Last week in 4youR Monday our weekly email to encourage those in ministry on the day most guys want most to quit (subscribe by sending an email to TJI@TheJenkinsInstitute.com) I mentioned a conversation between dad and me after I had agreed to officiate in my first wedding ceremony and felt compelled to “require” premarital counseling for the couple. I was clueless and dad was prepared. In addition to some advice on some other things like dealing with divorced people who ask you to perform their wedding and some guidelines on being pre-prepared for the ceremony itself he gave me what I now call The Five Areas of Concern (or Adjustment) in Marriage.
If two people are on the same page on these five issues or can work toward being balanced in handling potentially alarming differences with them then they can have, not only a solid marriage, but a happy one. No two people will always see eye to eye on everything. If they did as one preacher says “one of them would not be necessary.”
1. Commitment: One person being committed in a relationship can prolong it and maybe even forbear the other but it will not be a happy one if both are not committed to marriage. We are not committed to “high school butterflies and goosebumps,” those those may be fun. We are committed to the very concept of honoring the vow of marriage. Extremely difficult days will dawn in every marriage, it is in those days that the reservoir of commitment keeps us together. And the golden years are worth the darker hued ones.
2. Communication: It is hard to understand ourself much less another, so we must strive to listen and speak in ways and tones that communicate. Ephesians 5:29 would be a great verse for any couple of memorize together. Learn the volume of correct communication. Learn to check out what you though you heard. Learn to not over-react or to react too quickly.
3. Cost: One study said that 60% of all fights in marriage are over money. I am surprised it is that low. When her money and his money become one, how we learned to work, save, spent, etc all provide excellent petrie dishes for studying temperament.
4. Cousins: A little bit of a stretch here to stay with the “c’s” but here we speak of family. While we are to “leave mother and father” we will carry a little of them with us. Learn to strive to not build your future relations on “not being” like or differences with parents. This will get old. Probably about the time grandchildren come along.
5. Christ: The center of everything. We list if last in our study because it is at this juncture we go into a MORE important discussion of the soul and salvation. If prayer, Bible reading and Christ are at the center of both of your lives there is such a small chance you will not succeed that is is difficult to measure.