Can you remember before you were married how you could spend hours upon hours together and still desire more connection? Prior to marriage, we practiced honoring one another with lots of grace, patience and time. It was easy; we were in love and we were doing our best to make a really good impression. Where does that go?
A recent survey conducted by CreditCards.com, which included 1,378 adults, discovered that 44% of U.S. adults admit to “…hiding bank accounts or debt and spending more money than their partner is aware of.” I was astounded when I read that statistic.
I read this scripture early one morning this week, “Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.” (Proverbs 16:32)
“In a nationwide survey conducted in 2001 by the National Marriage Project, then at Rutgers and now at the University of Virginia, nearly half of 20-somethings agreed with the statement, “You would only marry someone if he or she agreed to live together with you first, so that you could find out whether you really get along.” About two-thirds said they believed that moving in together before marriage was a good way to avoid divorce.” *
Being a used car dealer on the side since 1996, I am familiar with the well-known Lemon Law in our country, the USA. Basically, if you have repeated issues noted by your new car dealer over a certain period of time you are able to claim Lemon Law status and turn the car back in to the dealer. It’s a bit more complicated, but you get the idea.
We have come face-to-face with so many different life problems while involved in pre- and postmarital counseling with engaged couples. For example, a young woman’s sexual abuse as a child; a young man’s addiction to pornography; pregnancy; extreme debt; the recent loss of a parent and more. These couples found themselves facing huge life challenges before saying “I do.”
Every couple we have ever faced presented new issues, new challenges. Walking them through these life challenges was our privilege as premarital counselors. We were not serving them as professionals, but rather as a mentor couple, and spiritual parents. What an honor to walk with them, to pray with them and then to see answers to our prayers together. It was a learning experience for them and for my wife and me.
Life has its twists and turns, but when you are able to walk alongside someone else serving and supporting them through those times, you are actually helping them to make it, to be successful and to grow toward maturity. Our book, Called Together, is a resource to enable other couples to do exactly this.
If you and your spouse have a heart to enter this type of ministry, we have a suggestion for you. You can take our free four-part training found on YouTube or you can attend our live training scheduled for February 22 at Westgate Church in Ephrata, PA. I will leave the live links on the bottom of this blog.
We have been involved in this ministry for many years and find great satisfaction and challenge in it. Walking couples through their histories, their likes and dislikes, their hurts and their joys, all the while, moving toward marriage is simply a satisfying venture. Helping to build a firm foundation for their future in the areas of communication, finances, sex and so much more brings with it a certain satisfaction. As well, we schedule several postmarital check-ups with them after they say “I do.” Follow-up is, as they say, where the rubber meets the road.
Are there times in marriage when we simply should not be communicating or using more words? I want to propose that there are those times and we should use them wisely. The book of Ecclesiastes reveals, “…A time to be quiet and a time to speak.”
Consider these five times that silence just might be described as golden.
- When your partner desires some quiet time or some alone time.
- When a disagreement is getting out of hand, it most likely is a good time for a communication time out.
- When one partner is feeling a bit snarky, it’s best not to respond.
- When an ongoing issue keeps surfacing we may need to back off and give it some time, or agree to disagree.
- When it’s time to close our day and go to sleep.
Use your quiet times wisely because sometimes, “Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” Proverbs 17:28