“The most important things in a marital relationship are fidelity, communication, and compromise!” -Didymus
Before we get too far into this topic, I’d like to give my definition of what a marriage is. I know not all may see things the way I do, but in order to have a foundation to build upon, the following is the definition we will rely upon for this article. “Marriage is the first and most sacred institution created by Yahweh in which one man and one woman become interdependent, operating as one flesh in order to effectively fulfill Yahweh’s first command to bear fruit, fill the earth and have dominion, as an extension of His heavenly rule in the earth!” (Gen 1 & 2) Since marriage is intended to be a life long commitment the design of the “home” you are building will be ever expanding as you and your spouse get to know each other over the years (yes, learning your spouse is endless). This is in no way an exhaustive blueprint to a loving, effective and lasting marriage but just a few key elements that can help this building project get off to a great start or back on the right track. Now that the foundation has been set, let’s begin to build the dream houses we’ve always desired.
The first building block I’d like to explore is fidelity. Let’s face it, no relationship of any kind can stand the test of time without it. If one or both of the parties is unfaithful to the team mission, the team completely falls apart and will collapse under it’s own weight. A house divided against itself can’t stand. So what does fidelity look like? Well, in a marriage this can be a tricky question because although we may assume we know, we may not actually have the same idea as our marital partner. Faithfulness can include, sexual integrity (adultery, pornography, flirting, etc.) financial stewardship and honesty (abiding by a budget, shared accounts, etc.) and even boundaries (any access an individual of the opposite sex has to you, whether personally or digitally/electronically) just to name a few. All these things need to be discussed (hopefully before you get married) so that lines of communication won’t be crossed.
This brings us to the second building block; communication. Communication is not always about being vocal, but it is always a two way street. Both verbal and non-verbal communication is essential to a marriage, but don’t be misled into thinking all communication is good communication. In order to effectively communicate with your spouse, you must learn to speak their language. This can be a tough thing to do, especially in the beginning years of marriage and trust me, if I had the formula I’d gladly share it with you, but unfortunately only time and conversation (sometimes heated) will lead to perfection in this area. Most importantly, both parties need to feel that their voice is heard and respected when communicating their needs. Both parties also need to remember that their spouse is not a mind reader and unspoken desires often go un-catered to, not due to their spouse’s reluctance to meet a need, but due to lack of knowledge that a particular need has gone unmet.
Lastly, we must talk about compromise. Often the glue to effective communication, compromise says to your spouse that you place their needs, feelings, and desires above yours and that you value them greatly and esteem them highly. Another key word to reference when speaking of compromise is submission. Yep, you read that right…SUBMISSION! This goes for both parties. As mutual submission takes place between the two of you, you will natural meet each other’s needs and fulfill each other’s desires because compromise will feel much less like a task or duty and more like a privilege and opportunity to show your spouse how much they mean to you. I even see it as friendly competition, but maybe that’s just the competitive spirit in me lol! If compromise is not an essential building block of a marriage, the relationship will feel one-sided and one spouse will begin to lose respect for the other and that spells disaster on all fronts!
Again, this is by no means a magical formula for a perfect marriage, nor are these three areas the only important areas to focus on. My hope is that this brief essay will help guide you to the same place my wife of 5 years and I aspire to be…marital bliss