At Last! The Secret to a Happy Marriage is Revealed

BY: - 9 Oct '17 | Communication

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I was at a restaurant not too long ago and saw an older couple. Maybe in their late 70s or early 80s, there was an air of serenity about them that bespoke decades of life and love together. They ate in comfortable silence, but somehow I just felt they were conveying something beyond words. As they walked out holding hands, I couldn’t help but wonder. What’s their secret? We hear often about how difficult marriage can be, so love that lasts a lifetime must have a secret, right?

To find out what the secret sauce might be, I posed the question to a few of my married friends. I got some great responses including communication, respect, honesty, vulnerability, and friendship. But there was one answer that stood out – be intentional.

Let’s give this some thought. Regardless of arena, success is achieved through intentional behavior. It doesn’t matter if you’re an athlete, a doctor, a blogger, or an artist. And, marriage is no different.

When your intentions are pure, so too will be your success. Charles F. Glassman

The thing about marriage, though, is that it ebbs and flows in one area in particular – communication. How often do you get into it with your spouse over some misunderstanding, misinformation, misrepresentation, or miscalculation? Typically, all of those “misses” can be traced back to some aspect of failed communication with one or both parties claiming, “I didn’t intend to make you feel that way.”

So, let’s take a look at intentional communication and see where it leads.

Intentionally Respectful Communication

Every couple argues. Some have some knock-down drag-outs. Others prefer the passive aggressive method. But to protect the heart and soul of your marriage, it’s important to be respectful when speaking to or otherwise communicating with your spouse. Don’t hit below the belt. Don’t demoralize them. No matter the topic, make it your intention to be respectful.

Intentionally Honest Communication

If you start out with the intention of respecting your spouse and your marriage, then being honest should be less stressful. Honesty gives your partner the opportunity to really know how you think. But when you dip it in some respect, it teaches them to listen to you. The “I just tell it like it is” attitude is nothing more than an excuse to be mean. To have a mature relationship that lasts, it will serve you well to keep Ephesians 4:15 close to the heart and “speak the truth in love.”

Intentionally Vulnerable Communication

This is probably one of the most challenging things to embrace in a marriage. Why? Because society tells a man that being vulnerable means he’s soft. As for a woman, it means she’s being manipulative. However, to the successfully married couple, it means they are allowing their spouse to enter a space where only they and God reside. They then create a bond of trust that they have reason to fight and protect every day.

Intentionally Spiritual Communication

One of the deeper aspects of vulnerability lies in our spiritual selves. I have my own personal relationship with God. My husband has his. But taking the time to share with each other where and how God is moving our hearts is the only way to strengthen our chord of three strands. By being intentional, you and your spouse ensure that God keeps His position at the head of your relationship.

Intentionally Intimate Communication

This one is fairly simple. No one else gets to call you “Babe.” No one else gets to put it on you. No one else gets to send you sensual text messages. No one else gets to talk dirty to you on the phone. I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point. Your marriage is the only place this form of communication takes place if it’s to last a lifetime. Unless you are hot and ready teenagers with raging hormones, you have to be intentional about it. Period.

Now, I don’t know if being intentional is the secret sauce to a happy marriage. In fact, my friend believes that the secret is there is no secret.  One thing is certain. If you intend to have a bad marriage, you will. If you intend to have one that lasts a lifetime, nothing will keep you from it.

BMWK, what do you think is in the secret sauce of a happy marriage?

About the author

Joann Fisher wrote 127 articles on this blog.

Joann Fisher has been a writer and editor for both print and online newpapers and magazines for the last 10 years. She now serves as a Writer/Editor at BMWK and lead Editor for The Joy Network.

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9 Healthy Actions During an Argument That Help You Keep the Peace

BY: - 27 Oct '17 | Communication

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If we are honest, those of us in one recognize marriage can be difficult. A couple should never lead others to believe that disagreements, arguments and, yes, frustration don’t exist in a marriage. Honestly speaking, sometimes married people just don’t get along. There’s no need to put marriage on this pedestal where it’s a bed of roses the moment we say “I do.”

For some, when we disagree, there is snapping, pouting, and even screaming. With the goal being to get a point across, be understood, and occasionally be victorious, some will do whatever is necessary. However, those reactions never benefit our relationship. So let’s discuss the healthy actions you can take to minimize the drama. The next time you quarrel with your spouse, you must stop, look, listen, and try some healthy actions instead.

 Make sure it is what you think it is.

Get a clear understanding of the situation and examine all of the facts prior to reacting negatively. This can happen as a result of asking clarifying questions.

Discuss the situation with your spouse.

Don’t pretend whatever it is didn’t happen. The only way to deal with an issue is to acknowledge it exists. If it hurt you, tell your spouse, because, more than likely, that wasn’t the intent.

Question your initial response first.

Ask yourself, “Is what I am about to say or do reasonable, and am I possibly overreacting to the situation?”

Before you respond, start off by telling your spouse how much you love him or her.

Doing this sets the tone of the conversation and opens up both partners to having a healthy discussion.

If you are still able to civilly communicate and can control your voice levels, take the conversation to a new location.

Taking a walk to the backyard, a nearby park, or a restaurant may be helpful. A change of scenery
could positively affect the mood of the situation.

Get over it.

Once you have decided this dispute isn’t that big of a deal, move on.

Be honest about your contributions.

Ask yourself what role you play in the problem as well as the solution.

Initiate the peace by being the bigger person and apologizing first.

My husband taught me this one. He would often take the lead in apologizing
and making sure we got back to a happy place. Once I got over myself, I was
able to do that too.

Look for the lesson and apply it.

Every challenge is an opportunity to grow. Many of us miss this chance, and the cycle of confusion and conflict repeats.

Here are two scenarios of the same situation, tell me which you think would generate the best response.

“How many times have I told you to pick your socks up off the floor? Plenty! The
house looks a mess, you never want to help me, and it just pisses me off! You have
to clean up after yourself!”

Or

“Babe, I picked your socks up off the floor in the bathroom. We have to remember
our goal of keeping our home tidy, warm, and inviting. It feels good when it’s clean, don’t you think?”

One of the conversations above will lead to a peaceful discussion of the situation, while the other will immediately put your partner on the defensive. One of these is solution-focused instead of placing blame and belittling. Remember you get more bees with honey. You must be gentle with your words, even when you’re upset or frustrated.

To learn more about keeping the peace when you fuss and fight in your marriage, get the E-book above.

BMWK, are you ready to keep the peace in your marriage?

About the author

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter wrote 632 articles on this blog.

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter is a Certified Life & Relationship Coach, founder of Life Editing and Author of A Conversation Piece: 32 Bold Relationship Lessons for Discussing Marriage, Sex and Conflict Available on Amazon . She helps couples and individuals rewrite their life to reflect their dreams. Tiya has been featured in Essence and Ebony Magazines, and named one of the top blogs to read now by Refinery29. She resides in Chicago with her husband and two daughters. To find out more about Tiya, and her coaching, visit www.thelifeandlovecoach.com and www.theboldersister.com.

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