VATIC Expressions: Truth, Transparency, Transformation
Volume 3, Spring 2017 Issue. A division of Vatic Publishing®, LLC.
Making a Marriage Work Takes Sacrifice
by Tina Augustus
Recently, my husband and I celebrated 25 years of marriage. To include the number of years we dated before we said our vows would make it 34 years that we have known each other. For a number of years, we would celebrate our marriage along with the day we went on our first date. That day I remember so vividly, July 3, 1985. We enjoyed an evening at the “Taste of Chicago,” a summer festival held each year in the early part of July, which spanned along Grant Park, which is located in Chicago’s downtown area. The Taste of Chicago is associated with great food from restaurants all around, fun activities, carnival rides, live entertainment and fireworks! Thousands of Chicagoans and visitors from all over would come downtown to enjoy this spectacular event!
Today, our family and friends marvel at the fact that our marriage has lasted this long. Considering the statistics that shows the lifetime probability of 40 to 50 percent of couples that marry for the first time, divorces or separates. (The State of Our Unions: Marriage In America 2011) Our marriage was definitely no walk in the park! Our family and friends also look at the work that God has done in both our lives and how He has worked miracles in our relationship with each other and in our marriage! Honestly, my husband and I do not believe in divorce. We truly love each other and are determined to build our relationship. We are looking forward to celebrating another 25 years!
It takes time to build a good marriage. However, it will not take as long as it has taken most couples if you both listen to Godly wisdom and you both seek individual and marital counsel. For the average married couple, building a marriage can be extremely difficult! I can tell you first hand that marriage requires true commitment of both husband and wife, and that you both work at building your relationship with each other. Relationship building is not a one-sided thing. It requires that you both continually discover the things that you like and love about your spouse. It also requires that you search for ideas and different ways that can and will help you develop your relationship with each other. Basically, you are looking for ideas that will help you mature so that you will become a better partner in your marriage!
Let’s be honest here! The average person when looking to get married desires to have an area in their life, that is lacking, fulfilled. For example, loneliness, lack of income, escape from parental authority, insecurity and laziness are several of them. The pressure of seeing friends that you have grown up with walking down the aisle and they are no longer part of your unmarried group – you surely do not belong to the now married crew! These are ingredients for a failed or hijacked marriage. This is not the way to begin a marriage.
Now here’s something for spouses who are mature in Christ. The best way to make a marriage work is by following God’s Word and living unselfishly. Over time, you will find that working to please your spouse is one of the keys to a happy marriage!
And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. Luke 6:31 (NKJV)
In most marriages, everyday you are learning something new about your spouse such as what makes him/her happy or unhappy, ways to encourage, build, uplift and push and support your spouse into his or her destiny. That’s if you are paying any attention! Most couples are selfish and are not considerate about their spouse’s needs or God given talents/destiny. Most of the time we can be a hindrance instead of a helpmate.
One key ingredient in building a healthy marriage is seeking God together in your decision-making. Another key ingredient is learning each other’s love languages and finding different ways to communicate with each other. Most married couples will tell you that these two key ingredients are missing in their relationship and that they need help in this area.
Early in our marriage, my husband and I both failed with communicating with each other. Our personalities are totally opposite of each other. Although we both believe in God, we did not include Him in our planning or decision-making. We also did not know each other’s love languages. We were selfish to each other’s needs that placed us on a road toward separation and nearly divorce. Thank God that we both held onto our belief in no divorce! Had we fallen into the status quo that many couples do when they give up on making their marriage work, we would not have experienced the joys that we do now as a married couple!
I knew that someday I would begin writing about our marriage and would share with the world some of the intricate things about our marriage. However, I did not know exactly in what direction this information would flow from my heart. God had to take me through a time of reflection, healing, meditation, and allowing Him to download the, “Ah, that’s it!” information into my spirit.
Everyday, my husband and I enjoy writing “good morning” text messages to each other with sweet, encouraging sayings. I have found that it uplifts, edifies and encourages me when my husband writes me and the same happens to him when I reciprocate. Lately, I have found myself trying to beat him in sending messages. I want him to wake up to my messages first! I look forward to receiving his messages everyday. As you can see, Words of Affirmation is one of my Top 5 Love Languages.
Hugging is another way to build your marriage. Touch is another love language that we both enjoy. It is the love language that most couples enjoy! Believe it or not, when two people embrace each other for 20 seconds, their brains begin to excrete oxytocin, which causes them to trust one another. It’s also called a “love drug.” According to Medical News Today, in chemistry, oxytocin is classed as a nonapeptide (a peptide containing nine amino acids), while its biological classification is as a neuropeptide. It acts both as a hormone and as a brain neurotransmitter. In fact, oxytocin is released from the brain.
Besides building trust in each other, there are also health benefits in hugging! Research by Dr. Karen Grewen, PhD and Assistant Professor at UNC School of Medicine, has linked increased oxytocin levels in both men and women to reduced blood pressure and reduced cortisol (stress hormone) and improved sleep patterns.
Can you imagine doing this twice a day? My husband and I purposefully hug each other for 30 seconds every day before we leave out for work and when we return home in the evening. And it feels good! We laugh and joke during this time. We enjoy conversation and discuss our agenda for the day while hugging. You can choose what you want to talk about, but do not discuss anything that might offend or cause your spouse to become disturbed.
Both spouse need to make a promise to each other that you both will work toward allowing each other the opportunity to walk out of the door in a happy mood. Yes, of course there will be days when you as a couple will have matters of concern that you, together, are dealing with. However, deal with the matters together in love! So let’s start building your marriage on trust, with hugging and sharing of notes today! You won’t regret it. I promise!
© 2017 Tina Augustus