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Christian “Husbandry” – Growing Your Marriage by Ted Sexton

The following was a handout for the SI Group Discussion for the April 2011 Monthly Meeting.  The audio is posted on the sidebar subpage, Audio recordings of Past Monthly Meetings.
 
Christian “Husbandry” – Growing Your Marriage
 
A successful, growing marriage is comprised of many aspects, not the least of which avoidance of negative aspects and the inclusion or action of many positive aspects.

I have observed the following actions and attitudes in a number of marriages and some of these actions help, some hinder, some destroy.

  • Love your wife as Christ Loves the Church.
  • If the “Golden Rule” was truly observed, that would pretty much take care of most conflict and would build up each other.

  • The two shall become one flesh. What's this mean?

  • No matter what the circumstances of your marriage, all the power in heaven is there for that marriage to succeed. There is not an idea of “I married the wrong person” in God's economy.

  • Be her protector in every way, from those on the outside, from your kids if needed, even from yourself and your negative emotions if you have to.

  • You would lay down your life for her, but would you live your life for her?

  • Pray for her often.

  • You are not her judge, the Lord is.

  • Be patient, inside your heart and in your verbal and outward actions. If you have that patient, loving attitude inside, your outward actions will come easily. If you don't, it will be a whole lot harder to act positive. But do it anyway.

  • Be a student of your wife. Learn what works for her and what doesn't.

  • Observe successes and failures in your relationship so you learn from what works.

  • Know her love language, it may be the five love languages from the book, it may be something else. Words have great power, the power of life or death. 

  • Words can call into existence things that are not, for example, good words can create an atmosphere for love.  Angry or uncaring words can call into existence emotions like hate or apathy.

  • Your love for her must be unconditional, just like Christ's love.

  • You need to respond in love even when she doesn't “deserve” it.

  • Don't get so angry during an argument that you don't care about the outcome. Extreme pain for both of you will come from that attitude.

  • There is no “winning” in winning an argument. Being right is not always right. The results are usually not worth it.

  • "Be there” for your wife. Not overly absorbed in the garage, sports hunting, friends.

  • When you are out, treat her as a special person and show interest in her.

  • Make sure that you value and esteem her in your heart greatly, then it easier to show it.

  • Men behaving badly. It's no joke.

  • Be quick to apologize when you need to. Know what her “apology language” is.

  • Be a real man, not a doormat, but be kind and gentle about it

  • Avoid any “instruction” or teaching for her, unless she asks, if at all possible.

  • But if or when you do any “instruction”, be very, very patient and not critical. If you do that, the next time will go even better.

  • Very, very carefully select and control your words, the tone of your voice, body language and facial expressions. Do they convey love and respect, or impatience, anger, dislike, disrespect or devaluing of her?

  • Love and respect.  Men and woman both need to be loved and respected, but a "woman's love need" is often greater than her "respect need", and a man's "respect need" is often larger than his "love need".

  • Chose to do the right thing for 30 days and you will have a habit that is great and will pay off in great dividends

  • Humor, sarcasm, irony, “ I was just teasing” usually is a no win deal.

  • Is there really such a thing as“constructive” criticism? Only if done very well.

  • Absolutely make sure that your words are edifying to her and imparting grace to her.

  • You can occasionally use the “it make me feel …, when you...”, but don't over do it.

  • Doing the positive when you see the negative can make for more good changes than griping.

  • Keep yourself looking as good as you can. Keep fit and active, dress well.

  • Make her proud of you, by how you act around her and around others, by how hard a worker you are.

  • Relative to a man's potential to have an attraction to the opposite sex, keep your eyes and thoughts and body only for her. Take every thought captive.

  • Understand that failure of faithfulness often starts with freindship and turns into the wrong kind of friendship.

  • Know that men and women are wired by God to respond sexually to certain stimulus which is intended by God to promote and advance marriage.  And that it is good when it is part of you and your wife's love life.  It is very powerful for good in your marriage, but extremely destructive outside of marriage.

  • Know yourself, what your tendencies and weaknesses are, work diligently to correct them.

  • Pray for yourself.

  • Be an excellent father and grandfather.

  • Care about the things your wife cares about.

  • When she wants to talk about a problem, don't be guick to try and solve the problem.  Often she needs your ear a whole lot more than she needs your "great wisdom".

  • Help around the house as much as you can.

  • Buy gifts like cards, flowers, other nice stuff for special occasions and on the spur of the moment, but make sure that the special dates are planned out and done in advance so it not an after thought or last minute effort. They can tell.

  • Be proud of your wife and tell her so.

  • Tell her you love her often.

  • Be sure that she is beautiful in your eyes and often tell her that she is beautiful.

  • Get good about seeing things to compliment her on and do so often.

  • Be in the word and in prayer.

  • You need seven at “atta boys” to every single “rats, I messed up”. Some “rats” need a whole lot more then seven. Some can be impossible to overcome.

  • Value you wife, and value her feelings. Honor is similar to value.

  • Date her, romance her without expecting intimate activity.

  • Romance to a man is physical intimacy; but to a woman, romance is emotional intimacy. Know the difference.

  • A woman's memory can be like a pop-up box on your computer with the emotions of a painful past event just as real when the memory pops up, as the emotions were at that time that the event happened, maybe years later.

  • Don't be harsh in any word or deed or in any way.

  • Be gentle without being weak.

  • Do stuff around the house. Try not to let things go that make it easy for her to feel the need to “nag”.

  • And if she does “nag” you, by your definition; be serious now, is it really nagging, or are you not keeping up your part of the bargain.

  • If she is really out of line, don't let it pass, but show her a gentle response with a kind and loving attitude.

  • She's not your mother, nor is she your daughter.

  • Make her the most important person in the world. Your love for God, for your kids, parents, or others is different, You can love them 100%, but your love towards your wife has to be 100% too. It's a different kind of love.

  • Don't put your parents above your wife.

  • Money is often a big source of arguements.  One good strategy is for each of you to have an allowance that you don't have to account to the other as to how you spent it.

  • Know that you will have differences in how the other deals with money.  If you maintian an attitude of love and respect as you spend money or talk to the other about how they spent the money, you hve a great chance at success.

  • It's not your money -or my money, -it's our money.

  • Agree to a budget.  Stick to it.

  • Spend within your means, it'll make you MUCH happier than all the stuff you buy that you can't afford anyway.

  • Don't forget the Lord's part of your money and time.  It comes first !!


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