Two Great Resources to Strengthen Your Marriage
Most of you have seen, or at least heard of the movie the Vow featuring San Juan County’s own Kim and Krickitt Carpenter. While it is certainly entertaining I strongly encourage you to read their book by the same name. The movie is about a fictional couple who meet, marry, endure great tragedy and have to learn how to be a couple all over again. The book is the true story of two people who know the meaning of a vow and who had the courage and fortitude to carry it through amidst tremendous challenges and hardships.
Oh that more of our citizens would realize and appreciate the significance of a vow before they make one. I’ve heard of some couples who marry promising to stay together until “love do we part.” Well I’ve got news for you – marriage requires much more of a commitment than that to be successful and long lasting.
Every marriage will experience tension and times of unrest between the spouses. It’s normal and to be expected. Having made a vow which means something is a good protection to help you ride through those times until you get to a better place in your relationship.
So let me share with you this week two resources which can be of great help when you encounter difficult stretches and threats to your marital bliss. Michelle Wiener-Davis describes herself as a “guerilla Divorce Buster.” She is the author of Divorce Busting, a landmark book with a fairly simple message.
Ms Davis makes the case that most couples fall in love and decide to marry largely because they enjoy each other’s company. While first getting acquainted they do things together and have fun. They seem to click and decide they want to do this for the rest of their lives.
So they marry, get a place to live, have children and somehow in the midst of their busyness, they stop having fun together. Their marriage devolves to paying the bills and raising the kids. Who wants to do just that for a lifetime? So they begin to grow apart and prefer being away from each other rather than with each other as in the early, formative days of their relationship. Divorce is all-too-often the next step.
Published in 1993, Divorce Busting, has helped numerous couples reclaim the joy they once shared and the hope they kindled of a happy life together. Among the skills couples learn are:
– How to leave the past behind and set attainable goals;
– Strategies for identifying problem-solving behavior that works–and how to make changes last; and
– “Uncommon-sense” methods for breaking unproductive patterns.
Perhaps chief among the skills taught is the importance of having fun again. Ms Davis encourages her readers and clients to go back and do the things they did when they first fell in love and they will likely rediscover their love for, and enjoyment of, each other. That is, I might add, assuming that those activities were legal then and still are now.
I have often recommended this tactic to my clients and am a firm believer that it can have great benefit in turning around a marriage which has grown stale. Obviously some marriages will be in more severe circumstances and will require more intense intervention. But I strongly suggest you try the “have fun together like we used to” approach before you get to that point.
And that leads me to my second resource which is also a book written by Mrs. Davis. It’s called The Divorce Remedy and was published in 2001. The book is subtitled: The Proven 7-Step Program for Saving Your Marriage. While giving helpful information on how to strengthen a marriage, this book is also helpful once your spouse has decided he or she wants out of the marriage.
Mrs. Davis provides specific guidance on what to do, and what not to do, for the spouse who hopes to keep the marriage intact. It’s not always easy, but is usually worth the effort. This is especially true if children are involved for they are the ones most severely and negatively impacted by their parents’ divorce.
Do I believe divorce is sin and should never occur? Absolutely not! Do I believe divorce has become a far-too-easy option for couples in distress? As they say in Minnesota “ya, sure, ya betcha!” and as I’ve written many times over the years, this insanity just has to stop. People need to be better prepared before marriage and have more intestinal fortitude and knowledge to keep their marriage afloat through the turbulent seas they are bound to encounter. And the good news is that help is readily available to any and all who want to succeed in this most challenging human relationship.
Please know there is, or at least should not be, any shame in admitting if your marriage is not what you would like it to be. We have several counselors and coaches in the area who are ready, willing and able to help you get back on the right track.
Ron Price is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Four Corners Coalition for Marriage & Family, a 501-C-3 organization dedicated to strengthening and equipping marriages and families in the Four Corners Area. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 505 327-7870.