The Enemies of Love and Marriage
There is nothing that will kill love faster than pride and power struggles. This blog will discuss how to fight these enemies.
Dr. Wallace Goddard, the author of Drawing Heaven into Your Marriage, says literature in history teach of the honor and respect that accompany those who live to sacrifice and selflessly serve others. Today's culture has done away with the old code in favor of a belief that it is our right and duty to go after our own interest and take care of our own needs. (Goddard 70) We are a "me centered" society. This doesn't bode well for marriage.
"The natural mind is an enemy to truth. Each one of us sees our own versions of "truth" and imagines that no one in the world sees truth as clearly as we do. This way of thinking is a pernicious enemy. It keeps each of us from connecting with others and from being taught by God. Satan laughs"
WHAT PRIDE LOOKS LIKE IN MARRIAGE:
This "me centered" thinking allows us to believe we know exactly what our partners are thinking, why they do what they do, and what makes them tick. We tell ourselves our own "truth" of the story when our partner has failed at being a decent human being.
We are innocent. They are guilty, selfish, and downright mean. We go into battle with indignation and fury. Our partner responds with a counter-offense. They say we are the ones in error, they are innocent. Each throws their best effort into hurting and defeating each other. We go our separate ways and stew over the battle, grieve over our injuries, and rehearse our opponent's offenses. (Goddard 72)
Does this sound familiar?
Does it sound like a marriage you want to be in?
There is a cure.
THE ANTIDOTE: "The antidote for pride is humility - meekness, submissiveness. It is the broken heart and contrite spirit." (Goddard 76)
"Humility is the friend of truth. Humility opens us up to the experience of others and to truth from heaven...We must set aside our provincial view of the world (and our spouses), and be open to our partner's perspective. We must invite truth, the heavenly perspective." (Goddard 71)
|Invite that heavenly perspective|
When we find ourselves demanding justice for our wrongs, if we could stop and humble ourselves, repent, and have faith to ask God for his redeeming power to soften our hearts, heal our hurts, and help our perspective change we will start to see the goodness in our marriage and our spouse. It is as easy as that...or as hard as you want to make it.
"We can leave the relationship, smolder in sullen resentment, or repent. God recommends repentance.
...giving up our self-sufficiency, our sense that we can set our own lives right. We must turn ourselves over to God. He can make sense of our fractured and flawed lives"(Goddard 75).
WHAT POWER STRUGGLES LOOK LIKE IN A MARRIAGE:
Dr.Gottman has completed numerous long-term studies on couples. He found that relationships where the men were willing to be influenced by their wives the marriages were happier. When a man was not willing to share power with his wife there was an 81% chance of the marriage crumbling. (Gottman 116)
"When a husband accepts his wife's influence, he also strengthens their friendship. This occurs not just because the absence of frequent power struggles makes the marriage more pleasurable, but because such a husband is open to learning from his wife. And there's is no doubt that women have plenty to teach men about friendship." (Gottman 121)
Girls start very young age playing games which encourage relationship and emotional skills to grow, according to Eleanor Maccoby who did a research project on children at Stanford University. They found gender differences of boys and girls from as young as one and a half years. Girls were more willing to accept influence equally from boys and girls, whereas boys would accept influence only from other boys.
These gender difference show we come by some of our marriage problems naturally. With a commitment to a happy marriage we can learn to share the power and work on becoming "emotionally intelligent" (Gottman 123).
THE POWER STRUGGLE ANTIDOTE: AN EMOTIONALLY INTELLIGENT HUSBAND
Research shows that men are more emotionally intelligent than in the past. About 35% of husbands are emotionally intelligent today. This means they honor and respect their wives opinions and influence. They are open to learn more about her emotions, her world, the children, and friends. They make choices that show they esteem her. They may not emote in the same way she does, but they learn how better to connect with her emotionally. (Gottman 123)
Here are 3 principles Dr. Gottman suggests men (and women) need to incorporate in our daily lives, which will help us become emotionally intelligent.
1. Make a detailed map of your spouse's world. This means to know what is going on in their life. Be invested in them.
2. Keep in touch with your admiration and fondness for them. Focus on the good about them, not the bad.
3. Turn toward them in your daily actions. This means you pay attention to their "bids" for your help, your time, or just you. Pay attention and do them.
If these don't make sense, you might want to pick up a copy of Dr.Gottman's book called, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. He teaches wonderful princples and has great exercises to help a couple get on the happy track of marriage.
"Research shows that a husband who can accept influence from his wife also tends to be an outstanding father." (Gottman 124)
Just remember, a most important key:
"A happy marriage is the union of two forgivers." (Goddard 84)
Gottman, John, Silver, Nan. The seven principles for making marriage work. Harmony Books. New York. 2015 edition. Print.
Goddard, H. Wallace. Drawing heaven into your marriage. Joymap Publishing. Utah. 2009. Print.
All photos found on the net with photo credit when found.