As we embrace the new year’s opportunities, let’s delve into the essential foundation of marriage. These essential elements transform a marriage into a resilient and enduring journey. I will share practical strategies and valuable insights from my nearly two decades of marriage and clients.
The Solid Foundation of Marriage
Looking back at our many years together, our Christian faith, trust, loyalty, commitment, communication, and mutual support have proven to be our solid foundation of marriage.
Let’s explore each of these in more detail.
1. Christian Faith as a Solid Foundation of Marriage
Our shared Christian faith is resolute and unwavering. My wife and I both recognise that the chains of marriage are so heavy that we regularly seek the support of our Maker. Since pledging to have, behold, and cherish each other until death do us part, our faith has become the cornerstone of our union. It is our source of strength and moral compass. faith is our foundation for parenting our children with love and grace.
I know that spirituality and faith are not for everybody. However, many studies have demonstrated the many benefits of religious faith in marriage. For instance, faith has the following effects:
- It lowers the rates of marital conflicts and other stresses.
- It boosts mental health by lowering depressive symptoms.
- Faith increases commitment in marriage.
- Faith reduces the incidence of financial, emotional and sexual infidelity in marriage.
My wife and I maintain our religious faith by attending regular church services, praying and reading the Bible together.
2. Trust in Marriage: Illuminating Bonds in the Night Sky
Fully trusting another person is a gradual process, as fear often accompanies the vulnerability of trust. Like the colours of the fireworks illuminating the night sky, trust in your spouse creates a bond that withstands trials. My wife has proven worthy of my trust, solidifying the foundation of our relationship.
- Transparent Communication: Be open about your feelings, concerns, and expectations.
- Consistent Reliability: Uphold promises and commitments, building a track record of trustworthiness.
3. Commitment as a Foundation of Marriage
Our deep-rooted commitment to our marriage stems from the vows made in 2005. We promised each other to have, hold, face challenges head-on, and cherish every joy. It signifies a dedication to the long haul and finding common ground in dispute resolution. We reject the notion of a plan B. Our unwavering commitment ensures we navigate challenges without seeking an easy way out.
- Regular Relationship Check-Ins: Periodically assess and reaffirm your commitment to each other.
- Shared Goals and Aspirations: Align your long-term goals, fostering a shared vision for the future.
4. Communication: The Glue that Weaves Understanding
Honest communication acts as the glue holding our foundation together. The intimate conversation has three key components:
- Active Listening is the foundation for empathy and connection. According to John Gray’s book “Men Are from Mars, and Women Are from Venus”, there is a fundamental difference in how men and women communicate. Women love to go into details when they speak, but men are inpatient listeners who can’t wait to hear the end of a story. This is certainly an area I am working on. I need to pay more attention to my wife and listen with empathy. I have to avoid jumping in with quick fixes.
- Verbal Communication: Expressing thoughts and emotions openly with words.
- Non-verbal Communication: The silent cues of body language can significantly affect a couple’s communication. A wince or frown on the face can convey deeper meanings than words.
Our conversations, akin to whispers beneath the fireworks, weave the fabric of understanding, reinforcing the bonds that make our marriage resilient.
- Focus on Active Listening: Active listening is a superpower that can revive your marriage. Seek to listen to understand. Do not just listen to respond to your spouse immediately.
- Expressing Vulnerability: Create an environment where both partners feel safe expressing vulnerabilities.
5. Loyalty: A Solid Foundation of Marriage
Similar to the unity of the crowd during those festive moments, loyalty in marriage is the steady rhythm anchoring us through the highs and lows of life. Standing by one another is a conscious choice, fostering a sense of security and unity.
Fostering Loyalty in Marriage:
- Regular Expressions of Affection: Remind each other of your love through small gestures and words.
- Joint Celebrations and Milestones: Share in each other’s successes and joys wholeheartedly.
6. Mutual Support: Surrounded by Loved Ones
Just as we were surrounded by loved ones that memorable night, let’s lift each other in our marital journey. Offering unwavering support, we become each other’s pillars, empowering dreams and aspirations. Let’s understand and meet each other’s emotional needs in marriage.
Enhancing Mutual Support:
- Identify Each Other’s Dreams: Understand your partner’s aspirations and actively support them.
- Create a Supportive Routine: Establish habits that promote emotional and practical support.
Signs of a Shallow Foundation of Marriage
Jesus, in one of his popular teachings, contrasted two buildings, one in a solid and another in a shallow foundation.
…a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”Matthew 7: 26-27
Let’s identify some signs of a marriage built on a shallow foundation:
- Absence of trust and constant doubt.
- Disloyalty or a sense of detachment
- Marital conflicts and toxic relationships.
- Marital infidelity and extramarital affairs
- Breakdown of marriage and divorce
Building a strong foundation in marriage requires continuous effort and mutual commitment. From the unyielding roots of the Christian faith to the vibrant communication threads, each element plays a pivotal role in crafting a lasting union.
Recognizing signs of a shallow foundation empowers couples to address weaknesses and implement positive changes. By fostering faithfulness, trust, commitment, communication, loyalty, and mutual support, couples can embark on a journey of enduring love.
Which of the above foundational attributes is essential to your marriage?
I would love to hear your thoughts.
Thanks for your time.