This is speech number 2 "Organize Your Speech"
For Better of For Worse
This last Christmas my wife and I had the opportunity to watch a little bit of cable TV and we happened to watch an episode of “My Big Fat Fabulous Wedding”. This show is about engaged couples who are having extravagant and very expensive weddings. It is amazing how much is spent. $10k on the wedding dress. $20k for photographers. $200k for travel for all the guests, $30k on invitations, $15k on the wedding cake. These weddings end up costing more than a half a million. You would think with all the effort for one day, that the marriage would be a success.
Consider this, statistically half of these marriages shown will end in divorce.
So how can a marriage last? What can couples do to have a healthy and happy marriage? I would like to share with you three things that can be done in a marriage to cultivate a lasting and joy filled marriage.
The first thing a couple can do is to spend time together. Couples get busy. There are careers, organizations, hobbies, housework, kids and by the time a couple is able to get together the time is most likely spent watching TV. Couples need time together without distraction to have fun, to communicate, and to be with each other. What are some practical things couples can do, so that they spend time?
- Take a Walk – A good way to get away from the house and distractions and talk.
- Datenight – reserve a night weekly for each other and budget money a date night. Movies, restaurant, bike ride, or play board games
The second thing a couple can do to have a healthy marriage is to communicate. Communicating is probably one of the hardest things for any of us. That is why we are in Toastmasters. It is difficult to convey our wants and needs.. It is even more difficult to understand your spouses plans, feelings, or wants. Many are unwilling to take the time, effort, and energy to listen to their partner and try to understand their viewpoint. But it is essential. In order to communicate better some things to think about are
- Listening to the partner and give full attention. Ask questions to further understand.
- Couples also need to give constructive criticism to each other to help each other realize negative behaviors that bother the other.
- Of course when giving constructive criticism it is essential to also communicate the positives in the spouse.
• “Thank you for…”
• “I love it when you…”
• Leaving notes with affirming words. Sometime I leave a note on the steering wheel of my wifes car.
The third thing a couple can do to have a successful marriage is to stay committed. How many of you can remember you wedding vows? Did it have something similar to “for better or worse” or “till death do us part” What does these mean? Does it mean, until a husband and wife decide to change plans and if they conflict with the spouse then they can divorce? Does it mean, until there is no attraction to each other?
No, it means no matter how wrinkly, poor, sickly, and unattractive each partner becomes, marriage is for life. It means no matter how much plans change and no matter how difficult it is to communicate, you will be committed. Commitment means continuing to love each other no matter how each other feels and no matter what the other partner does. Each partner must stay committed and keep the vow made on the wedding day. My wife and I cling to our commitment in hard times and have made it a point to not even let the word divorce enter the equation.
For some marriages, the wedding day tends to be the best day of the marriage, and the rest of the marriage tends to get worse as time goes on. So I have explained some things couples can do to help have a successful marriage that will not deteriorate. Couples must spend time with each other. They must communicate and understand each other, and couples must be fully committed to love each other no matter what the circumstance.
Have a healthy and vibrant marriage is not simple and does not always seem to be as easy as the story book fairy tails. In time, however, the fruits of the couples labor will generate a joyful marriage. In the words of the social critic John Ruskin – “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.”