I’m starting out my project with a poem from Beth Stuckwisch: “Marriage takes three to be complete; It’s not enough for two to meet. They must be united in love by love’s Creator, God above. Then their love will be firm and strong; able to last when things go wrong, because they’ve felt God’s love and know he’s always there, he’ll never go. And they have both loved Him in kind with all the heart and soul and mind and in that love, they’ve found the way to love each other every day. A marriage that follows God’s plan takes more than a woman and a man. It needs a oneness that can be Only from Christ – Marriage takes three.” (Stuckwish, May 15, 2013). The more and more I read into this topic – not realizing how hard it was going to be to find resources other than my bibles; I truly realized that communication and marriage doesn’t just take two, like I was told growing up, it actually takes three. It takes two people to love each other, but it also takes those two people to love and follow the word of God for their marriage, communication, and self-expression to be as strong as it needs to be to last. I’m hoping with my topic being so specific to my beliefs that it doesn’t offend anyone or make anyone mad and I’m hoping what I talk about will open people’s minds a little and gives them something interesting and new to read.
I decided on this topic because I personally struggle with communicating and expressing myself to my fiancé. The reality of it is we’re getting married in about nine months, and after being together for over seven and a half years I need to get over whatever is going on with me and be able to communicate with him like a husband and wife should be able to communicate. My goal with this project is to help not only myself and my own relationship and marriage, but to also make other people think about how they communicate with their significant other and how they don’t need to hide their emotions from the one that they love, and possibly even help out someone else’s relationship in general.
I know I’ve already shared this video once before but I believe it fits well with what I’m talking about, and if you didn’t watch this video before I strongly encourage you to now, along with some of his other sermons. This video is about falling in love, and how when legalism is removed when you’re truly in love it’s because something that would be considered a requirement is considered a privilege when you’re truly in love. Damon Thompson mentions, “marriage is only hard, when you’re not in love… Christianity is only hard, when you’re not in love” (Thompson, Oct. 30, 2010). When you fall in love things get easier… especially when you fall in love with God.
For this specifically I referenced my NIV quest study Bible and my Zondervan NIV study Bible and what really stood out to me is the book of Psalms. In my quest study bible it says, why read this book? It more specifically says “the psalms in this book can help you give a voice to your feelings. Expressing emotions can be frustrating – especially if you’re also trying to maintain a spiritual balance, whatever you feel, you’ll find your feelings reflected somewhere in the word of psalms” (Quest). The book of psalms specifically is more or less praises, prayers, hymns, and songs; but if any of you are involved with a church or worship like I am, you know when you hear certain words being sung, every emotion that fits into that situation going on in your life pours out on you like a water fall. So for someone like me who has a problem expressing their emotions, this book in the bible is defiantly a recommendation.
Mark 10:9 says: for what God has joined together, let man not separate. A huge issue with marriages not staying together is communication! We forget to communicate with one another, sometimes we forget how to communicate with one another. When we forget how to communicate with one another we forget how to properly communicate with God! Which leads to things such as separation and divorce.
Ephesians 5:21-33 says: 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. I know people take this verse differently, and a lot of the times joke around with this. However, I view this as saying that the word submission takes on a positive meaning when we learn to understand that our loving God becomes the source for all authority. When a husband willingly submits to the loving authority of Jesus he treats his wife with the same sacrificial love, that Christ displays to his bride. When mutual submission happens a husband and wife are humbled, this allows a deeper intimacy with God, and each other which ultimately allows for better self-expression towards one another, and better communication with each other.
If I could I would have strictly referenced the bible for this whole project, because I feel that is the only place I need to really look when it comes to advice for better communicating and bettering my self-expression towards and with my fiancé. But I did want to mention the book I’ve been slowly reading on and off for a while now which is The Power of a Praying Wife. The power of a praying wife encourages women to trust in God for their marriage. Stormie shares personally how God strengthened her own marriage through prayer for her husband and prayers for herself. This book provides different situations in which Stormie went through and prayers at the end of each chapter. This is defiantly a good source and recommendation for any woman, in any stage of their marriage or even just relationship. Stormie also has a book “The Power of a Praying Husband” for men. Prayer is such a powerful tool we have access to when it comes to our relationship(s) and marriage. Just saying simple prayers each night and or morning, even about yourself, asking for God to change you and to strengthen you and your communication with your significant other, that’s all it takes. The reality of it is that communication and self-expression plays a huge part in a successful marriage.
Marriage counseling, I believe is a great idea especially if it’s with a pastor you’re close with because it allows you to have someone there for you when you’re just starting out in your marriage and through all the good and bad times of your marriage. It also gives you a better feeling to be able to talk to someone and get an immediate response because I know from personal experience, although I know it’s not true; sometimes it feels like God’s not listening or paying attention, but the pastor that gives you marriage counseling is right there and willing to talk and listen. My first article said, Does marriage and relationship education work? A meta-analytic study. Which states, “In this meta-analytic study, the authors examined the efficacy of marriage and relationship education (MRE) on 2 common outcomes: relationship quality and communication skills. A thorough search produced 86 code-able reports that yielded 117 studies and more than 500 effect sizes. The effect sizes for relationship quality for experimental studies ranged from d = .30 to .36, while the communication skills effect sizes ranged from d = .43 to .45. Quasi-experimental studies generated smaller effect sizes, but these appeared to be due to pretest group differences. Moderate-dosage programs produced larger effect sizes than did low-dosage programs. For communication skills, published studies had larger effects than those of unpublished studies at follow-up; there were no publication differences for relationship quality. There was no evidence of a gender difference. Unfortunately, a lack of racial/ethnic and economic diversity in the samples prevented reliable conclusions about the effectiveness of MRE for disadvantaged couples, a crucial deficit in the body of research. In addition, intervention outcomes important to policy makers, such as relationship stability and aggression, rarely have been addressed” (cite). And my second article was: Marriage Counseling: A Christian Approach to Counseling Couples. Which states, “An approach to marriage counseling aimed at Christian couples is described. The theoretical bases of the approach are cognitive behavioral therapy and structural and strategic marital therapies. Techniques are drawn from various schools of marriage therapy. Shared Christian values between counselor and clients are used to promote increased marital commitment, marital satisfaction, and personal spiritual growth. Marital satisfaction might be increased through helping the couple increase their intimacy, enhance their communication, improve their conflict management, and forgive each other for past and present hurts” (cite). And my last article is, Using REBT in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Couples Counseling in the United States. which says, “This article addresses how marriage functions within Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Case studies of couples within these three religions are used to demonstrate how rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) can help address marital issues within couples counseling of religious individuals in a manner that supports the couples’ religious values but decreases disturbance associated with religious issues within marriage” (cite)
Like I stated above, my hopes for this project was to open up my own heart and mind about how to better my relationship, self-expression, and communication with my fiancé, and I think it definitely opened up my mind a little, so I hope it opened yours too.
Zondervan. (1994). The quest study Bible: New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI, MI: Zondervan Pub. House.
Omartian, S. (2014). The power of a praying wife. Eugene, OR: Harvest House.
Stuckwisch, B. (2013, May 15). Marriage Takes Three. Retrieved July 24, 2017, from http://www.ez2use.biz/marriage-takes-three-by-beth-stuckwisch/
Hawkins, A. J., Blanchard, V. L., Baldwin, S. A., & Fawcett, E. B. (2008, October). Does marriage and relationship education work? A meta-analytic study. Retrieved July 04, 2017, from http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/ccp/76/5/723/
WORTHINGTON, E. L. (2011, December 23). Marriage Counseling: A Christian Approach to Counseling Couples. Retrieved July 04, 2017, from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/j.2161-007X.1990.tb00351.x/full
Johnson, S. A. (2013, May 03). Using REBT in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Couples Counseling in the United States. Retrieved July 24, 2017, from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10942-013-0161-4
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Go to Bing homepage. (n.d.). Retrieved July 25, 2017, from https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=S7Qhpmz5&id=77432A77848B16E8A8C4C4262BE6A6A3B05E3E1F&thid=OIP.S7Qhpmz53oVySO2eCfyQUADDEs&q=mark%2B10%3A9&simid=608049349338530441&selectedIndex=0&ajaxhist=0
Go to Bing homepage. (n.d.). Retrieved July 25, 2017, from https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=%2F%2FrKMy%2Bo&id=882DFADFE30FCBDD478A63904724BB97A999458F&thid=OIP.__rKMy-osHXqgl68-rvpbQEsDI&q=couples%2Bholding%2Ba%2Bbible&simid=608037022791697266&selectedIndex=0&ajaxhist=0
Go to Bing homepage. (n.d.). Retrieved July 25, 2017, from https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=iMlVx%2BR5&id=5FDAF2E624EA7A5ECCFF2011CA1E47FF35DB99AC&thid=OIP.iMlVx-R52J9ujPsDnkW2iAEsEl&q=couples%2Bthat%2Bpray%2Btogether%2Bstay%2Btogether&simid=608048069450402555&selectedIndex=9&ajaxhist=0