This past week, I have noticed God is really sending me the same message. That message has to do with my marriage. And I feel called to share about fighting. NOT fighting fighting, but fighting FOR your marriage.
Often, I hear that February is considered LOVE month, probably because of Valentine's Day! In our church, March is considered "Marriage Month", as there are several marriage inspired events and classes offered. I have considered June to be our marriage month, simply because it is our anniversary on June 16th! However, why do we need to considered any time a "special" time to celebrate marriage? We should celebrate marriage and our spouses EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Last weekend, I had planned an over-night trip to Portland for the hubby and myself. (You can read more about it at www.thewhiskeyloverswife.com ) The reason for this trip was 1. to provide an opportunity for my husband to follow a passion of his, 2. because his mother went to be in Glory that time of the year seven years ago and I try to do something special for my husband during that time, and 3. to have a little get-away without our boys or dog so we can enjoy JUST husband and wife time!
The truth is, Josh and I try to connect often, whether it is in our travels, in the morning while he gets ready to head off to work and I should be heading out for a run, or daily as he drives home from work (I'd like to believe he is always using his bluetooth, too!!!) Connecting, talking to one another and LISTENING, is essential to the good fight of keeping a marriage healthy.
The truth is also this: SOMETIMES WE FIGHT. Like yell at one another, get angry, and say hurtful things to one another. This past week, we went from a happy, fun, and relaxed weekend to daily stresses that resulted in a Friday night fight. Is our marriage broken? Absolutely NOT! But is it possible that we can get to the point that we are really HEARING what the other person is TRYING to say, becoming DEFENSIVE and ANGRY too quickly, or HITTING below the belt with hurtful words? Oh, absolutely YES.
Interestingly, throughout the past week, I have heard God calling to me. I chose to do a bible study plan this week called "Walking in Love" on the Bible app. (if you don't have this app yet, I highly recommend it!) Josh and I attending a church service where the sermon was on Intimacy and the 10 Commandments. And, a couple questions/comments came up this past week about the Christian Marriage Coaching I provide, and more specifically, why do I not have a physical location anymore to meet with clients. (I work with clients now in a location agreed upon, such as a coffee shop, my church, or mine or the clients home. In time, I think another "real" location will be in the works, but I wait on God's perfect timing.) So basically, this past week, I had to stop and say "I'm listening Lord!"
Today, I was strongly called to start this 6-week series to share with you how to fight for your marriage in a POSITIVE and GOD-CENTERED way. I am going to use materials and resources from The Gottman Institute, as I have been trained through Gottman to be a Leader.
And of course, I will be explaining why, biblically, God wants us to fight for our marriage.
GENESIS 2:24 and EPHESIANS 5:31
"This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh." (HCSB)
To get started this week, let's first look at this scripture above. Man and woman become ONE FLESH. God has called us to come together, to find "our person" and become one strong foundation.
What does this mean to you? To me, this is obviously important as it is found in the Old Testament AND the New Testament, more than just these two times listed above, and if it is that important to be mentioned more than once, I know that God really, really wants us to hear His word. To me, the day I made that commitment for better or worse and said "I DO", that was the day that Josh and I became ONE. One family, one foundation.
But how do you get to that point? And how do you stay there?
Building a strong foundation doesn't just happen. Love is built from friendship and respect.
Dr. John Gottman suggests building LOVE MAPS. A Love Map allows for communication and the ability to listen to one another to foster connection.
One way to do this before marriage AND continuing throughout your years of marriage, is to use the Gottman Love Map cards and "Ask Open-Ended Questions" cards.
The GOTTMAN LOVE MAP Exercise Cards!
These Gottman Institute Cards are a great way to start conversations with your spouse. I'd love to share my set with you or provide a workshop for you and your spouse where you would receive a set for FREE!!!
This week I challenge you to get down to the basics of building that friendship foundation (or get BACK to that Friendship foundation!)
Don't know where to get started? Here's a couple questions to get you started:
* How have you changed your life in the past year?
* What do you find exciting in your life right now?
*How do you see your work changing in the future?
*Who was your childhood hero or heroine and why?
And can you answer these?:
* What is one of your partner's favorite weekend activities?
* What is one of your partner's favorite desserts?
* Who is your partner's favorite relative?
* What is your partner's favorite song?
And to conclude for this week, PROVERBS 24:3-4 says:
"A house is built by wisdom, and it is established by understanding; by knowledge the rooms are filled with every precious and beautiful treasure."
Lord God, as I reflect on Your Word, I pray that the foundation of my marriage is built on your Light, Love, and Grace. May every precious and beautiful treasure in my home be the daily connection I make with my spouse, loving him in the way you love us. May I learn more about my spouse so that I understand him and know how he needs to be loved by me. Lord God, thank-you for finding "my person" for me and bringing him and I together to be one. And thank-you Lord for being the center of our relationship. Amen.
Thank-you for joining me today. I can't wait to share with you more ways to fight...fight for your marriage, that is! Please follow this series for the next few weeks, as I will discuss intimacy and adoration, building a bank account (emotionally!), learning how to see a different, positive perspective in your marriage, conflict resolution, and better communication strategies. Please feel free to subscribe to this blog (there should be a cute little pop up!) and more importantly, I strongly encourage you to contact me at anytime, for any reason! I'd love to help you further build your relationship in a beautifully non-judgmental, loving and Christian way!
Stacie Stoney has a Master's Degree in Christian Counseling and Life Coaching from Liberty University, and has been trained as a Leader for the Gottman Institutue "Making Marriage Work". She has also been a middle school PE teacher for the past 18 years. Stacie is really great at helping others find their Light, Passion, and Purpose. She specializes in Marriage and Family Coaching, teaching how better communication skills creates more love and understanding. But mostly, Stacie is MOM and WIFE, and believes her number one job in this world is to raise her amazing, Christ-centered young men and serve her husband with encouragement and patience. God is good all the time, all the time, God is good!
Contact StacieStoneyCoaching today for your marriage, family, or life coaching needs. Or perhaps you just want to enjoy a great conversation and make a new friend, because that's very special indeed!