Marriage is never a complete walk in the park. Even when married couples are flying a vitalising flight path, wing-rattling turbulence is never too far away. At all times everyone can improve their marriage.
The following ten issues need to be talked about in marriage:
1. Communications – married couples are notorious for communications that resemble the Tower of Babel story. Somehow communication gets confused. The married couple who step into each other’s minds and hearts, and learn to listen, and prioritise the other’s needs, will enjoy less conflict.
2. Conflict Resolution – when emotions have free reign in communication conflict gets worse, not better. The couple that organises to discuss and resolve conflicts in mature calmness saves a lot of individual and mutual stress. Conflicts cannot be avoided forever.
3. Financial Management – couples to a marriage need to be able to trust each other with money. Perhaps one partner is frugal, while the other is carefree. Couples need to talk about vital compromises when it comes to money.
4. Affection and sexuality – these issues are potentially polarising; in general terms women seek affection and man seek sex. But both affection and sex are necessary in every marriage. Sufficient time and care (affection) needs to go into the process of sex in the authentic love-making experience. Sex needs to be talked about, as does affection.
5. Family and Friends – couples must talk about the impact of family and friends on the marriage. Other people, no matter how much we love them, mustn’t be allowed to compromise the intimacy value inherent in the marriage.
6. Relationship Roles – it’s all too easy to assume that the guy will earn the money and the woman will do all the housework. Every single role needs to be talked about: who works, who cares for the children, who is in charge of discipline, and who does what housework, etc. And because roles change, couples need to revisit relationship roles at least every few years.
7. Partner Style and Habits – personality is a big determinant in the relationship dynamic. Being conscious of each other’s style and habits is about understanding the role of family of origin issues. Everything needs to be on the table for discussion. And every partner needs to be accepted for who they have become.
8. Spiritual Beliefs – what the Bible calls ‘unequal yoking’ is a real threat to marriages. If one partner’s spirituality and growth outstrips the other’s, or more appropriately one partner backslides, there is a major issue the married couple may not even be aware of.
9. Leisure Activities – play is outstandingly important in every marriage, particularly for revitalising the partnership. Leisure activities that suit both partners, and some generosity of a little give and take, are important things to talk about.
10. Idealism and Realism – one partner is bound to be more idealistic than the other, but idealism can be a danger if it goes unchecked. The more realistic partner can sensitively broach the subject.
The key to marriage is communication and everything that’s important to either partner needs to be talked about. Listening is more important than speaking.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.