MARRIAGE – Cultivating Compatibility

A strong marriage is created when couples are more compatible in personality. Together they can ignite enthusiasm and energy more easily.  I have watched such couples at work and the energy is contagious.  Nine of my friends from Singapore travelled to Margaret River in the Easter weekend with us.  Henry, my husband, and I are not natural photographers or posers for shots.  But at the suggestion of a few couples in the trip who are energetic and fun-loving, we found ourselves lightening up and we ended up outbeating one another at the most fancy shot.

 

While compatibility is preferable at the pairing stage of every partner as it gives the relationship a good headstart, not every couple starts off that way.  People marry for all kinds of reasons.   Couples who quarrel a lot and experience much tension probably have compatibility issues to varying degrees.

The good news is that compatibility can be cultivated.  But the question I would ask you is, ‘Are you prepared to make changes?’

According to a PREPARE ( a pre-marital program) article, stronger couples  have healthy personal worth and self esteem.  The better and healthier your personal worth and self esteem, the more compatible you are.

What story of yourself circles in your head everyday?

making_story

For some of you, the stories are almost always negative – “ I am sloppy”; “I am lazy”;  “I am always late”; “I can’t do anything”…  Some of these stories are told to you by significant others in your lives and they are hard to shake off. The brain is wired to remember the bad  and the ugly quicker than the good.  These negative stories you tell yourself come automatically  and they erode your self-confidence and your energy.

I invite you to make some changes in the stories in your head so that you can enjoy more enthusiasm and energy in yourself and in your relationship.   The Bible in Song of Songs 2:15  says, “Catch the little foxes that are spoiling the vine.”  Negative stories in your head can change the state of your marriage.  If you constantly think “you can’t do anything,” you produce an atmosphere of inertia, insecurity, inferiority.   This is not a healthy atmosphere to raise a strong family.

Tell yourself it’s not 100% true that “you can’t do anything.”  List down 10 things you can do and have been doing well.  By the end of this activity, I hope that you have a better story about yourself.

10things_bigweblogo

Others of you may have more positive scripts.  People think positively of you and you think positively of yourself.  You are the emotionally well-endowed one!  Perhaps in your marriage, you can act the part of the encourager so that your partner feels nourished and empowered to make changes that would bring about a stronger self and marriage.  Do not assume the superior position to blame or criticise.  They can kill the strength of the marriage and the confidence of your partner.

View marriage positively.  Marriage can be seen as a greenhouse where you are both being nurtured to deal with the issues in life.  You don’t always have everything together.  That’s why you are a pair so that you can complement each other – your strength offsets the other’s weaknesses; your strength is combined with the other to become a stronger team.

CHANGE  for a stronger YOU.  CHANGE for a stronger marriage! Continue to cultivate compatibility all throughout your marriage.

TAAQ8318

BUILDING A STRONG MARRIAGE

I just gave a talk on ‘Building Strong Marriages’ and am inspired to blog on MARRIAGE for the month of April.

Image result for Winnie the Pooh + if you live to be a hundredI like to be able to say the same as Winnie the Pooh in my marriage – to have a long and strong marriage with my husband to the very last day of our lives.

How do we have a strong marriage?

Olson and Olson did a survey of 21,501 married couples in the year 2000 and found that happy couples have BETTER

  • compatibility in personality
  • communication
  • conflict resolution skills

To have a strong marriage, get better at cultivating compatibility, communicating positively and constructively solving problems.

Cultivating compatibility

Enthusiasm 

Energy

A strong marriage has enthusiasm and energy, an article in PREPARE (a premarital program)  wrote.

To Norman Vincent Peale, enthusiasm “makes the difference between success and failure, is the spice of life, is the mental ventilation, it  cancels fear and worry and tension, builds power under your difficulties…. Enthusiasm makes all the difference.”

To be enthusiastic is to be full of God, to be energised and inspired by God.  Enthusiasm is attractive and it exudes energy.  People love to be around enthusiastic people as their moods are altered when they are in a highly charged positive atmosphere.

You can use Peter Scazzero’s emotional thermometer to practise being enthusiastic .  Enthusiasm is heightened when there is appreciation and excitement .

Image result for thermometer Appreciation or excitement (I am excited that… I appreciate)

Practise a broad range of phrases that will bring about enthusiasm and  energy

  • I like this about you (whatever ‘this’  may be)
  • I love it when you come home with a happy face
  • I appreciate it when you helped me to buy the groceries this week
  • I am excited that you have planned a movie day for the family
  • I am so looking forward to our new sofa etc

The greatest joy of connecting with our significant other is to be ENCOURAGED in the attachment.  Paul the Apostle wrote in Col 2:2 that the main goal in relationships, including marriage, is to be knit together by strong ties of love and to be encouraged in heart and united in love.

When we are encouraging, we will increase compatibility.  Don’t depreciate marriage life by counting things that are wrong. Don’t be a fault finder and have stinking thinking.  You will create a negative atmosphere and no one likes being at home.   Get better at positive talk and your compatibility level will rise.