Early this morning, possibly too early for the coffee to have done it's caffeinely-duty, in my efforts to post part 1 of this series I accidentally deleted the introduction. Thanks to the magic of rss readers however, I was able to retrieve that first post and so I will share it again (even though now the posts are out of order, lol)
I would like to make it clear from the beginning that what I'm going to share here is not from my own personal wisdom or my own subjective experiences, but rather from the combined wisdom of men and women much wiser than myself who have in some cases decades of experience in professionally dealing with marital issues. You'll notice the title says "introduction" because that is exactly what this first post is. At the suggestion of a friend, I will be posting this week on this topic and I hope you'll come along with me each day as well as share you own thoughts, questions or ideas in the comments. I can't promise to have an answer for every question but I'll sure try my best.
I have a friend who has often said "husbands, date your wives, or someone else will". What he means by that is if husbands don't take the time and the effort to make sure their wives know they are loved and appreciated by being as attentive to and affectionate towards her as he ought to be, the wife might eventually find herself looking for someone who will take that time and make that effort even if the very idea of it horrifies her and was something she never thought she would find herself thinking. Ladies, it works in reverse as well, and in far too many cases it's the wife who neglects her husband and to his own horror and shame finds himself looking and thinking about what it used to feel like to have that kind of affection.
Now before anyone reading dismisses this idea as something that could never happen to strong, dedicated believers, it's a good to keep the facts in front of us and the facts say the divorce rate among professing believers is just slightly lower than it is with unbelievers. The latest data on that I have found is that the unbelieving community's divorce rate is roughly 51% while the professing Christian community comes in at 42% (of all marriages ending in divorce). Sadly, the facts bear themselves out and Christian marriages do fall apart and divorce does happen. But, it doesn't have to be this way and there are real, tangible, life-changing ways to prevent it as long as both husband and wife want it and are willing to work at it and do what it takes to have a fantastic marriage.
Over the last few months I've read and heard other variations of that "husbands, date your wives" quote and it made me curious as to what forms the building blocks of a truly phenomenal marriage. If you will, what are the do's and don'ts, what works and what doesn't, and what a successful, lasting marriage really looks like My own husband Kevin and I have been setting aside good quality "talk time" to discuss these things and now I'd like to share some of them here with you. Much of what I'll be sharing will certainly not be anything new to anyone, but it may be that it has been set aside or even forgotten in your own relationship with your spouse. It's not an exhaustive solution to turn your marriage into an Emmy award winning relationship (but if you and your spouse decide to apply everything you read here and it transforms your relationship into something crazy-fantastic, I want to hear from you!), but I do hope it serves to bless your union and give you and your spouse something to consider, pray about and talk over. These are things that will change your marriage for the better whether you've been married for 6 months or 60 years.
It's never too late to have a wonderful relationship with the one you love most and it's never to early to commit these things to your memory before you get married so you're well informed ahead of time.
In closing for today I'd like to add that researching this subject online is very difficult unless you're open to all sorts of material that Christian men and women should never allow before their eyes. Through the magic of google's (locked) safesearch, and through talking to a couple of friends I was able to gather quite a bit of wisdom and I hope to pass it on to you. I even purchased a book on one particular area so that I could read offline in my own leisure time and discuss these things with my husband. There will be some areas that will not be exactly "easy" to address but they're all important so I hope to be able to address them in a safe and helpful way for both men and women reading.
I hope you'll be back tomorrow for part 1 of this series.