Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Marriage Maintenance is Medicine for Your Mind and Body Health.

"I now think of marriage like I think about living in my home state of Minnesota.
You move into marriage in the springtime of hope, but eventually arrive at the
Minnesota winter, with its cold and darkness. Many of us are tempted to give up
and move south at this point, not realizing that maybe we've hit a rough spot
in a marriage that's actually above average. The problem with giving up, of course,
is that our next marriage will enter its own winter at some point. So do we just
keep moving on, or do we make our stand now – with this person, in this season?
That's the moral, existential question we face when our marriage is in trouble."
Bill Doherty

Marital health is important for our survival. Marriage creates children, children grow up to create communities, communities create nations and nations create humanity. Hence, the importance of a healthy marriage cannot be overemphasized. A healthy marriage is like a ship on a smooth sea. Let there be a rift in the marriage and the going becomes choppy, unsure, stressful and unhealthy for the couple, the children and the extended family. When marriages become unstable, the couples set themselves up for sickness.

Studies show that when all is well with a couple's marriage, they have enhanced immune system. On the other hand, when the going becomes tough the stress of the strife is enough to dampen the immune system. The rift also takes its toll on sleep, which is a balm for healthy living. The children become pawns on the marriage chessboard. They become victims and invariably suffer in the process. How do you keep your marriage healthy? These are some my suggestions that may help:

  • You should consider marriage as a journey, not a destination. It is a journey to eternity. The first step begins with the tying of the knot that locks you up for life. Yes, for life. This mindset would give you the perspective to settle into your marriage with confidence. The only problem is that it takes two to work out the kinks in a marriage since you are two different individuals trying to live under the same roof.
  • Get to know the type of person your partner is. Is she a socializer, a director, a relater or a thinker? Knowing the personality profile of your partner goes a long way to help you cope with the ups and down of her moods. Your dictum should be to do unto her what she would have done to her. This is where the golden rule breaks down. You will realize that when you base your interaction with your partner on your knowledge of her, she will be your best companion.
  • Compromise, because life is all about negotiations. For any marriage to succeed there has to be compromise. Compromising with your partner does not mean you are weak. It means you have confidence in yourself, a trait that you need for a long lasting marriage.
  • There would be stressful times in your marriage when you may have disagreements. Do not go to bed without talking about your problems. If you do not, you will have a fitful sleep, a prescription for stress and anger in the morning.
  • Do not be selfish. Learn to share and do things together.
  • If your educational level is higher than your partner encourage her to take classes to improve herself. This will increase her self-esteem and make her forever be grateful to you.
  • Have the divine in your life so that when you have children they would follow your example. Spirituality helps us in time of stress as it gives us resilience to withstand life's vicissitudes. When you are spiritual, it is easier to forgive, as you know bearing grudges harm you more than the person who upset you.

"Be on the lookout for strain in each other, and with compassion and
understanding, lend a helping hand and a mature heart. Helping each other
manage emotional strain can yield creative alternatives and build a new
foundation for heart-based communication and hope."
Doc Childre

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