When we were first married, we shared with you in an earlier article that our marriage preparation in 1964 was very weak -- a very small tiny little book on "how to be married" and meeting with our parish priest. In comparison of today's preparation versus ours, couples preparing for marriage today get the "Cadillac" of preparations.
No one really knows how to be married. Our parents, aunts and uncles and neighbors helped us to formulate our ideas on marriage and some of the relationships we saw growing up, shall we say, had a lot to be desired. Our neighbor who lived next door to my family called his wife "old lady." As well, Mar's father died when her parents were only married 12 years and her mother grew to be a very strong-willed woman who relayed this message to her daughters -- you don't need men.
How about these thoughts on marriage?
* Marriage is a three-ring circus: engagement ring, wedding ring, and suffering.
* Marriage is an institution, but who wants to live in an institution?
* Marriage is a great institution, but I'm not ready for an institution.
* It's not as great a day for the bride as she thinks. She's not marrying the best man.
Unfortunately, most of the sayings about marriage are negative. Let's move on to something positive!!! A good marriage does not just happen. Couples who have excellent communication skills have probably worked very hard at incorporating them into their relationship. Most of us have to learn through "the school of hard knocks." To all of you we propose this thought -- just as you plan your vacations, also begin to plan marriage enrichments into your life.
Marriage Encounter Weekends
Our first recommendation would be to look into attending a Marriage Encounter weekend -- www.wwme.org. You can find a weekend in your area that will fit your timetable. You can also find different denominations on this website. Don't walk to this weekend, RUN to this weekend.
The Marriage Encounter weekend is for couples with relative healthy relationships. All of us have those areas that are considered "touchy subjects" in our marriage and some of us have difficulty in trusting, loving each other unconditionally and some of us live a "married singles lifestyle" -- married, but not really spending much time together because of TV, kids, jobs, family, Tupperware parties and even church activities. The Marriage Encounter weekend will help you reprioritize many things in your relationship and you will learn a technique of communication that will be with you forever. When we made our Marriage Encounter weekend in 1976, (Mar) definitely had to reprioritize as she had the house first (keeping an immaculately clean home), children next, husband next and God last. Both of us went to our Marriage Encounter weekend because we thought Mar knew Mike needed to change and Mike knew Mar needed to change -- and really -- both of us needed to change!
From that point of making your first weekend, we want you to then plan other marriage enrichments throughout your marriage journey. If you see a marriage enrichment course being offered in another church (and another denomination) -- sign up!
Visit the Family Life website -- Bringing Timeless Principles Home -- www.familylife.com. This is a wonderful resource.
Also, check out The Center for Relationship Development -- Nurturing Healthy Relationships -- www.realrelationships.com. Find out more about Soul Mate Seminars.
If you really want to enhance your relationship -- begin a marriage preparation program in your church. Start a program called Couple to Couple, whereby couples who have been married for a while mentor the younger married couples of your church. Anything that YOU do as a couple for OTHER couples will ENHANCE YOUR OWN RELATIONSHIP!!!
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