Yesterday morning I was a bit under the weather and so we decided to watch church online. I have been wanting to listen to Pete Wilson from Crosspointe church in Nashville as I have enjoyed hos book, "Plan B" and so we did.
He is preaching on relationships right now and yesterday's sermon was excellent. I am taking the liberty of sharing some of his remarks, but urge you to go online and listen to the sermon in its entirety. He reminded us that most people have no difficulty in "falling in love, but most of us are ill equipped to stay in love." Bob and I have been married almost 45 years now. The years have certainly had their share of peaks and valleys, but it is what we choose to do in the valleys that makes all the difference.
Many years ago Bob and I made a decision that has blessed us and our marriage. There is a verse in Scripture which says, "a cord of three strands is not easily broken." Jesus is the strand...He is the glue that has held our marriage together. Andy Stanley says, "the foundation for staying in love is to make love a verb." So often I hear people say "I fell out of love...well, it is not an emotion...it requires action and you can just as easily fall back in love.
Pete spoke about how so often couples are willing to spend thousands of dollars on elaborate weddings, but when the troubles come (and they will) they have no desire to spend the money and time to get counseling in the hopes of being able to stay married. I often think it would be so beneficial for every couple who is considering divorce to be required to spend 60 days going to a marriage counselor. Think of how many marriages could be restored and how children's lives would not have to be shattered.
Pete Wilson listed 2 reasons marriages fail:
1) Familiarity -we stop pursuing our spouses. Think of what you did for your spouse when you were dating...the little gifts, the calls in the middle of the day, the notes, etc.
2) Exhaustion - Our energy level goes down as our responsibilities go up. It takes lots of energy to have a healthy relationship. Where are you most willing to expend your energy?
So often we have a sense of entitlement and put our needs and what we feel are our rights before the needs of our spouses. He suggested we begin to focus on our responsibilities as partners and let go of the need to always have it be about our "rights." It is not always about putting our personal happiness first.
We are all wired differently...we all come from different backgrounds and our homes of origin were all unique...it is how we handle all those differences that matters. Pete suggested that spouses read the "5 Love Languages" so they can better understand what fills their spouses love tank. He feels that unless we know one another's love language we will continue to relate to them from our own love language.
He gave a condensed version of the "5 Love Languages" which I will share...number them from 1 (least important) to 10 (most important and have your spouse do the same and then share.
1) Receiving Gifts
2) Quality Time
3) Acts of Service
4) Words of Affirmation
5) Physical Touch
Try relation to one another from your love language and watch the difference it will make.