Monday, November 15, 2010

Rules of a Healthy Marriage III

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 7:59 AM
The next “rule” of a healthy marriage is that it takes commitment. Commitment is a characteristic that is not revered in our culture. It is more likely to be made fun of and attributed to inconsequential items. Commercials constantly encourage people to make a lifetime commitment to a brand of car, or phone company, or even a sandwich. In reality of how we live, however, people rarely stay committed to things that really matter. The divorce rate for first marriages has been holding steady at about fifty percent for several decades now. “Til death do us part” has become “until I don’t feel like it anymore.”

Any time we enter into something without the mindset of being committed to it, we are much less likely to put effort into it and much more likely to quit. I remember planning a group with some co-counselors several years back. We discussed offering the group for free or charging a minimal fee. One of the counselors shared a study that found that participants in programs were more likely to attend more sessions and complete the program if they had something invested in it, even if it was just fifteen dollars. The more you have invested in something, the more committed you are to it. The more committed you are to something, the more you’ll invest in it. It’s a positive cycle that holds true in marriage.

The commitment part it your mindset. Most people have the mindset of being committed to their spouse when they get married, or they probably wouldn’t have gotten married in the first place. But somehow over time and through difficult circumstances people begin to lose the “forever” mindset and start thinking that it might be better if the marriage ended. As soon as these thoughts start, the spiral towards divorce begins. Even though there is never a point of no return, it’s better to stop the spiral before it gets started.

Everyone has bad days, arguments, and negative thoughts. The key is to focus on the good days, argue less and more effectively, and replace negative thoughts with positive ones. This is an overflow from having the right perspective, but our thoughts about our spouse and commitment to our marriage are closely linked. If we reaffirm our commitment to our spouse with positive thoughts about our marriage (thinking about the good parts of the marriage, the positive traits of our husband, and the fact that we thought enough about him at one time to make the commitment of a lifetime) we are more likely to put effort into our relationship with him. As we put effort into the relationship, we will begin to reap the rewards of marriage and feel more committed to it. Each of these things are a piece of the puzzle which helps to make up the whole picture of a healthy marriage.

0 comments on "Rules of a Healthy Marriage III"

Monday, November 15, 2010

Rules of a Healthy Marriage III

The next “rule” of a healthy marriage is that it takes commitment. Commitment is a characteristic that is not revered in our culture. It is more likely to be made fun of and attributed to inconsequential items. Commercials constantly encourage people to make a lifetime commitment to a brand of car, or phone company, or even a sandwich. In reality of how we live, however, people rarely stay committed to things that really matter. The divorce rate for first marriages has been holding steady at about fifty percent for several decades now. “Til death do us part” has become “until I don’t feel like it anymore.”

Any time we enter into something without the mindset of being committed to it, we are much less likely to put effort into it and much more likely to quit. I remember planning a group with some co-counselors several years back. We discussed offering the group for free or charging a minimal fee. One of the counselors shared a study that found that participants in programs were more likely to attend more sessions and complete the program if they had something invested in it, even if it was just fifteen dollars. The more you have invested in something, the more committed you are to it. The more committed you are to something, the more you’ll invest in it. It’s a positive cycle that holds true in marriage.

The commitment part it your mindset. Most people have the mindset of being committed to their spouse when they get married, or they probably wouldn’t have gotten married in the first place. But somehow over time and through difficult circumstances people begin to lose the “forever” mindset and start thinking that it might be better if the marriage ended. As soon as these thoughts start, the spiral towards divorce begins. Even though there is never a point of no return, it’s better to stop the spiral before it gets started.

Everyone has bad days, arguments, and negative thoughts. The key is to focus on the good days, argue less and more effectively, and replace negative thoughts with positive ones. This is an overflow from having the right perspective, but our thoughts about our spouse and commitment to our marriage are closely linked. If we reaffirm our commitment to our spouse with positive thoughts about our marriage (thinking about the good parts of the marriage, the positive traits of our husband, and the fact that we thought enough about him at one time to make the commitment of a lifetime) we are more likely to put effort into our relationship with him. As we put effort into the relationship, we will begin to reap the rewards of marriage and feel more committed to it. Each of these things are a piece of the puzzle which helps to make up the whole picture of a healthy marriage.

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