Marriage-Style Home Improvement
By Ed Delph
February 6, 2023
This coming May will be my wife Becky and my 40th Anniversary. That’s right. We established the Becky Bridges/Ed Delph corporation, collaboration, and combination, in 1983. There were still dinosaurs alive when we got married. Where did the time go?
I’m aware many of you out there have been married for 50, 60, or maybe even 70+ years. You are amazing. But please understand that we have never been married 40 years before, so it is a new experience for us. Many people have asked us, “How did you stay married for so long?” “What’s your secret?” For most people, it’s easy to get married, but much harder to stay married. After all, marriage is the usually peaceful coexistence of two nervous systems.
So, I decided to write about traditional marriage in this article. I realize there are many variations to ‘marriage’ in this day and age. However, most of the same principles and ideas will apply, especially in this article. First, I’ll share some marriage quotes and a strategic key to a sustainable marriage.
Here are some marriage quotes.
“Marriage is like a deck of cards. It begins with two hearts and a diamond but often ends with a club and a spade.”
“Love is blind, but marriage is a real eye-opener.”
“Love is grand. Divorce is a hundred grand.”
“The best way to compliment your wife is frequently.”
“My wife and I often laugh about how competitive we are. But I laugh more.”
“Marriages don’t work for people unless the people work for the marriage.”
“You can never be happily married until you get a divorce from yourself.”
“You can’t sink someone else’s end of the boat and keep your end afloat.”
“Marriage is the world’s most expensive way to discover your faults.”
“Opposites attract, and that’s too bad.”
“Marriage is often a union that defies management.”
“It would be a much better world if more married couples were as deeply in love as they are in debt.”
“Adam and Eve had the perfect marriage. He didn’t have to hear about all the men she could have married, and she didn’t have to hear about how his mother cooked.”
Here are some reflective quotes about marriage.
“Marriage has different attractions for different people. Those who marry for love want something wonderful, and they sometimes get it. The people who marry because they want to escape something usually don’t.”
“People searching for the ideal mate rarely stop to ask themselves why such a paragon would be interested in them.”
One thing is for sure; marriage isn’t a battle somebody is supposed to win. In marriage or any relationship, the same issue can be a deal breaker or a deal maker. So don’t put the key to your happiness into anyone’s pocket but your own. Change yourself and your attitude first before you try to change another. Marriage is a Declaration of Interdependence, not Independence. Marriage is less ‘me’ and more ‘we.’
So, how does a marriage become less me and more we? It starts with communication. But before I start sharing, please understand perfect communicators are few. A happy marriage needs good communication for both parties. It’s hard to have real cooperation without communication.
Think about this. The average couple in America talks 17 hours per year. In other words, talk two-thirds of a day and then don’t speak for the rest of the year, and you’re average in America. The lack of meaningful communication is a significant reason why one out of two marriages end in divorce and one out of five marriages end before the first anniversary.
As I said before, marriage is a real eye-opener about ourselves and our communication ability. The object is to communicate, not get mad because ‘they’ didn’t hear you the first time. Remember, nothing is so simple that it can’t be misunderstood, especially when one’s partner is from Venus and the other from Mars. In the long run, what goes on in the dining room influences what goes on in the bedroom.
Women are from Venus. Men are from Mars. No, you’re both from Earth. Deal with it. How do you do that? Two-way communication. Generally, opposites attract and then negotiate the differences – that takes communication to negotiate. Honest communication opens the possibility of commitment. Real commitment often comes from understanding. Marriage may feel least comfortable when it is most necessary. Our differences may not go away, but our hostilities can.
Fear or anger will never accept responsibility. Love does. Love embraces the mess. When responsibility is accepted, repentance and a new beginning become possible. Forgiveness means giving up control. When you admit you made a mistake and apologize to the offended party, you are simply acknowledging that you are wiser now than you were when you made a mistake.
Since none of us is the whole, independent, self-sufficient, superb, capable, all-powerful hotshot being, let’s quit acting like we are. Life’s lonely enough without us playing that silly role. To make this thing called marriage work, we must lean and support; relate and respond; give and take; confess and forgive; release and rely on God working in each other. Partner in making excellent decisions together.
Marriage is a blend of love and friendship via communication. It’s easy to leave a spouse; hard to leave a friend. Friends and lovers in the bond of marriage usually stay in love and stay married. Why? They communicate.
Would you like to have a home improvement in your home? Then communicate. After all, marriage is a game that two can play, and both win.
Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
Visit Ed Delph's website at www.nationstrategy.com