When the human body is unbalanced, we call it disease. This means the body is not functioning at optimal capacity. It may or may not result in pain, however an unbalanced human body creates stress on certain areas of the body as they are forced to pick up the slacks of other parts of the body. In some cases, some organs in the body start working twice as hard making the body unhealthy. Marriage is no different.
Marriage is healthy when couples work together to create an environment where they can both flourish and become all that God desires for them to be. The marriage becomes unhealthy when it is not able to create an environment to flourish like God intended. Unhealthy marriages create stress that forces the married individuals and in some cases children to pick up the slack. Just like some health issues may or may not cause pain the effect of an unhealthy marriage may or may not cause pain. However the effect of the stress creates pressure points that limits the marriage.
Marriages can be unhealthy for various reasons and while some may be obvious such as abuse, infidelity, oppression, anger and lack of respect to mention a few, others can be subtle such as loneliness and depression. Regardless of what state your marriage is, there is a part to building a healthy marriage. Here is a part to creating a healthy marriage based on a classroom lecture with Dr. Tony Wheeler
Step 1 Awareness: This is the first step in being intentional about developing a healthy marriage. You have to be aware of what’s going on in your marriage which often stars with being aware of what’s going on with you. Self-awareness is critical to building a healthy marriage because if you are not aware of what’s going on in your life and marriage; you will not have the information to impact a desired change. In others words, if you are not aware of what’s going on in your marriage, you will be reacting to the bye products at best. Awareness helps you switch gear from reactive state to proactive state. For examples, your spouse opens up to her siblings more than she opens up to you which upsets you. Reality is that she doesn’t mind opening up to you, in fact she desires to however when she opened up in the past you were critical of her and used the information against her in other conversations. You see a guarded wife, your wife feels she can’t trust you with her information which is why she is guarded.
Step 2 Health: Now that you are aware, you have enough information to make a choice. The ability for you to make a choice based on your awareness is the second step in being intentional about developing a healthy marriage. In other words you now have the option to make a choice that can impact the health of your marriage consciously.
You see when the body is healthy, it will naturally grow. When your marriage is healthy, it will naturally grow. Focusing on happiness, romance, passion and excitement is good however focusing on them alone will not grow your marriage because they are a bye product of a healthy marriage and not the factors that grow marriages. A primary factor to grow your marriage is “desire”. The day you lose your desire to grow your marriage is when the marriage starts to die (Read more about growth “navigating the early years of marriage” and “reasons why marriages struggle”). Your focus should be the health of your marriage. Signs of a healthy marriage is adding value to each other and flourishing. When your desire is to constantly look for ways to add value to your spouse, children and society, your marriage is healthy and thriving. Understand that marriage is simply a tool to advance God’s kingdom on earth. Adding value is a way to expand God’s kingdom on earth.
A disease in its simplest form is designed to alter the normal condition of the human body making the body unhealthy. When a marriage is unhealthy, it alters the normal functioning of the marriage which hinders growth.
Step 3 Sustainability: This is a crucial part in maintain a healthy marriage. It is not what you do once, twice or three times but something you do daily. You have to be able to sustain the health of your marriage through your daily decisions. This is where you need the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit. “Sustainability is the key to our survival on this planet and will also determine success on all levels” Shari Arison
As always, marriage is a journey and not a destination. The bible is the blue print while the Holy Spirit is your guide.