My husband, Wade and I, were blessed to attend a marriage conference last weekend with our daughter Keshia and son-in-law Calvin. It was the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted with Gary Chapman. He is still a dynamic speaker and storyteller and passionate about the subject of love and marriage at the age of 76 and with over 45 years of marriage. His key concept as an author is about the 5 Love Languages. If you aren’t familiar with this concept, Dr. Chapman proposes that there are 5 main ways in which we express and in turn receive love. These are: Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service, Spending Quality Time and Physical Touch. You can go to http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/ to discover your language if you do not know it. Dr. Chapman says that we usually have one primary language and almost never does a husband and wife have the same one.
We discovered early in our marriage and family what our love languages were and it has helped us significantly to show each other how we love and know that we are loved. The love language tool was just one of many that Dr. Chapman spoke of at the conference. Communication skills are given more clarity when this tool is used. He said in relationships to begin with a fundamental decision to treat each other as humans and allow the other to feel their own feelings and think their own thoughts as we are all different.
He suggested that no conflict is without resolution and we each can do something to move toward this. He says often we think it is a financial issue or a sex issue or parenting style that causes the problems but really it is how we approach these issues that determines the outcome. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart for I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 Jesus didn’t say we wouldn’t ever have any problems but if we can approach each issue in a loving and respectful way with our spouse, or in any relationship for that matter, we can work toward resolution.
Dr. Chapman suggested that serving needs to start at home, often we go into our workplace, at church, with friends or on missions giving our best service but we need to do what we can to change and serve those at home. This starts with our spouse if we are married. Two selfish people cannot have a good marriage. This conference was rich with great ideas from improving communication to mutual joy in sex, to initiating positive changes and giving constructive criticism. He reminded us that we need to submit to the Holy Spirit working in us and that lasting changes don’t happen without God doing the work.
One of our greatest takeaways from the conference was affirmation that Wade and I are doing a lot of the right things. Believe me, this was not intuitive for us as a couple but is a complete display of God’s grace and restoration of broken lives. It is a miracle that we are together to begin with (ask me about the story sometime) and between my failed marriage and Wade waiting to marry in his 30’s after failed relationships, we had a good idea what didn’t work well and where we needed healing.
We chose to be deliberate about our relationship right from the beginning and have practiced learning and growing together with Christ in the centre. We know without God it would not be this sweet. One other standard was that divorce is never mentioned. There is no escape clause in this covenant made with God, till death do us part is not an addendum.
86% of people say that deficient communication was the cause of their marriage failing. Relationships don’t evolve on their own and nobody told me how difficult they were but I hope that someone hears that it takes work to make it work. There is no lack of teaching on communication and marriage out there. I will list some of the resources that have been helpful to us at the end of this blog.
A number of things have kept our marriage vibrant and perhaps I need to write more on this subject as it is close to my heart and exciting to be able to share with people how to do things differently or have another perspective anyway. I believe that strong marriages create a solid foundation for so many things in this world besides healthy families. As Dr. Chapman said, you both win when you serve each other God’s way, the way He created marriage to be. You can start with asking God how you can be a better spouse and what there is in you that you can improve.
Only we know ourselves, so what is it that you can do to tear down the wall on your side to make even a slight improvement in your marriage?
To be continued…
The Bible – https://www.youversion.com/ You can download the bible onto your mobile device
Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs http://loveandrespect.com/
The Sexually Confident Wife & The Passion Principles by Shannon Ethridge http://www.shannonethridge.com/
5 Love Languages & The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted by Gary Chapman http://www.5lovelanguages.com/
The Marriage Course by Alpha http://www.relationshipcentral.ca/
From This Day Forward – 5 part series from Lifechurch http://www.lifechurch.tv/watch/from-this-day-forward/
Imarriage by Andy Stanley