We are no marriage experts, we cannot boast of many years of “experience” as a married couple, but in these three years of marriage, one of the things we have learnt is that marriage brings out the best in you, as well as, you like it or not, the worst in you! A few months before we got married, we attended a marriage seminar where we were shown a video called “A tale of two brains” by Mark Gungor. It is a very precise, descriptive, mind opener to the workings of the female and the male brain. It is very clear! Men and women are wired differently. We have different interests, we act different, we communicate different, we think different. However, we love the same. Very many times we face conflicts in our marriage not because it’s a “heart” thing but because of intellectual clashes or more precisely because it’s a “head” thing.
We were so fortunate we learnt these truths early on, and so when we got married we understood each other better – Why does he always answer “I’m not thinking about anything” when quite clearly he looks like he’s in a pensive mood (man’s brain), or “how are these two things even connected”? (woman’s brain) were questions we had answers to. But here’s the thing – as different as we are, we cannot imagine life without each other. God is amazing and His plan for marriage can be a fun, enjoyable reality in our lives, contrary to what we see on TV and movies ever so often. Marriage is like a plant. The more we nurture the plant, the more it grows into something beautiful and is admired. The less we nurture it, it looks lifeless and before we know it – it’s dead.
Here are some ways that we nurture our marriage:
Knowing our love language – We all have specific ways we respond to situations and being aware of it helped both of us. We took a simple test to know our “love language”. In the book “Five love languages” by Gary Chapman, he talks about words of appreciation, acts of service, physical touch, gifts and quality time as being love languages that each individual responds best to. Once we knew each other’s preferred love language we could communicate to each other better by using more of that language. Needless to say, a new found romance and understanding in our marriage grew once we were able to talk to each other in each others’ love language.
You can take a simple test online to find out what your love language is at http://www.5lovelanguages.com/
Listening – From the time we were born, we’ve been in a learning process. Our parents have taught us to talk, to spell, to write, but, no one has ever taught us to LISTEN. People are more generous with their tongue and less with their ears. In the busy-ness of the day we tend to overlook the need to be a sounding box to our colleagues, friends and most importantly- our spouse. We are so tuned to talking and making sure our voice is heard, we hardly ever give time to listen – truly listen with 100% focus on our spouse and 0% distraction (even though Masterchef is on, or that exciting India – Aus cricket match). Lending a listening ear is something that we have espoused. Every night before going to bed we take time out to listen to each other over a hot drink. Sometimes random talk prevails, but that’s OK – that’s our time to just listen to each other and enjoy each other’s company.
Forgiveness – In the Bible, husbands are instructed to love their wives and he instructed women to submit to their husbands. In God’s divine sense of humour, he knew exactly what a man struggles with and what a woman struggles with and that’s exactly what we have been told to do. I found myself struggling to forgive my husband when he had wronged me. Many things would come in the way of my forgiving him – my pride, my attitude, my mind set. However, when I understood the extent of forgiveness I myself had received from God, it made it simpler. God loved us without any conditions – errant as I was, yet I was forgiven. I was suddenly able to forgive easier and “sorry” would be uttered spontaneously! We regularly pray that we would be able to love each other more from the outpouring of the love that God loves us with. We have come to the recognition that with our own strength it is so easy to fall, but when God gives us the strength there is no looking back and the adventure is on.