Four Keys to a Healthy Marriage – Part 1

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One of the key factors to the longevity of an automobile, is proper maintenance. In like manner, if we do not properly maintain our marriages, like a car, they will break down as well.

“Relationships are easy to begin, but difficult to maintain.’ Ed Gungor

Expectations: When people get married they nearly always approach their relationship with their spouse with great expectations! Unfortunately they soon discover that marriage is a bit different then they imagined that it would be, and this leads to the next phase of marital relationships.

Unrealistic Expectations: Often we can place unrealistic expectations upon our spouse based upon our own perception of marriage. This can be due to an over romanticized understanding of marriage, or simply a lack of growth in our relationship. This usually leads to the next phase in the marriage relationship.

Failed Expectations: Failed expectations if not mended can lead to resentment, and a closed heart, which can lead to either…

Low or No Expectations: When this sets in, a marriage is in serious trouble. At this stage resentments turn to bitterness. If not remedied, this stage of a failing relationship can lead to either emotional withdrawal, or wounding of their spouse by words and actions.

His Needs, Here Needs: Psychologists have discovered that there are basically four fundamental needs every marriage requires in order to remain healthy, and growing. Today we will begin look at these four elements, and ways we can implement these on a consistent basis to enhance our relationship with our spouse.

Four of the key ingredients to a healthy marriage are…

1. Security

2. Meaningful conversation

3. Meaningful Touch

4. Romance

 Dr. Willard Harley in his book entitled “His Needs, Her Needs” points out the priorities of the sexes in the order of importance:

 A man desires:                                                       A Woman Desires:

1.  Sexual fulfillment                                           1. Affection

2.  Recreational companionship               2. Conversation

3.  An attractive spouse                                   3. Honesty & Openness

4.  Domestic support                                         4. Financial Support

5.  Admiration of his wife                              5. Family Commitment1

 We can readily see that there are some basic differences between men and women when it comes to our expectations of marriage. Often times it is unfulfilled expectations, which lead to major problems in our relationships, not only within marriage & the family, but at work, among friends within the church & even in our relationship with God.

Security: “The quality or state of being safe.”

Insecurity: “The quality or condition of being erratic and undependable.”

Insecurity is one of the most damaging forces in any relationship. Insecurity is fear of failure. Fear carries with it torment, and many other negative destructive characteristics, which will paralyze a relationship. If you are having problems in your relationship with your spouse, the first area to look for in insecurity. One or both of you are more than likely insecure about something.

Many times we will see children affected by insecurity in the home. It will come out of frustration, anger, and other various forms. If parents are insecure in their relationship to one another, their children will be insecure in areas of their lives as well. One of the top fears among children today is that their parents will get a divorce.

Christ understood the need for His bride (the Church) to feel secure in His commitment and love toward us. This is the same commitment that He expects husbands & wives to demonstrate toward one another.

(Ephesians 5:25 NKJV)  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,

(Ephesians 5:28-33 NKJV)  So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. {29} For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. {30} For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. {31} “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” {32} This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. {33} Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

A Christian who is insecure in their relationship with God will be insecure in their relationship to others. After all, if we do not believe God is committed to us, how can we ever trust people? God demonstrated His love through His actions. In like manner a husband and wife must do the same.

(Romans 5:8 NKJV)  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

(Romans32-39 NKJV)  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things…? {38} For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, {39} nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God gave us these and so many other scriptures that we might be secure in knowing he is committed to us. Love is a commitment. It’s God’s commitment to us that makes us so secure in our relationship with Him.

“Fear is the dark room where our negatives are developed.”

(1 John 4:18-19 NKJV)  There is no ear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. {19} We love Him because He first loved us.

1 Corinthians 13: 7 (The Living Bible) If you love someone you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.

Praise & affirmation is one of the best ways of demonstrating our commitment to one another. When we praise our spouse, and or our children, we insulate them from feelings of inferiority and failure. Praise is like wrapping a warm quilt around a cold heart. Praise is one of the greatest motivators in the world. When we know someone believes in us, we will be much ,more likely to work hard to live up to his or her expectations.

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