DO OVER: 3 Keys to Unlock a Lasting Love.

 

We are reading Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts by Dr. Les and Leslie Parrott.  We love this book.  We have walked through it with a soon-to-be-married couple and we are learning so much even as we encourage them toward a God-centered, thriving marriage.

Why read a book meant for those just starting this journey of marriage?

I don’t know about you, but my days and weeks are filled with “do overs.”  For example,  I have had to humbly ask my husband for a “do over” because some heinous statement has just come barreling out of my mouth and I wish I could stuff it back in my face.

Or my husband asks for a “do over” when he realizes he was trying to show me love with HIS love language rather than mine.

Or I create a “do over” for our family’s schedule because I become aware of an alarming statistic about a person’s need for rest and how it affects health and wellbeing.  New information tends to create new thoughts and ways of functioning.

“Do over’s” are simply…grace.  Allowing someone another chance.

When our marriage was riddled with lies, betrayal, anger, hurt and pain, it was a lifeless marriage.  So, when God provided a way through the storm and we began to heal our marriage, it became very clear to us that it was going to be a NEW marriage.

Reading books meant for newlyweds was amazing, because it helped us to look at our marriage with fresh eyes.

Every new day is a fresh start to get closer to the life God wants us to live.

That includes our marriages.

Do you want a marriage that lasts a lifetime?  Let’s think like a newlywed and hear from Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott!

Lifelong love does not happen by chance but is an art that must be learned, practiced, and honed.

-Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, Save Your Marriage Before It Starts

A marriage must be nurtured well in order to grow and flourish in a healthy way.

The Parrotts share 3 ways to cultivate a healthy, thriving marriage:

Making Love Last a Lifetime

1.  Cultivate Passion

2.  Cultivate Intimacy

3.  Cultivate Commitment

Let’s dive deeper into those 3 keys for a lasting love.

Here are some ways to CULTIVATE PASSION, according to our esteemed authors:

  • Practice meaningful touch.
  • Plan mutually enjoyable experiences.
  • Compliment your partner daily.

I don’t know which of these is most difficult for you, but mine is the complimenting.  You see, I tend to see flaws first.  I am not proud of it, but I am hard-wired to “make things better.” I have a hard time giving praise if everything isn’t “perfect.”  Meanwhile, my husband feels most loved with “words of affirmation.”  Tough combo.  So, this is what I am working on right now…complimenting my husband DAILY!

How will you apply these principles of cultivating passion?

Let’s strive to CULTIVATE INTIMACY, shall we?  Here are ways to do so:

  • Spend time together.
  • Listen with a third ear.  (not just “half-listening”)
  • Practice unconditional acceptance.
  • Focus on commonalities.
  • Explore spiritual terrain together.

Which one of these resonates most with you?  Which one feels completely foreign?  The book goes deeper into what each of these means, so we highly recommend you consider grabbing Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts to read more.

Do note that cultivating intimacy isn’t just “have more sex.”  Many of us equate intimacy with sex.  I surely believe that when a couple is cultivating a higher level of intimacy, more sex comes quite naturally.  But the act of just having more sex isn’t going to gain you a deeper level of intimacy.  This is especially true for women.

(This is a topic I have considering writing about….if you would like to hear more about sex and intimacy in marriage, let us know in the comments or send us a private message)

Our third key to lasting love is to CULTIVATE COMMITMENT.  Here’s how:

  • Assess the high level of commitment.
  • Meet your partner’s needs.
  • Honor your partner’s promise.
  • Make your commitment part of being.

There may be nothing more important in a marriage than a determination that it shall persist.  With such a determination, individuals force themselves to adjust and to accept situations which would seem sufficient grounds for a breakup, if continuation of the marriage were not the prime objective.

-from the book Sexual Behavior in the Human Male

One of the most important changes we made in our marriage after the betrayal was to not allow an OUT.  We have agreed that we are married until death.  Period. End of story.

There is a huge amount of freedom in that choice.  It is a choice.  We ALL have that choice.

Is that a choice you and your spouse have made?  Are you completely committed to your marriage or is there an “out?”

Friends, in order to have love that lasts a lifetime, we must cultivate passion, intimacy and commitment.

When we do, we experience a love like NONE OTHER.

Based on this truth, what will you “do over” TODAY?

www.sidebysideministry.org

 

 

 

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What did you expect?

When we got married, I expected my husband had the same expectations I did.  I mean, duh.  Isn’t that why we are marrying each other? Don’t we both expect the same things out of this marriage?

Ah, no.

That is the lie many couples believe when they get married.

The Lie:

We believe that our spouse has the same expectations that we do.

In their book, Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts, Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott share this very popular marriage myth believed by newlyweds:  “We expect exactly the same things from marriage.”

Here’s the truth…”What we anticipate seldom occurs, what we least expect generally happens-especially in marriage.”

What we anticipate seldom occurs, what we least expect generally happens-especially in marriage.

-Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

That’s exactly how it was for us.  I came into our marriage with a highly romanticized view of marriage.  I also came in with the extreme expectation that we were going to be the BEST at being married…that we weren’t going to continue the cycle of broken marriages in both of our families.  The stakes were high for me, especially as an Achiever type.  I wanted to WIN at this marriage thing.

AND I wanted what I wanted.  I came into the marriage with selfish, unrealistic expectations that no human could fulfill.

I came into the marriage with selfish, unrealistic expectations that no human could fulfill.

-Lisa Goldberg, Side By Side Ministry

My husband came into the marriage expecting it to be peaceful and comfortable.  He also came into it expecting respect and LOTS OF SEX.

We all tend to live by a set of rules that aren’t necessarily spoken but are always known to us.

So, we enter marriage with our expectations and our unspoken rules and we ASSUME that our spouse has those same expectations and rules.

They don’t.

So, what do we do?

As I see it, there are two choices:

  1.  Continue on with your individual expectations and wait “patiently” until your spouse conforms to your desires or learns the magic of mind-reading.  Meanwhile, you are growing further and further apart because you are not operating from the same set of “rules” for your marriage.
  2. Openly discuss your differing expectations, set a new set of “rules” for your marriage that are spoken and agreed upon and know they will continue to change and evolve as you grow together as a married couple.  This creates a fertile soil for your unique marriage to grow, flourish and thrive.

We started our marriage with choice 1 and it nearly broke us.  We spent the first six years of our marriage in bondage to our selfish, unrealistic, unspoken expectations of each other.  It was painful and lonely.

When God miraculously breathed life back into our dying marriage, we began to humble ourselves (especially me!) to see our marriage as an opportunity to leave extreme expectations at the door and love unconditionally.

We also began to communicate those unspoken rules that we were holding over each other.  And we created our own set of marriage rules, so to speak, that were unique to us.

It’s not that we don’t have ANY expectations of each other.  We do!  We have REALISTIC, healthy expectations that are rooted in the expectations God has of each of us.  We now have a standard–set by Jesus–to live our life by.

When one of us veers off the course we have set for our marriage and our family, we do our best to gently restore the other.  And if new “rules” need to be set, we communicate that to each other. We don’t wait until the other “figures it out.” That would take us back to square one, right?

What are your unrealistic expectations?

What unspoken rules do you have?

How are your expectations working for or against your marriage?

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For the next several weeks, we are walking through the book, Save Your Marriage Before It Starts, by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott.  We will be sharing our personal SYMBIS assessment of our own marriage as well as many tools for a healthy, thriving marriage.  We welcome you to follow along! Also, we are trained facilitators in the SYMBIS Assessment, so contact us if you’d like to take the assessment with your spouse!  It’s an eye-opening experience and great way to start or tune up your marriage.

www.sidebysideministry.org

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Sincere or Fake Love?

Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil, cling to what is good.  Romans 12:9

My husband was being downright mean.  Plain and simple.  He was deliberately trying to get me to divorce him by treating me poorly.  True story.

What would be the reasonable response as a wife?

In our worldly, sinful nature, our response tends to be defensiveness, protecting ourselves from the pain.  I mean, that makes sense, right?

Another response is to serve it back to him.  Oh yea….you think I am a (fill in the blank!) Well, YOU are a (FILL IN THE BLANK!!!!!!!)

And even worse, we may just retreat, remove ourselves physically or emotionally.  You’ve heard of the ol’ fight or flight thing.  Well, it’s real.

So, how did I respond to my husband’s treatment??

First, let me tell you that his treatment was not abusive.  It was rude and mean-spirited and selfish, but it was not abusive.  Had it been, the correct response would have been to remove myself from an unsafe situation and seek professional help.

Second, my OLD way of responding including all of the above I listed: Defensiveness, Serving it back to him HARD, or retreating with a good, old-fashioned silent treatment.

But. GOD.

One of our former pastors favorite two words in the Bible.  But God.  (not recommended for children’s sermons…just sayin’)

Once God was back at the center of my existence–after a long rebellion–none of those old responses felt right.  What response did feel right?

Love.  Sincere love.

Sincere love is “without hypocrisy.” It isn’t fake. It isn’t pretend.  It is true.  And most importantly, it is NOT something YOU can conjure up on your own.

Sincere love comes from GOD.  

That same husband who was treating me so poorly before knowing God, NOW–with God as His guide–shares this profound statement:

I learned that the more I love God, the more I am capable of loving my wife.

-Steve Goldberg (Side By Side Live Storytelling Experience)

**Here’s another post about Steve’s statement.

In Romans 12:9, it says “Love must be sincere.”  And it goes on to say, “Hate what is evil, cling to what is good.”

What is good?  GOD.

Cling to Him and we have the ability to love sincerely.  The closer we are to Him, the easier it is to love people from a true and right place in our heart.

In our Side By Side presentation, I share a story of how I was able to give genuine (sincere), unconditional love to Steve when he was doing the exact opposite.

For months, I would wake up and pray to God to give me a clean heart–because love doesn’t come from a resentful heart—I would pray for God to give me a clean (sincere) heart, so that I could….love Steve unconditionally.

-Lisa Goldberg (Side By Side Live Storytelling Experience)

Sincere love comes from God.

He is the good we need to cling to.

What is evil?  SIN.

Our own selfish desires and human responses to hurt and pain are part of our sinful nature.  Sinful nature is part of the evil we need to hate.

God is asking us to turn away from our sinful human nature and cling to God’s perfect loving nature.  Through HIM, we love sincerely.

Is there someone in your life that you find difficult to love?

Are you trying to be a more loving person in your own strength?

Are you exhausted from the “fake love” mask you wear everyday, trying to be a good person?

If any of these ring true, consider taking that to the Lord.  Ask Him to give you sincere love.  Take time every day to read a couple verses in the Bible about God’s unconditional love for us.  Consider reading Love As A Way of Life by Gary Chapman, our book of the month!

Fill your days with God’s love…and you will be loving sincerely in no time!

 

Have you ever heard our story? You can watch for free right now! We’ve even split our live event into short, easy to watch (or binge on) episodes!

View Our Journey From Hurt to Hope.

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