priority over everything. Some find it hard to make time for anyone else.  But once you’re in a relationship, you must compromise.

Your mate wants to feel like they are a priority in your life, thus some of the time that you spent working may have to be spent putting in quality time. This doesn’t mean that your spouse doesn’t “understand” or that they don’t want you to do well at work, or that they are trying to sabotage your business. It just means that you have to find better balance and come to a compromise about what you need from one another.

When you are faced with compromise in your relationship, remember that you may be losing some of yourself but at the same time gaining more within the relationship. The bottom line is that compromise will always be necessary but it doesn’t have to cause a power struggle. If you change the way you view the idea of compromise, then it will be a lot easier to do it and your relationship will be better for it.

About the author

Troy Spry wrote 223 articles on this blog.

Troy Spry a Certified Life, Dating, and Relationship Coach and the one and only "Reality Expert", resides in Charlotte, NC. He created his blog, Xklusive Thoughts, with the intent of putting out a very realistic perspective and using it as a vehicle for inspiration! He hopes to challenge people to think differently and inspire people to do and be better in relationships and in life!

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