When Your Marriage is Sunny

When Your Marriage is Sunny

Learning more about each other while working towards #couplegoals

By Focus on the Family Singapore | 22 January 2020

Do you know what weather your marriage is in? Take the quiz to be equipped with practical steps to keep your marriage growing and thriving.

 

It’s hot. You’re sweaty. But it’s fun because your days are packed with activities.

Differences still exist, but there is a deeper understanding of each other’s needs, wants, and temperaments. That feeling of fulfilment is not dampened even when things are not perfect.

You may not have met all your #couplegoals and are still working through the daily grind, but you and your spouse share a deeper connection.

When misunderstandings occur, they are less likely to side-track you both. You and your spouse take on challenges with new ease. There’s little second guessing about each other’s actions or motives – you are stronger and more stable as a unit.

You are satisfied and secure in your spouse’s love.

The stresses of a Sunny marriage

In hot and humid weather, flowers and fruits flourish; so do less pleasant things like mould and bacteria! Is there hidden mould in any corner of your marriage? Or are there any areas in each of your lives that exposes the marriage to bacterial growth?

Your past experiences and upbringing may affect your capacity to give wholly in the marriage. Or there may be a deep-seated issue threatening the trust in your marriage. An addiction, perhaps? Or a certain friendship with unclear boundaries that you have been turning to for comfort and acceptance?

Let your marriage be the safe space for you and your spouse to be most vulnerable and speak honestly. Choose to work through the matters that are hard to talk about.

Seek out other married couples or mentors for counsel and support. On your own, the problems may seem insurmountable, but in the company of like-minded friends, you may gain new perspectives and encouragement to keep going in your marriage.

The sun is out! You want to enjoy what we you can do in this weather, so let’s work hard at enjoying each other more.

Making the best of a Sunny marriage

For the husband

  • What can you do in this weather?
    • Keep up the romantic gestures and break out of daily routines to surprise her. Be attentive to your wife’s needs as your lover, not just a great friend.
    • Compliment her, making her feel attractive and good about herself. Find ways to fill her love tank so that she is not running on empty.
    • Make time and initiate constructive ways to work through issues that have come up.


  • Things to watch out for:
    • Avoid treating your wife like a great housemate (or, if you are parents, as just the mother of your children)!
    • Pay attention to your personal grooming. Just because you are really comfortable with your wife doesn’t mean that your physical appearance shouldn’t matter anymore. She still wants to be attracted to you!
    • Enjoy intimacy with your wife. It is about sex, and much more. Emotional intimacy is important to a marriage’s longevity.


For the wife

  • What can you do in this weather?
    • Encourage your husband to find a few good guy friends to confide in. While it is easier for women to share openly with their girlfriends, husbands may not have such close male friendships.
    • Maintain intimacy in your marriage. Communicate your expectations and be proactive in meeting his needs as well.
    • Take every opportunity to keep up with date nights, and make it special. Couple time is scarce in this weather, so be intentional to schedule it—and keep to it, even if it is shorter than what you both prefer.


  • Things to watch out for:
    • Do not seethe over bothersome issues. Choose honest and respectful conversations with your husband instead.
    • Criticism is toxic in any marriage. Many men may just “shut down and tune out” when they feel disrespected.
    • Beware of unhealthy communication habits, like expecting your husband to know what you are thinking. You may be growing in togetherness, but he is not telepathic; you still need to verbalise what’s in your heart.


Couple conversations in this weather

  • What brings you most joy in our marriage?
  • What is one thing you would like me to do regularly to show how much I appreciate you?
  • How can we grow the physical and emotional intimacy in our marriage?

A thriving marriage in every weather

Marriage is hard work, but worth it.

Every bride and groom enters into their union with a promise to have and to hold, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death do they part.

When the marriage hits a rough patch, consider how you can live out your vows. As someone once said: It is not love that sustains the marriage, but marriage that sustains the love.

“I didn’t marry you because you were perfect… I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And that promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married, and it was the promise that made the marriage. And when our children were growing up, it wasn’t a house that protected them; and it wasn’t our love that protected them; it was the promise.” – Thornton Wilder

There can be beauty and growth in each weather your marriage is in. So, hold tight to the good, work hard at the difficult, and commit to journey through life together.

No matter what weather your marriage is in, you can make your relationship with your spouse the best that it can be.

© 2021 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.

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When Your Marriage is Stormy

When Your Marriage is Stormy

Can hope be rekindled when it has died?

By Focus on the Family Singapore | 22 January 2020

Do you know what weather your marriage is in? Take the quiz to be equipped with practical steps to keep your marriage growing and thriving.

 

The thunderstorm is raging, with ominous thunder and wild winds. In this weather, you feel like it is time to call it quits.

The warmth of the sun is no longer present – your words, your actions are cold and harsh. You look around your home and marriage, and feel like everything has been in vain. There’s no trace of love or positive things to show for the years you put in.

Your conversations are functional at best. Your interactions are equally distant. Perhaps you both feel that it is better to spend less time together because that means less likelihood for conflict.

Separate beds, zero intimacy – each with your own lives despite living under the same roof.

Some settle for marriage as a living arrangement for the children’s benefit; as soon as the children are independent, they want to go their separate ways.

Your marriage may unexpectedly enter into Stormy weather with the discovery of infidelity or it may gradually drift into it from prolonged periods of negligence and inaction.

Yet what is more important than the current circumstances is how couples choose to respond.

Gary Chapman has this to say: “All couples face difficulties, and all couples have differences. These differences may centre on money, in-laws, religion, or any other area of life. Couples who fail to negotiate these differences will find themselves in [a place] created not by the difficulties of life but by the manner in which a couple responds to those difficulties. When one or both marriage partners insist on ‘my way or not at all’, they are moving their marriage toward [a cold, harsh, and bitter marriage].”1

In a Stormy marriage, problems seem big and solutions appear far away. You are hurt, lonely and discouraged. There are regrets and you’ve replayed many “if only” scenarios in your mind. You yearn for a marriage in better weather, but it feels like it’s not going to come.

The hope in a Stormy marriage

Can hope be restored in this storm?

Desperation can bring out tenacity, which we didn’t know existed in us before—a desperation that drives us to fight for our marriage.

It takes only one party to put the marriage into Stormy weather, but it will take both to move out of it.

Be open to seek professional help from a marriage counsellor or family therapist. Do not isolate yourself from friends and other married couples; your community and support system are crucial for you and your spouse to walk out of this rough storm.

Remember, the weather can change. The storm is here, but it doesn’t have to last forever. You can make a change.

Making the best of a Stormy marriage

For the husband

  • What can you do in this weather?
    • If the relationship is so tense that you are no longer speaking to your wife, write down your thoughts on how you want the marriage to improve and pass it to her. Communication is key in rekindling your marriage.
    • Taking proactive steps to show love and appreciation to your wife may not feel so natural right now, but persisting in it can soften her heart and cause her to be tender towards you again.
    • Listen attentively and engage her through eye contact when she is speaking to you. You may not be ready to respond, but choosing to stay and listen shows her that you still care for her.
    • Find a male mentor or coach whom you can confide in and take advice from.


  • Things to watch out for:
    • Draw clear boundaries so that you don’t try to find intimacy in other friendships. This would only complicate the issues that you and your wife have to work through.
    • Avoid replaying the blunders in your mind and rehashing pain from the past. It can become a vicious cycle, making it harder for you to forgive and move on.
    • Habits can be hard to break. Don’t go back to old ways of dealing with conflict, but consciously choose healthier patterns of communication, even if it feels counter-intuitive.
    • It may feel easier to focus on your wife’s faults than perceive the good things in her right now. Be intentional to write down what you are thankful for about her.


For the wife

  • What can you do in this weather?
    • Take care of your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing, and guard yourself against the downward spiral of rumination or despair.
    • Taking proactive steps to show love and appreciation to your husband may not feel so natural right now, but persisting in it can soften his heart and cause him to be tender towards you again.
    • Spend time recalling and noting down the better days in the marriage. How was it like? What did he do that you loved? Share these memories with your husband.
    • Surround yourself with friends and family members who will support and encourage you in restoring your marriage.


  • Things to watch out for:
    • Protect your heart and mind, so that you don’t try to find love and acceptance elsewhere. This only drives you further away from your husband.
    • Be careful not to put down your husband in front of your family or friends, whether within earshot or not.
    • Habits can be hard to break. Don’t go back to old ways of dealing with conflict, but consciously choose healthier patterns of communication, even if it feels counter-intuitive.
    • It may feel easier to focus on your husband’s faults than perceive the good things in him right now. Be intentional to write down what you are thankful for about him.


Couple conversations in this weather

  • What were the dreams and goals we had for our marriage?
  • How have I hurt you the most in our relationship? How can I make amends in ways that would meaningful to you?
  • What does it mean for us to “forgive and forget”? How can work on our marriage together to move forward together?
  • What are some things we can do for each other that would give each other hope and motivation for a better marriage?

A thriving marriage in every weather

Every bride and groom enters into their union with a promise to have and to hold, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death do they part.

When all hope seems to be gone, take a moment to consider your marriage vows. As someone once said: It is not love that sustains the marriage, but marriage that sustains the love.

“I didn’t marry you because you were perfect… I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And that promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married, and it was the promise that made the marriage. And when our children were growing up, it wasn’t a house that protected them; and it wasn’t our love that protected them; it was the promise.” – Thornton Wilder

There can be beauty and growth in each weather your marriage is in. So, hold tight to the good, work hard at the difficult, and commit to journey through life together.

No matter what weather your marriage is in, you can make your relationship with your spouse the best that it can be.

Your marriage can survive this weather, and thrive.

© 2021 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.

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When Your Marriage is Overcast

When Your Marriage is Overcast

When cracks become chasms in marriage

By Focus on the Family Singapore | 22 January 2020

Do you know what weather your marriage is in? Take the quiz to be equipped with practical steps to keep your marriage growing and thriving.

 

Faced with gloomy skies, a person’s energy level drop and there can be worry about what those dark clouds can bring. Things can feel bleak when your marriage is in this weather.

On the surface, everything is “business as usual”; some may even say how good your marriage seems! But you know that something’s not right in your relationship.

Cracks in the marriage have widened into chasms. It could be that disagreements have peaked and can now break your marriage. Healthy communication may have come to a standstill, and you are in the quicksand of resentment or disappointment.

Neglect is the key contributor for marriages moving into Overcast weather. Perhaps you both went on autopilot – life was busy and you were occupied with different things. There have been little quality and quantity time with each other, much less time to work through disagreements or unhappiness.

Couples in this weather face one major decision: do we avoid the issues and let our marriage wither away? Or do we choose to have the crucial difficult conversations, dig deeper to remember our “first love”, and commit to move out of this stalemate together?

Think of it as the ultimatum. There’s just no waiting around, hoping the weather will turn for the better by itself.

The hope in an Overcast marriage

A wife who feels unloved and unappreciated will feel rejected. A husband who doesn’t have his wife’s trust and respect will withdraw and disengage.

What are some things that have undermined mutual love and respect in your marriage?

If negligence drove your marriage to the edge, then making intentional decisions to nurture your marriage is necessary to turn it around.

Are you too busy? Decisively cut out inessential social activities, commitments, or time-draining hobbies to make time for each other.

If you feel that your relationship lacks fun and excitement, find common activities that both of you can enjoy. Or you can take turns to do what each other likes. This shows your spouse that you want to enter into their world and it can also help you better understand and appreciate what they are like.

Pick up a marriage resource or attend a marriage enrichment programme to communicate better.

Start small, but start somewhere.

This is also where plugging into a healthy and strong community that supports your marriage is important and necessary. Is there a trusted couple you both are comfortable sharing your marital struggles with? Arrange to meet up, and invite them to journey with you and your spouse out of this weather.

Overcast skies are here. But keep calm and start doing things differently, because all is not lost; there is hope for a turnaround.

Making the best of an Overcast marriage

For the husband

  • What can you do in this weather?
    • Conserve your energy (and word bank) for your wife, especially if you are a man of few words. Make effort to have conversation with her every day.
    • Look out for the little things and let her know that you noticed them. Maybe she had a haircut or added a new ornament to the house; acknowledge them and compliment her.
    • Learn new communication strategies to connect with her healthily.


  • Things to watch out for:
    • Guard your heart. When you feel distant from your wife, it is easy to be drawn to other friendships where you feel understood and accepted or activities that take your mind off things or energise you.
    • Do not look for quick fixes to your problems. In the same way that your marriage did not hit this rut overnight, it will take time and intentional effort for you both to walk out of it.
    • “Cave time” may be necessary for you to recharge, but don’t retreat to it whenever things get tense. That can come off as stonewalling to your wife. Your presence speaks volumes of your commitment to her in the marriage—through thick and thin.


For the wife

  • What can you do in this weather?
    • Be quick to apologise if you are at fault, and be ready to forgive (and forget) when he apologises for his faults.
    • Notice the small acts of service he does for you, your family, or in the home. Express gratitude, and tell him that it matters to you.
    • Initiate intimacy with your husband and let him know that he is still attractive and desirable.


  • Things to watch out for:
    • Avoid slipping into the blame game and always making it “his problem”. Your husband will naturally become defensive and may choose to disengage.
    • Do not compare your marriage with “better” marriages you see around you or on social media, or let your mind wander with the “what ifs”.
    • Eliminate negative talk – which could come as criticism, sarcasm, or ridicule. Speak kindly, even when you are upset, so that he will be encouraged to communicate with you.


Couple conversations in this weather

  • When were the best years of our marriage, and why?
  • What bothers you most about the current state of our marriage?
  • What is one thing that you would like me to do to make you feel appreciated and loved?

A thriving marriage in every weather

This is a difficult weather for you and your spouse to be in. Hold on to each other because there can be a turnaround in your marriage.

Every bride and groom enters into their union with a promise to have and to hold, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death do they part.

When the marriage hits a rough patch, or when you and your spouse no longer enjoy each other, consider how you can live out your vows. As someone once said: It is not love that sustains the marriage, but marriage that sustains the love.

“I didn’t marry you because you were perfect… I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And that promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married, and it was the promise that made the marriage. And when our children were growing up, it wasn’t a house that protected them; and it wasn’t our love that protected them; it was the promise.” – Thornton Wilder

There can be beauty and growth in each weather your marriage is in. So, hold tight to the good, work hard at the difficult, and commit to journey through life together.

No matter what weather your marriage is in, you can make your relationship with your spouse the best that it can be.

© 2021 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.

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