Building Blocks for a Strong and Happy Marriage
By Tom & Lynette Lichuma
A thought on marriage brings back to life the events and memories of the institution of marriage as ordained by God in the Garden of Eden.
The book of Genesis chapter 2:18-24 explains God’s reflections on marriage. The importance of marriage is further explained thus: “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united with his wife, and they become one” (Genesis 2:24)
Marriage compares well with the two builders, one who put up a strong foundation (on a rock) and the other on a shaky foundation (on sand). The shaky foundation was swept away by the storm, while the strong one, built on a rock, remained intact.
This example was given by Jesus to while explaining the different levels of listening to the gospel, and acting accordingly. (Mathew 7:24-28)
A marriage is supported by three main pillars: communication, commitment and cooperation. These three are meant to hold the blocks together, to strengthen the marital relationship, and to help it withstand the test of time.
The blocks fit in well in these pillars to make the marriage work.
Marriage as authored by God, has three key components; companionship, intimacy and procreation. Spouses come into marriage with the hope of finding joy, happiness and fulfillment. This can only be achieved when the couple understand well the blocks that strengthen their relationship. These blocks are the things they do every day, to each other and for each other to create peace and harmony.
There are many blocks that strengthen marriage, however, in this article, we are going to look at just a few to help readers understand how important these blocks are to marriage.
Love and Respect
St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians puts love and respect into perspective when it says; “Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord” (Ep 5:22). To the husbands, it says; “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the Church” (Ep 5:25).
St. Paul sums it up by saying; “But it also applies to you: every husband must love his wife as himself, and every wife must respect her husband.” (Ep 5:33)
It is worthwhile to remember that spouses who love and respect each other are likely to experience less problems in their marriage, and have easy time when resolving conflict. Love and respect provide a good environment for couples to listen to each other. In as much as both husbands and wives long for love and respect, the intensity differs. The greatest longing for a woman from her husband is love, while the greatest longing for a man from his wife is to be respected.
A man experiences respect when his wife prays for him, listens to him with the heart, and does not shout at him, in public or in private. He feels respected when his wife involves him in her day to day life through effective communication and frequent consultations on matters affecting the family. In short, it can be said that respect enhances the husband’s self-esteem and greatly motivates him, thus igniting the fire of love that flows towards his wife.
Communicating the language of love
On the other hand, a wife may experience love if her husband understands well her language of love. A husband, who desires his wife to feel loved, should show by actions and positive attitude that he values her, cherishes her and that she is his best friend. He should let her see and know that he appreciates the things she does for him and for the family. A wife communicates to understand her partner and to be understood.
The five common languages of love are: words of affirmation, quality time together as a family, gifts, service, and physical touch. It is of great importance for spouses to understand and communicate the language of love that is best understood by their partners.
Trust in marriage
Trust is one of the blocks that sustain intimacy in marriage. It is a seemingly simple word, but carries along great emotions. It is hard to build and yet, easily broken. It joins husband and wife in mind and body, enabling them to become open and vulnerable to each other without reservations.
Trust grows at a very slow pace. It takes many years of nurturing for one to say; “I trust you.” It is a product of good communication, transparency, appreciation and acceptance. The best way to build trust is to be true to one’s words and true to one’s actions thereafter.
In essence, it means that spouses who trust each do not keep secrets from each other, but together, they safeguard family secrets. They neither hide their phones from each other nor keep passwords to push their partners away. At the same time, they have mutual respect for each other’s privacy.
For any relationship to thrive, trust must be cultivated. For any couple to experience a fulfilled marriage, they ought to trust one another. A marriage without trust drives itself into turbulent waters, therefore spouses must work together to build trust that lasts.
The result of building a complete trust in the marriage is that spouses are able to talk freely about anything and are able to be listened to by their partners. Freedom of expression opens up spouses to each other making them feel secure, thus creating a peaceful home environment.
There are many positive effects that accompany trust. It reduces stress, insecurity, and worries especially when spouses are away from each other. Trust enable spouses to experience increased communication and reduction in conflict.
The Holy Family of Nazareth
In order to have a fulfilling marriage, build it on a solid rock and support it by the many blocks. It is prudent to embrace the Holy Family of Nazareth and live its dream. The Church promotes the feast of the Holy family of Nazareth that is celebrated on the first Sunday after Christmas. The Holy Family is emulated as the model and exemplar of all Christian families.
Husbands and wives are the key players in making their marriages work and in living it in accordance with God’s plan and in imitation of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
Every Christian family is called to be, “A holy family,” living the dream of the Holy Family of Nazareth beyond the feast.
Tom & Lynette Lichuma have authored of various Family Life books including: To The Altar & Beyond, Parenting in the 21st Century & Beyond, Breaking the Shackles of Adolescence, Demystifying the Worldwide Marriage Encounter, and The Strength & Courage of a Woman.