Couple’s Strengths.

In the PREPARE/ENRICH training, Dr. Olson discusses “couple’s strengths.” There are a number of theories/ideas about what constitutes a couple’s strength(s). Some texts recommend that couples should be similar so that they have their likenesses to lean on in stressful times. Others contend that couple differences diminish the weaknesses of the other spouse. How do you approach this idea? Is there evidence in Scripture that supports your position?

Opposites do attract, but without commitment, the attraction can become a fatal and destructive one.[1] Hawkins posits that “Husbands and wives who recognize they are on the same team, striving for the success of their marriage, make an unbeatable combination.”[2] Intentionality within a team where opposites and differences in personality exist does not hinder the team from accomplishing its intended goal. Each member of the team intentionally develops the understanding that “togetherness” requires thoughtful, intentional efforts of understanding the other person’s differences thus resulting in understanding their needs.[3] Hawkins discusses the creation of Adam and Eve and the mere fact that God created each of them with different or “unique” strengths and attributes. [4] Each person brought the team their unique strengths and attributes without which humanity would have been impoverished and with which humanity was significantly enriched to serve as a fuller revelation of God’s image.  It appears that Hawkins is suggesting that God created the differences; therefore, are these differences also considered opposites? Hawkins suggests that the antagonism that developed between the differences/opposites in personalities occurred after the fall of man.[5] Therefore, the enemy has made differences a challenge rather than an enhancement between couples. These personality differences complement pairs rather than separate them or create friction.

Personality types indicate the opposites attract conundrum more than anything else.  Moreover, an introvert and an extrovert are attracted to each other – they complement each other and are helpmates in social gatherings and bring balance to the relationship.[6] Deuteronomy 24:5 demonstrates God’s desire for men to stay at home with their new wives to “cheer” them up! Could this be an example of an extroverted husband going off to war to leave his young introverted wife at home alone and with people whom she did not know? Although opposites do attract, the attraction does not have to result in a disastrous relationship.  Ephesians 5:25 directs husbands to love their wives in the same manner that Christ loves the church.  Hawkins proposes that companionship, not an automatic thing that occurs in marriages where opposites are intermingled-it takes commitment.[7]

The book Song of Solomon provides us with graphics pictures of how each person in the relationship describes the concept of love and their love for each other.  However, the bond was strong and heartfelt; the dominant character in this book is “the beloved.” The Shulamite expressed with poetic beauty the intensity of her love and commitment for her “beloved” even though they appear to be social opposites.[8]  1 Samuel 25:2-42 speaks of biblical opposites. Nabal, Abigail, and David. Nabal was brutish, displayed no social graces and demonstrated an attitude of ungratefulness. Abigail signified a woman of compassion, generosity and quick witnesses. In this instance, David was determined to require vengeance after being rejected by Nabal even though he protected Nabal’s property.  Three separate personalities met during the perfect storm of Nabal’s unthankfulness.  Abigail’s quick witness prevented David from committing an atrocity that God would have handled.  David, on the other hand, was attracted to her because she was wise and committed to her relationship with her husband.

Notes

  • [1] Dr. Olson states that although opposites do attract “They will need to remember to work with their differences rather than attempting to change or criticize the other person. It is helpful to look at the positives, even in very diverse approaches to the same issue.“ PREPARE/ENRICH, Facilitator’s Manual: Social, 71, PDF, Roseville: PREPARE/ENRICH, October 25, 2015;  I Corinthians 13:4-7 (KJV) declares “4 Love is patient, love is kind. . . . . It does not dishonor; it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” This scripture suggests that love will encounter differences, but it also offers suggestions that enable couples to maintain relationships with individuals who are one’s opposite.
  • [2] Ronald E. Hawkins, Strengthening Marital Intimacy (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1991, Vital Source), 13.

[3] Ibid., 123.

[4] Ibid., 15

[5] Ibid., 15; Gen. 2:18.

[6] Ibid., 80; 124-126.

[7] Ibid., 132 “Attraction must culminate in exclusive commitment to the other individual if intimacy is to be achieved.”

[8] Song of Sol. 8:13-14. He is outside socializing with his friends while he is at home waiting for him.  However, she does not resent his absence. She declares her need for him and demands a commitment to their time together.

Bibliography

Hawkins, Ronald E. Strengthening Marital Intimacy. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1991.

PREPARE/ENRICH. Facilitator’s Manual: Social, 71. PDF. Roseville: PREPARE/ENRICH, October 25, 2015.

HOW TO PRIORITIZE TIME FOR YOUR MARRIAGE By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

 

One of the biggest misbeliefs of time is that you can “find” it. We talk about time as if it’s hidden in the rubble of our attic, or high up on a shelf waiting to be dusted off. Truth is, we will never find time, but we can certainly make it.

We can make time when we decide what matters to us most is a priority. Saying something is a priority and actually making it a priority are two very different things. You may say that your marriage comes first, but that doesn’t matter if you devote your time to something lower on your list.

Today, we want to share some tips on how to get your marriage back on course and to the top of your priority list; by making more time.

DO THE RIGHT THING

Consider what’s right for your relationship. What are specific activities you enjoy doing together? Does your marriage suffer when you don’t make time to do these things? For us, it’s having date nights. But let’s face it, getting all the stars to align for the “right” thing can be tough.

Date nights can be complicated for couples; babysitters, budget, schedules. You may have lots of reasons to neglect what’s right for your relationship. The important thing to remember is it doesn’t have to be perfect. Even if that means getting out the door for only an hour or two. Focus on doing the right thing, then you can work on doing things right as time moves on.

MAKE A LIST

We all have to-do lists a mile long. Even if we have a clone, those to-do lists would rarely get done. We need to accept this fact, and prioritize things. The same goes for our marriage as well. Here’s a tip: make a to-do list for your marriage. What matters most today in the time you have with your spouse? Prioritize it.

Start with “If I do nothing else today for my marriage, I will….” Then complete it. Here are some ideas. If I do nothing else today for my marriage, I will take a walk with my spouse…make my partner a nice dinner…sit and have a productive conversation. You get the idea. Make your marriage a priority, and complete the item(s) you want to get done the most.

WHAT TO LEAVE UNDONE

If you want to make more time to spend together, then you have to decide what to leave undone. What eats up time during your day? Can you cut back on any activities? Perhaps cutting back on golf once a week, or saying no to the birthday party of an acquaintance. Make a list of time consuming activities that you can give up so you have more time for your marriage. Say no tactfully but firmly to the things that can rob you of your time together. Knowing what to leave undone might just be the best move you’ve ever made.

MARGIN IN THE UNEXPECTED

When you are booked solid with activities, there’s no room for the unexpected. And if there’s one thing we can always expect, it’s the unexpected. Traffic jams, a misunderstanding, or a miscalculation of time, can be major culprits. Allow for extra time that will keep you from feeling frazzled. If you need to get up by 7:00, then get up by 6:30. If you need the babysitter to arrive by 5:30, schedule them for 5:00. These simple margins will help reduce the mayhem, and make more time for your marriage.

The key in a marriage is to make it a top priority, and this means making the time for it. Remember, what we say and what we do are two different things. Make your marriage the best you can by carving out the time it deserves.

Check out Your Time Starved Marriage to learn more.

Do you have any tips you can share on making time for a marriage? We’d love to hear what works for you!

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