Friday, December 15, 2017

Teatime Conversations: A Peaceful and Strong Marriage

Welcome to Teatime Conversations! This is a new series on Cranberry Tea Time. I hope to continue posting these conversations for as long I have the energy and the questions keep coming. If you have a question, you can leave it in the comment section of this post, email me, or submit your question anonymously through this form.

Today we are chatting about marriage. Grab a cup of tea, and let's visit together!

Teatime Conversations: A Peaceful and Strong Marriage

Reader Question: What sorts of things have kept your marriage peaceful and strong? 

Marriage with a chronic illness is challenging, and it takes intentional effort to maintain a strong and peaceful marriage. Will and I are celebrating our 15th anniversary this month, and while we certainly don’t have a perfect marriage, I do think we have a good and happy marriage.

Here are some things that have helped us to grow closer together and maintain a strong, peaceful marriage:
  • Growing individually in our relationships with the Lord. As we each grow closer to the Lord, we also grow closer to one another. As we become more like Christ, we become more loving, faithful, caring, and compassionate, and those are all things that make marriage more peaceful.
  • Being quick to apologize when wrong, and being quick to forgive when wronged. This makes life much happier and more pleasant!
  • Learning to overlook minor offenses and choosing not to get upset over the little stuff. Many years ago we decided that we would not get upset or start an argument over something one of us says when we are exhausted and sleep deprived. This doesn’t mean we can say anything we want when we’re sleepy. It does mean that we know the exhausted and sleep deprived person will probably realize the next morning that he or she said something unkind, and there will quickly be an apology and reconciliation. So at the moment we just let it go and choose not to be offended. Sometimes it is better to wait until both people are better rested and thinking clearly before continuing a discussion. 
  • Spending time together simply enjoying each other’s company. This doesn’t have to mean going out on a date. This could be cooking supper together, watching a movie, or sitting in the backyard talking. 
  • Keeping intimacy a priority. This can be a challenge with chronic illness, but it is important to keep the physical relationship strong. Intimacy may change over the years as pain, illness, medications, and other symptoms interfere in various ways. But keep trying. If you are a married couple struggling in this area, pray for wisdom and help. Talk with your doctor to see if there is anything that could help medically. Talk with a chronic illness friend who may have gone through something similar. She may have advice to share about ways to work around different challenges due to illness or pain. Keep trying, and be patient with each other through it all. 
  • Praying regularly with one another and for one another.
  • Cultivating gratitude for each other. Look for the good qualities in the other. Compliment your spouse. Thank the Lord for the gift of your spouse.
  • Avoiding pet peeves. We talked early on in marriage about what each other’s pet peeves were, and we tried to avoid those. It might sound silly, but it was helpful! We agreed on which way the toilet paper should be put on the roll, and we decided that it didn’t matter where we squeezed the toothpaste tube. Annoying sounds, like whistling and brushing teeth with one’s mouth open, were usually avoided. Not everyone would want to make changes to minor habits like this, but we decided it was a small sacrifice that we wanted to make. In time the new practices became habits, and we don’t even think about what we “gave up” for the sake of the other.
  • Remembering that we are on the same team. We may disagree or get frustrated with each other at times, but we are not each other’s enemy. We are in this together.
We don’t do all of the above things perfectly, but we keep working at it, and we are growing stronger in our marriage.

We would love to hear from you! What things have helped to keep your marriage peaceful and strong? Or what good things have you seen in the marriage of a couple whom you admire?

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