example of the great marriage articles you'll find on Growthtrac.
12 Marriage Killers
By Dr. James Dobson
My advice to young couples is simply this: Don't permit the possibility
of divorce to enter your thinking. Even in moments of great conflict and
discouragement, divorce is no solution. It merely substitutes a new set
of miseries for the ones left behind.
Guard your relationship against erosion as though you were defending your
very lives. Yes, you can make it together. Not only can you survive, but
you can keep your love alive if you give it priority in your system of values.
Any one of the following evils can rip your relationship to shreds if given
a place in your lives:
1. Overcommitment and physical exhaustion
Beware of this danger. It is especially insidious for young couples who
are trying to get started in a profession or in school. Do not try to go
to college, work full-time, have a baby, manage a toddler, fix up a house,
and start a business at the same time. It sounds ridiculous, but many young
couples do just that and are then surprised when their marriage falls apart.
Why wouldn't it? The only time they see each other is when they are worn
out! It is especially dangerous to have the husband vastly overcommitted
and the wife staying home with a preschooler. Her profound loneliness builds
discontent and depression, and we all know where that leads. You must reserve
time for one another if you want to keep your love alive.
2. Excessive credit and conflict over how money will be spent.
Pay cash for consumable items, or don't buy. Don't spend more for a house
or car than you can afford, leaving too few resources for dating, short
trips, baby-sitters, etc. Allocate your funds with the wisdom of Solomon.
There are two kinds of people in the world, the givers and the takers. A
marriage between two givers can be a beautiful thing. Friction is the order
of the day, however, for a giver and a taker. But two takers can claw each
other to pieces within a period of six weeks. In short, selfishness will
devastate a marriage every time.
4. Interference from in-laws
If either the husband or wife has not been fully emancipated from the parents,
it is best not to live near them. Autonomy is difficult for some mothers
(and fathers) to grant, and close proximity is built for trouble.
5. Unrealistic expectations
Some couples come into marriage anticipating rose-covered cottages, walks
down primrose lanes, and uninterrupted joy. Counselor Jean Lush believes,
and I agree, that this romantic illusion is particularly characteristic
of American women who expect more from their husbands than they are capable
of delivering. The consequent disappointment is an emotional trap. Bring
your expectations in line with reality.
6. Space invaders
I am not referring to aliens from Mars. Rather, my concern is for those
who violate the breathing room needed by their partners, quickly suffocating
them and destroying the attraction between them. Jealousy is one way this
phenomenon manifests itself. Another is low self-esteem, which leads the
insecure spouse to trample the territory of the other. Love must be free
and it must be confident.
7. Alcohol or substance abuse
These are killers, not only of marriages, but also of people. Avoid them
like the plague.
8. Pornography, gambling and other addictions
It should be obvious to everyone that the human personality is flawed. It
has a tendency to get hooked on destructive behaviors, especially early
in life. During an introductory stage, people think they can play with enticements
such as pornography or gambling and not get hurt. Indeed, many do walk away
unaffected. For some, however, there is a weakness and a vulnerability that
is unknown until too late. Then they become addicted to something that tears
at the fabric of the family.
This warning may seem foolish and even prudish to my readers, but I've made
a 25-year study of those who wreck their lives. Their problems often begin
in experimentation with a known evil and ultimately end in death — or the
death of a marriage. The restrictions and commandments of Scriptures were
designed to protect us from evil, though it is difficult to believe when
we are young. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). If we keep our
lives clean and do not permit ourselves to toy with evil, the addictions
that have ravaged humanity can never touch us.
9. Sexual frustration, loneliness, low self-esteem, and the greener
grass of infidelity.
A deadly combination!
10. Business failure
It does bad things to men, especially. Their agitation over financial reverses
sometimes sublimates to anger within the family.
11. Business success
It is almost as risky to succeed wildly as it is to fail miserably in business.
The writer of Proverbs said, "Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give
me only my daily bread" (30:8).
12. Getting married too young
Girls who marry between 14 and 17 years of age are more than twice as likely
to divorce as those who marry at 18 or 19 years of age. Those who marry
at 18 or 19 are 1.5 times as likely to divorce as those who marry in their
20s. The pressures of adolescence and the stresses of early married life
do not mix well. Finish the first before taking on the second.
These are the marriage killers I've seen most often. But in truth, the list
is virtually limitless. All that is needed to grow the most vigorous weeds
is a small crack in your sidewalk. If you are going to beat the odds and
maintain an intimate long-term marriage, you must take the task seriously.
The natural order of things will carry you away from one another, not bring
How will you beat the odds? How will you build a solid relationship that
will last until death takes you across the great divide? How will you include
yourselves among that dwindling number of older couples who have garnered
a lifetime of happy memories and experiences? Even after 50 or 60 years,
they still look to one another for encouragement and understanding. Their
children have grown up in a stable and loving environment and have no ugly
scars or bitter memories to erase. Their grandchildren need not be told,
delicately, why "Nana and Papa don't live together anymore." Only love prevails.
That is the way God intended it to be, and it is still possible for you
to achieve. But there is no time to lose. Reinforce the river banks. Brace
up the bulwarks. Bring in the dredges and deepen the bed. Keep the powerful
currents in their proper channels. Only that measure of determination will
preserve the love with which you began, and there is very little in life
that competes with that priority.
Dr. James Dobson is founder and president of Focus on the Family. Used with
Buy index cards. Individually write out your high-points and low points for the week. Take time to share and pray over the items on your cards. This is a great weekly discipline to build spiritual intimacy.
When do you feel closest to God?
When do you feel the farthest from God?
What can I pray about for you? What can we pray about together?
What are the spiritual next steps in your marriage? Church? Small Group? Talk about it.
I don't know whether [Jesus] is a sinner... but I know this: I was blind, and
now I can see! John 9:25
Sometimes we think that sharing God's message is difficult. But like the man healed
from blindness, all you need to do is tell people what Jesus has done for you.
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