Turn Your Marriage Around in 10 Days
A GREAT MARRIAGE TAKES WORK
On January 12, 2013, Philip and Holly Wagner will have been married for 28 years. Both admit the journey was not easy, but well worth it. At the beginning of their marriage, the Wagners thought marriage was “going to be different.” They loved each other very much and were determined that they were not going to struggle like other couples – their marriage was going to be “better than anybody else’s.”
Philip says despite all of their optimism, their marriage was like everybody else’s. In hindsight, Philip says they had unrealistic expectations. Holly and he had underestimated the amount of work a marriage takes. They realized that in order to have a great marriage, they would need to do what every other successful couple did – work at it. They started doing the work.
In society, if we have to work at something too much then we think something is wrong. We have the idea of romantic love but not what love really is. Holly defines love as this: Love is a verb, an action. Society doesn’t believe this. Real love and marriage rely heavily on action and what to do, preferring the other, and being interested in what your spouse is interested in. This goes against cultural ideas because we live in a self-centered culture.
Statistics reveal that the way marriage is practiced in America is not working, Philip says. However, if you do what others will not do, you can have what others will not – a lasting, satisfying, and beautiful marriage. It’s time to fight for your marriage; not with your spouse. Stand up, focus on your marriage and make love your priority.
Philip says you can’t fix every problem in ten days but you can change the environment (i.e. from distrusting to trust, angry to forgiving, etc.) to create a safe place in order to revitalize your marriage in ten days. Holly says the ten things in Philip’s book are the ten things they had to learn in their own marriage. No matter the styles (communication, individual, marriage, etc.) all marriages have to work on the same things.
THE IMPORTANCE OF HONOR
An important area for couples to work on in their marriages is honor. Philip says “to honor” means to show high respect for a person’s worth, merit, or rank. The Bible is clear about the role honor ought to play in relationships. In Romans 12:10 (NIV) it says, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
Philip says relationships thrive when cultivated with honor, and thriving relationships keep you from coveting someone else’s circumstance. Honor is the platform for intimacy and passion in a relationship. Philip says behind every marriage problem is an honor problem. Spouses should ask themselves, “Where am I dishonoring my spouse?” Whatever the issue in a marriage one or both spouses probably doesn’t feel honored, and they will shut down. Honor is a great start to strengthening a marriage. It makes spouses feel safe and feel able to talk about anything. It is good to focus on what is important to your spouse. Say something that honors who they are.
Differences in how men and women communicate can be an area where spouses feel dishonored. An example of this comes from early in the Wagners’ marriage. When they were getting ready to go out, Philip would ask Holly if she was ready. Holly would say “yes.” Philip would take her literally and go to the car and get ready to start it. Holly’s interpretation was more figurative. As time passed, Philip learned that if Holly said she would be “ready in five minutes” they were five “Holly minutes.”
Many times, couples can be in love but think that “they are too different.” Philip and Holly felt this way but now see their differences as strengths for the same team. Holly says people always focus on problems. Couples need to focus on the good things. It is always a choice. In the beginning of Philip and Holly’s marriage, Holly had to write what she liked about Philip and remind herself of why she married him the first place. Philip says it is easy to focus on the difficulties and negatives. Sometimes emotions can make things appear different than they really are. Overall, marriage is about meeting your spouse’s deepest, realistic marital needs, not demanding that they meet yours.
TEN THINGS TO TURN YOUR MARRIAGE AROUND IN 10 DAYS
Here are the ten areas that Philip says can turn your marriage around in ten days: Priorities; Honor; Admiration; Trust; Forgiveness; Change; Connection; Needs; Play; and Dreams. After you address these ten areas, repeat.
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