Five Factors for Contentment in Your Marriage
If two people are not solidly committed to each other, their marriage will sooner or later fall apart. Trust is the foundation of a good marriage, and trust begins with commitment. Each of you needs to know that your spouse is committed to you and your marriage. The traditional marriage vows say, “for better or worse; for richer or poorer; in sickness and in health; to love, to honor, and to cherish until death do us part.” This is true commitment. Tami and I have a commitment that we won’t even use the word divorce. We’re both totally committed to honesty, faithfulness, and a lifelong love.
Without communication, any team is in trouble. If both Tami and I know we need a gallon of milk from the local market, but we don’t talk about who will pick it up, then we risk having either two gallons of milk or no gallons of milk. It’s important that you communicate your thoughts, ideas, plans, and opinions on a regular basis. You also need to communicate your feelings – those joys and fears and frustrations in your heart. Author H. Norman Wright says that communication is the key to a understand each other and grow closer. When communications grows quiet, your relationship will turn cold, distant, and unsatisfying.
Without coordination, your marriage will face conflict and tension; you will find yourselves working against each other. Coordination means figuring out a way to work together that use both partners’ talents and abilities. It doesn’t mean competing with each other or letting one person do all the work. When your efforts are coordinated, life goes more smoothly and more is accomplished. Several months ago Tami and I redid the floor of our kitchen. We worked as a team—pulling up the old floor, laying down tile, and filling the spaces with mortar. Every time I look at our new floor, I am reminded of what our coordination accomplished. Those who coordinate their efforts can complete plays, finish projects, and create a camaraderie that knits hearts together.
Without consideration, feelings are hurt and your dreams slip through your fingers. A lack of consideration is selfishness, and selfish players undermine a team. True teammates show consideration for their partner’s feelings, interests, needs, desires, and preferences. Peter tells husbands to be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect…so that nothing will hinder your prayers (1 Peter 3:7, NIV). Lack of consideration blocks your wishes, while real consideration ultimately gives you what you want. This works for both husbands and wives. As I am considerate of and sensitive to Tami, she is considerate of and sensitive to me. In fact, what she gives back often far exceeds what I gave her in the first place. When we’re considerate with each other, our communication and coordination improve. And so does our marriage.
Without clarity of vision, a team has no goal or direction. The players wander aimlessly in circles or slip into that dreaded downward spiral. Dreams give us clarity. They energize us and motivate us and give us hope. Someone once said that if you aim at nothing, you’ll probably hit it. Don’t let this happen to you. Dream big and dream together. Plan for the future with excitement and anticipation. Robert F. Kennedy once said “Some men see things as they are and say, ‘Why?’ But I dream of things that never were and say, ‘Why not?’ A couple who is looking in the same direction can walk forward hand in hand with determination and satisfaction. We all need dreams, plus the passion and courage to pursue them. Tami and I have hundreds of dreams: dreams for our marriage, for our children, for our home and community; dreams of places to go, things to do, and memories to make; educational dreams, recreational dreams, and ministry dreams. All of these dreams pull us together as a team, giving our lives a greater purpose and meaning and clarity.
As you and you spouse build and strengthen each other with these five factors, you will find you are truly working together as a team. In doing so, you will also discover the: Commitment + Communication + Coordination + Consideration + Clarity = Contentment