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THE GOOD MARRIAGE

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Aiming for a good marriage is not aiming for mediocre, because there is no such thing as a perfect marriage.

This is mainly because, though the institution of marriage on itself is perfect as God initiated it, the occupants, however, are flawed and filled with imperfection. These numerous imperfections tend to be the image we all see about marriage. Hence aiming for a good marriage is a noble thing to do. It is my plea and prayer that all who enter into marriage do so with a positive attitude of making their marriage good, first for themselves, their children and the people around them. When God designed marriage, the intention was for both spouses to enjoy love, security, support and well-being.

Today I wish to share traits of good marriages and how we can turn a seemingly bad marriage into a good one. There are many good marriages out there, husbands and wives who genuinely love each other and are selflessly living out their lives with those close to them. I know because of the bad publicity we have grown accustomed to; it is easy to assume that all marriages are bad. One of the fundamental traits of a good marriage is love; and by love I do not mean just the feeling, but rather the commitment, quality and attitude we demonstrate to others with appropriate behaviour. Love is both a noun and a verb. Love is more than the words; the words ‘I love you’ are void of meaning if not accompanied by an appropriate action.

Good marriages invest in love; love becomes the premises of any act and behaviour, whether we rebuke we do it in love, whether we encourage or advice we do it in love. Love demands genuineness to thrive – Apostle Paul in the Holy Scriptures says love legitimises everything he does. He expounds that though he can do great and good works, but if it is void of love it is useless, the same is true even in marriage. Love must be the premises in which we do all things.

Patient

Love is patient; we both need to be patient with each other – give your spouse enough room to adjust and learn how to live with you. This is true for newlyweds as much as it is true for couples with years in marriage because we keep changing and growing; sometimes the change is not a positive one. If there is no love infighting will be rife, no one will be patient with the other. If you truly love your spouse, you will be patient with him/her. The thing about patience is that it has no timeframe, the moment you stop it you are no longer patient with your spouse.

Love is kind; it is common that we show kindness to people outside of our families and fail to extend same to those close to us. Our justification is that, we do not want to spoil them as well as harbouring unrealistic expectations – most will agree that the people you shout at the most are your own children. The truth is we all need kindness and your family deserves your acts of kindness probably more than your work colleagues and church mates.

Your kindness to your family does not only show your love for them, but it can also help in keeping clear lines of communication. Kindness glues families and couples together; it makes each one feel cared for, understood, validated, and loved.  A great deal of evidence shows that the more someone receives or witnesses kindness, the more they will be kind themselves, which leads to upward spirals of love and generosity in a relationship.

Muscle

Kindness can be thought of as a muscle, in some people that muscle is naturally stronger than in others, but it can grow stronger in everyone with exercise. In a good marriage this muscle is developed daily and tirelessly. Perhaps the hardest time to practice kindness is during a conflict, however, this is also the most important time to be kind. You do not show kindness because the other is kind towards you; you show kindness because you love.

Allowing contempt to impede your kindness towards your loved one can inflict irrevocable damage on a relationship. Julie Gottman, an American Clinical Psychologist, opined that kindness does not mean we must not express our anger or disappointment, but rather informs how we choose to express the anger.

Path

“You can throw spears at your partner or you can explain why you are hurt and angry, and that is the kinder path.” Your disappointment and anger are not an excuse of not being kind to your spouse or family member. Good marriages are characterised by kindness and they work hard to see this attribute of love. Too many couples forget that marriage is a relationship based on love; it was love that made you initiate and engage in a conversation with this individual, who later on became your spouse; it was love that made both of you leave your parents, siblings and friends to be joined in holy matrimony. Love must be the axis of your marriage.

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