Skip to main content

Marriage Takes Work – What Does That Mean Anyway?


We’ve heard cliché’s like “marriage takes work,” “communication is the key” and “love unconditionally.” What do they really mean? How do they play out in married life?

Communication Is Key

Steph:  Paul and I learned on our Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend, that we were primarily communicating by sharing information: about our work, our children, our calendar. We learned that in order to grow in intimacy we needed to communicate on a feeling level. I learned that feelings are neither right nor wrong. And, I learned to truly listen to how Paul was feeling about a particular situation instead of interrupting him with a litany of detailed questions. When I share with Paul my feelings of sorrow and regret over my sisters’ death and he listens without trying to “fix it”, he showers me in compassion and tenderness. When we accept one another’s feelings, we get along better and little annoyances seem far less important than my love for him.

Marriage Takes Work
Paul: I’ve learned that every thought that comes into my head does not need to come out of my mouth. Making negative comments about Steph’s driving or correcting facts in a story she’s telling do not need to be said. “Working” at marriage means that I strive to use a tone of voice that is patient, kind and loving at all times, not just when I’m in a good mood. I have a hearing loss and feel frustrated when Stephanie talks to me from another room and I can’t hear her. I can choose to allow my frustration to come out in my tone, or I can choose to be patient and gentle as I let her know I’m coming over to where she’s at so I can hear her better. “Working” at marriage means that I make decisions to love Stephanie even when I don’t feel like it.  

Unconditional Love
We both watched our mothers suffer under very difficult and prolonged circumstances. But there was one beautiful grace present in both situations – the tender love our fathers showed them in those months and years leading up to their deaths. When most of us got married, we proclaimed vows “for better or worse, for rich or for poor, in sickness and in health.” The rubber meets the road precisely when the chips are down. It’s easy to be loving when everything is going well; it’s quite another matter when your spouse is unemployed, suffering from depression, or can no longer care for themselves. We’ve come to view unconditional love as being present, supportive, encouraging, positive, uplifting even when it’s inconvenient, impractical, or not what we’re inclined to do.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Great Sex!

Sex between a married couple is not only good, it’s very good. If you read the research and surveys, you will find that married couples experience better and more frequent sex than non-married couples. Married couples are healthier, happier, and live longer. When we went on a WorldWide Marriage Encounter weekend, we were more than a little surprised when a priest told us that our love-making is good, is important for us, and is important to the world. He encouraged us to “make mad passionate love!”
    So, why has married sex become something else? Society and media portray sex for married couples as dull and lifeless, a tool used to manipulate, something to joke about, and something that - beyond the newlywed phase- gradually drifts away. We’ve been sold this bill of goods, and we often buy into it! What we really crave in our sex life is to give and receive something powerful- to experience the depths of our passion and love for each other, to be as intimate as possible. Our freq…

Advice From a Divorce Lawyer

Yes, this is a strange twist.  We recently heard about James J Sexton's book, "If You're in My Office, It's Already Too Late."  James is a divorce attorney from New York, who started noticing some patterns after 20 years of working with couples whose marriages were ending.

Tone of Voice

Something that we’ve become increasingly aware of in our marriage is how our tone of voice so significantly affects our communication – for better or for worse! It is remarkable how something so seemingly small can make such a huge impact on whether our communication is healthy, productive, and enriching or debilitating, disheartening, and provocative. Believe it or not, tone of voice is huge. WE would go as far as to say tone of voice is at the root of most of the small hurts we experience in our relationship.
Perhaps it would be easier to make our case using an example. Recently, we were trying to get out of the house to go to church and be on time. I (Stephanie) have to admit I am typically the one who is running behind trying to get one last thing put away or rushing because I did not plan my time well. Paul will often playfully turn the hall light on and off letting me know he is by the door ready and waiting. Usually I will laugh it off and tell him I am coming. This particular…