Years ago David would silently plan his day and week. He knew exactly what he wanted to do and where he wanted to go and how he was going to take care of everything. He loved making lists and checking off his accomplishments. Well, of course, I had my own agenda which I didn’t bother to tell him about. I’m sure you can guess that things didn’t go well when our plans collided. David would puff and seem irritated when I threw a kink in his plans. I had no idea why he was upset. I just knew something was wrong. It took us awhile to figure this tangle out, but we finally did. Today, he will ask me, “What’s on your calendar for today or this week?” In other words we tell one another up front what our plans are and make adjustments so, most of the time, both our needs are met. Genius? Not hardly – just simple communication.
You have probably been asked the question, “What is the book that has most influenced your life?” Although this sounds like a Sunday School answer, the Bible for me has literally changed my life and changed my marriage. I’m so thankful when I cried out to the Lord, He was there. Another book and course that had a huge impact was Dale Carnegie’s classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Something we tell many of the couples we work with is, “You need to become other-centered.” Humbly value others above yourself. Christ put our needs ahead of His. Like the Bible, Carnegie’s book encourages us to show genuine concern for others. It tells us to ask others about themselves – their hobbies, their vacations, their pets. Or, just say, “Tell me about yourself.”
It amazes me that so few people do this well. But like the Bible, it can make a huge difference in your and other’s lives.
As part of our mentoring program, one of the first things we do is show couples the Five Love Languages video by Dr. Gary Chapman and have them take the profile. Then, at our last mentoring session, we show them the video segment on the “In Love” Experience and ask them to put boundaries around their marriage. It amazes us how many discount this part and tell us that they will never let this happen to them. We wish this was the case. No one sets out to be unfaithful. But once a marriage starts to drift, the door to temptation is wide open. The couple never sees it coming. They never thought it could happen to them. They all felt it was completely against their own morals, beliefs and values. See they never had a plan in place to prevent this from happening. So we want to encourage you, if you have not yet set up some boundaries to protect your marriage, please do so NOW! What rules and guidelines will prevent you from becoming drawn to someone else? Just saying, “It won’t happen to us,” is what countless others have said that later found themselves in this most miserable situation. Details could include allowing your spouse access to all emails, social media, cell phone records, financial accounts, etc. The more detailed you are, the greater likelihood of your success.