Building a strong healthy marriage with deposits in the accounts of marriage

We should not expect to spend more than we deposit into our banking accounts.

The same is true for marriage or any other relationship. There is a direct correlation between what we are willing to put into our marriage or relationship and what we get out of it. In order to have a marriage filled with rewarding companionship, sexual fulfillment, love romance, and enduring friendship, you have to put those things into the marriage.

Author Dr. J. Allan Petersen describes a “Marriage Box” in his writings. He says most people get married believing a myth—that marriage is a beautiful box full of all the things they have longed for: companionship, sexual fulfillment, intimacy, friendship. The truth is that marriage, at the start, is an empty box. You must put something in before you can take anything out. There is no love in marriage; love is in people, and people put it into marriage. There is no romance in marriage; people have to infuse it into their marriages. Dr. Petersen says a couple must learn the art and form the habit of giving, loving, serving, praising—keeping the box full. If you take out more than you put in, the box will be empty.

What you put in your marriage depends upon what you can get out of it. This is based upon what you want your marriage to look like. Some have compared marriage to a beautiful rose with a few thorns or a soup with lots of ingredients. What would you compare marriage to?

Dr. John Covey in “Eight Habits of a Healthy Marriage” compares building a marriage to building a home. It requires a plan, commitment to a lot of hard work, skills, the right tools, and even a permit. He further states that just as a stable home has three basics- a firm foundation, a well- connected framework, and a roof that does not leak. A stable, healthy, successful marriage has three basics (called the 3 C’s): character, communication and companionship.

Dr. Covey believes that a relationship, like a home, becomes unstable when any part of its structure is not sound. For example, a low trust character (the foundation) weakens the communication (the framework), making it less effective. This in turn, causes the companionship (the roof to be self centered and not provide the protection necessary to sustain the relationship in challenging times.

Covey said that stable relationships, like healthy homes, are built on a foundation of high- trust character. This strong foundation creates a safe environment that promotes and supports a framework of effective communication. With these in place the protective roof of service-oriented unselfish companionship is assured.

To learn more about ways to promote a healthy marriage contact Ethen Gillespie at the Building Strong Families office at 662-615-0033. Building Strong Families is a federally funded grant awarded to the Starkville School District’s Department of Family Centered Programs.