This is the second installment of the entry I posted recently on marriage. Again, these are the highlights of the marriage retreat my husband and I attended recently in a sister church, CCF Las Pinas.
Mending the Gaps
A study was conducted regarding the differences between men and women. The study also revealed the differences in the needs of both men and women.
Needs of Men:
1. Sexual Fulfillment
2. Recreational Companionship
3. A Good-looking Wife (seriously?)
Needs of Women:
3. Honesty and Openness
At times, unmet needs are the source of conflict in relationships or marriages. These conflicts when not brought out in the open or resolved, could be barriers in communication. What then are the other barriers to communication?
First, it’s not knowing the differences between the needs of your spouse. Men and women are total opposites. Women are organized, talkative, people-oriented, see the details, put things in order while men are disorganized, use few words, goal-oriented, see the big picture and scatter things. These differences are not absolute truths about men and women, there are a lot of women who are clutter-bugs while there are men who TALK a lot!
Second barrier, is having unresolved conflicts. I believe most of the unresolved conflicts arise from unmet needs. For example, because of the natural tendency of men to keep to themselves and not talk about “things” with their wives, they become cold, distant. The wives in turn, would be wondering and bombarding the husband with questions. Soon, conflict would arise only because issues were not resolved right away.
Third is taking each other for granted. The wife could be too focused on the kids that they unintentionally neglect the poor husband. The exciting honeymoon stage fizzles out as soon as kids are born. Somehow the wife gets preoccupied with the new baby that hubby feels left out and unwanted. That’s why it is necessary for the husband and wife to continue to devote their time to each other. Having babies should not be the cause of conflict in the marriage. It should solidify the bond of the husband and wife. Because as the child grows up, he or she would look up to his or her parents as role models when he or she has her own family in the future.
Another barrier to communication is bitterness. It is said that bitterness is a crushing mental attitude which triggers a wide variety of other sins. Bitterness only means unforgiveness and this will rob the marriage of stability. I like what the speaker said about forgivness, that it is a lubricant that reduces the friction between husband and wife.
The prophet Hosea was given as an example. Hosea was a prophet of God yet his wife became unfaithful, in fact, she became a prostitute. But despite what the wife has done to Hosea, he forgave her and welcomed her back. This kind of love shown by Hosea is the kind of love God shows us. We are unfaithful to God. We are sinners who love our sin. But wherever our sin has led us, God still calls us to come back to Him. He still runs after us. He loves us no matter what we have done. All He wants is for us to come to Him and turn our back on our sin and follow Him. He says in Jeremiah 31:34
No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more. Jeremiah 31:34
So how do we mend the gaps in our marriage?
1. Show genuine interest in your spouse.
2. Build relationships. We should not find time, but we need to make time for your spouse.
3. Demonstrate a willingness to forgive and ask for forgiveness. As Jesus said in Matthew 18:21-22, our forgiveness knows no limit.
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
4. We should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
James 1:19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry