I was watching Dancing With the Stars this week. I had not watched it for the last couple of seasons, but for some reason I was hooked as I watched the three couples perform. It was amazing to me how good these non-professional dancers were. I realize they are matched with a Pro, but they knew their stuff.
As I watched this it hit me that learning to dance is much like learning how to have good relationships with other people. In marriage especially, learning to dance is important. I am not talking about actual dancing, although that could be really good for your marriage. Just doing something together is often a good first step. What I am talking about is learning new dance steps for your relationship.
You see each of us has some dance steps we have learned from other people growing up about how relationships or marriages should work. We develop certain attitudes, expectations and mindsets on our relationships.
Most of these dance steps are flawed or outright wrong, and so we stumble along trying to dance with someone instead we step on each others toes and sometimes even fall down. Many times instead of learning new better dance steps we just try harder with to old ones and make it worse.
I am officiating a wedding on Saturday and I will be sharing some new dance steps for this couple to work on as they start a new life together. I want to share one of those steps.
The first dance step is to from Proverbs 12:18 “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing”. Words are powerful and dangerous. Your words can hurt, tear down and destroy a relationship, but your words can also encourage, lift up and bring life to your relationship. The first dance step is to choose your words wisely. Words like; please, thank you, I am proud of you, you did a great job, you look amazing, I love you, your the best and on and on.
Sincere words of encouragement bring healing to a relationship. Start practicing this dance step in all your relationships. It is the beginning of a beautiful dance.
Do you know how to relax?
Our lives can be so busy and full that we seldom have time to relax and slow down. There are many reasons for our busyness. Tonight when I got home from work my awesome wife Vikki had supper ready for me. We had rice with broccoli and cauliflower and pasta salad. It was good and healthy. We usually sit on the back patio to eat supper. After supper I went on a short walk, about two miles. It took my ipod and listened to the Goo Goo Dolls and The Fray, two of my favorite bands. I walked by a field of goats and watched them eating and running around. There had to be 30 goats. Vikki and I have one goat.
When I got back I sat on our back patio and continued to listen to some music and relaxed. I didn’t think about work or what I needed to do next, I just sat there. I actually fell asleep for about 15 minutes. I woke up took a shower and got online to blog and read blogs.
I don’t do that every night, but tonight I relaxed. It helped me to see the world around me the one that God created. When was the last time you just sat and watched the birds and the grass?
I love it when God makes things happen. God brings people across our paths for a reason. It is our job to pay attention.
Butch & Juliene Price are leading a group of people down to the Eight Days of Hope mission trip to Louisiana. They stopped by my office to give me an update on how some things were going. As we talked they mentioned that a guy from Canton that owns a paint store (Harrison Paint) wanted to donate a truck load of paint for the relief effort. They gladly accepted this generous gift, but were unsure how to get it down their.
I remembered that at the last Group Link here at NewPointe, I met a guy named Jerry Weaver. Jerry owns a trucking and he mentioned that if I ever needed anything shipped down south for the relief efforts to let him know. So, I called Jerry and within a day he made arrangements to ship 26,000 pounds of paint to two locations in Mississippi and Louisiana. God is Good all the Time.
A big thanks to Jerry Weaver, Butch & Juliene Price and Harrison Paint. If we each do our part amazing things can happen. Yeah God.
Everyone defines success a little differently, it depends on your filter or how you view the world. In marriage success can mean many things as well. To some a successful marriage is not getting divorced or maybe not fighting too much. To others it may be having a family and a house and two cars. To someone else it may be a close friendship with their spouse. Think about what a successful marriage looks like to you.
I thought I would talk about what good marriages have in common. If you don’t know what a strong healthy marriage looks like you can’t work toward it. In a landmark twenty-five year research project that studied 14,000 families around the world, Dr. Nick Stinnett, a marriage expert, found that strong families have at least six major things in common.
1. Commitment: trust, honesty, dependability, faithfulness
2. Appreciation and Affection: caring for each other, friendship, respect for individuality, playfulness and humor
3. Positive Communication: sharing feelings, giving compliments, avoiding blame, compromise, agreeing to disagree
4. Time Together: quality time in great quantities, enjoying each other’s company, simple good times, and sharing fun times
5. Spiritual well-being: faith, compassion, shared ethical values, oneness with mankind
6. Ability to cope with stress: adaptability, growing through crisis together, openness to change, resilience.
This information came from a book by Dr. Greg Smalley “The Marriage You’ve Always Dreamed Of.”
I want to focus on two of the most important factors for a successful marriage.
The first is spending time together. Most of the couples I talk to that are struggling in their marriage are not spending much if any time together. When you are not spending time together you quickly fill your time with other things and people. Soon your needs are being met without your spouse and over time you feel you don’t need your spouse around. You are doing your own thing and she is doing her own thing and you are no longer a team. Between work schedules and children and other busy stuff you don’t find time for each other. It becomes easy to not talk or go on a date or schedule a time to get away. You cannot become intimate with someone if you are not spending significant time together.
Think back to when you were dating. You spent a lot of time together. You talked on the phone, went on dates and spent every free moment together. When you got married that began to change. If you stop spending time together you don’t communicate about money, children, faith, work, family and most everything else. Time together is a big deal in successful marriages.
The second thing I want to mention is this; In the most successful marriages learning about each other is a high priority. Dr. Smalley surveyed 10,000 couples and the second thing on their list behind time together was “getting to know each other on a deeper level”.
I call this being curious about your spouse. Trying to figure out what makes them tick. Discovering what their love language is and what their top 5 needs are. Talking about your past, your childhood, your dreams, your hurts, your fears, your core beliefs, your goals, sex, religion. Basically everything and anything that will help you gain a better window into the soul of your spouse.
That sounds like a lot of work doesn’t it? You are exactly right. Every couple I meet with I tell them they are going to have to put in a lot of work because a lot of damage has been done to get where they are at. If you don’t work on things for years you need more than a tune up, you need an engine overhaul. You can’t fix it in a month or two. You need to dig down into the relationship and rebuild it. That is why it is so important to start working on it today. Don’t wait for the right time to make changes in your marriage, don’t wait for your spouse to change. It starts with you and your willingness to change and grow.
Remember your wedding vows: I, Chad take you, Vikki, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death us do part, and thereto I pledge you my faith.
Are you keeping your vows? Are you loving and cherishing? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to build a successful relationship with your spouse?