Just Act Married

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Just Act Married


Be Considerate of the Individual

Common sense tells us that behaving in a polite and considerate way towards others will lead to better relationships.

It takes effort to be polite. Rude and demanding customers, co-workers, clients and neighbors can often try our patience. However, regardless of what another person is saying, we can still be polite. What is required is self control.

Being considerate, on the other hand, requires an understanding of the other person. To have a healthy relationship, we must consider the other person's needs. When speaking of temperaments, this means that we consider how the other person "needs" to be treated. His or her communication style and decision making process may be very different from our own. Working with everyone "Our Way", instead of "Their Way", will probably be the "Wrong Way" about 75% of the time.

Though we might be polite, insisting on treating someone in a way that is contrary to their temperament will still cause stress in a relationship. Constantly rushing a Paced person at the last minute or always hovering over a Direct person will put strain on your relationship. "Temperamently" speaking, we are being rude when we go against a person's "Point of View".

Each individual has his or her own unique temperament and we must recognize the fact that how we work effectively with one person might be very different from how we work effectively with another person. A detailed, written report may be exactly what Mr. Smith is looking for, but that same report may sit on Ms. Jones' desk for weeks before she looks at it. To be most successful in our relationships, we need to deal with people on a "case by case" basis.

Things to consider:
  1. What is his or her High Trait?

  2. What is the Focus of his or her High Trait?

  3. What style of communication does he or she prefer?

  4. How can you support his or her High Trait?

  5. How should you behave toward him or her?

If you are not sure how to best work with a certain person, get some advice ... ask someone that has a similar Profile. Structured people know exactly how other Structured people would like to be treated, the Extroverts know about Extroverts, etc.

A key to a successful relationship is our going beyond just being polite and truly being considerate of the other person.

http://tinyurl.com/yabjrwwWives and Husbands need to be considerate to each other
1 Peter 3:1-11

1 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 
2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 

What do you think it means for a wife to be submissive to her husband? How would our behavior influence an unbelieving spouse?

When we are married, we no longer can consider only our own feelings and wants. We must consider those of our spouse. In these verses wives are encouraged to submit to their husbands. In the example that Peter gives of unbelieving husbands, the wife’s behavior is given as a cause for the spouse to be won over to the Lord. When the husband sees the purity and reverence of his wife’s actions, it makes him realize that God is true. I have seen this actually happen many times when the actions of a Christian wife or husband have led to the partner turning their life over to God. I have also seen examples where a spouse has been so un-Christlike in their actions that their family wants nothing to do with God. 

3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward-- arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel-- 

4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 

Do these verses tell us that woman should not wear make-up, fix their hair, or wear jewelry and fine clothes? What is true beauty in God’s sight? 

Peter says a woman’s beauty should not be the surface beauty of outward appearances but the inward beauty of a Godly life. We Americans are obsessed with our appearance. I read about one woman who has had 27 different cosmetic surgeries trying to achieve the "perfect" look. I don’t think there is anything wrong with trying to look our best. And I don’t think Peter is necessarily teaching against wearing make-up, fixing the hair, wearing jewelry and fine clothes. But his point is that these are not the important things. The important things are what’s on the inside of a person. Let us spend our time working on our inner self.

5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 

6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror. 

Should wives be treated like slaves? What does verse 6 tell us wives should do? What do we need to change in the way we treat our spouse?

God created man and woman to be equals – to help each other. A wife should not be treated as a slave. Notice that verse 6 says the wife should do what is right, and not be in fear. A wife should be treated in such a way that she is not afraid of her husband. But on the other hand a wife should not try to be the one in charge in the marriage relationship either. Husbands and wives need to be sensitive to the needs of each other. More than anything else husbands wish to be respected and wives wish to be loved. Let us learn to treat each other the way God wants us to, and we will find our marriage is much happier.

7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. 

How are husbands to treat their wives? Why? What will happen if we don’t treat our marriage partner with respect? Have their been times when family conflicts have hindered your prayers?

Husbands are given instruction to be considerate of their wives. Every decision in a family needs to be from consideration of the feelings of others. I don’t believe that marriages where one spouse makes all the decisions are healthy at all. There needs to be give and take in any family relationship. A husband needs to treat his wife as though she were the weaker partner. But notice Peter tells us that we are both heirs of God’s gift. Husbands are not superior to their wives. In fact, if husbands don’t treat their wives with love and consideration, Peter says our prayers can be hindered. Have you ever noticed that when there is a lot of family conflict, it seems difficult to pray and hear God’s voice? We need to learn to treat each other with the same love and forgiveness that God has shown to us.

McNab comments, "There is no ground here for an argument in favour of the inferiority of women to men. The attitude which the apostle enjoins is not merely the conventional, submissive attitude of his day but the expression of the Christian readiness to subordinate self to others."

8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 

Peter lists 5 traits that husbands and wives should exhibit. Name them. What do they all have in common? Which of these traits do you need to work on more?

This verse should be considered a continuation of the exhortation for husbands and wives. The Greek word for "love as brothers" is < filadelfoi > philadelphoi and can mean "love as brothers and sisters." Brothers and sisters have a natural tendency to overlook the faults in each other. The sibling love transcends any personality conflicts. We need to treat our family the same way. We need to overlook faults and problems in each other.

Peter lists 5 traits that we should exhibit:
  1. be of one mind 

  2. have compassion for one another 

  3. love as brothers and sisters 

  4. be tenderhearted 

  5. be courteous 

If we practice these five things, we will find our relationships with others will vastly improve.

9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 

How are we to handle insults? Why should we be a blessing to other family members? Why do we have so much difficulty with our temper?

When we are on the receiving end of evil or insults, Peter says we are to respond with blessing. This is against our nature. When we are insulted, we usually want to respond in anger. But Peter tells us we are called to be a blessing to others. How can we be a blessing to our spouse if we are angry with them? Remember, Christ endured the insults and the humiliation of the death on the cross. Can’t we also endure a little for Christ?

MacDonald remarks, "This whole Epistle is written against a backdrop of persecution and suffering. ... Repeatedly, believers are urged to suffer for righteousness’ sake without retaliating. We are not to repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling. Instead we are to bless those who mistreat us, and to repay insult with kindness. As Christians, we are not called to harm others but to do them good, not to curse but to bless."

10 For "He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. 

What is the secret to happiness in our marriage relationship? Why do we have so much difficulty guarding what we say?

Here’s the secret to happiness in our marriage – we must be careful what we say. Not only should we not respond in anger, but we even need to not be deceitful. When we do these things, the promise is that we will "see good days." Unfortunately, it’s all too easy for us to lose our temper and let loose with a verbal barrage that we regret later. Peter says if we love life, we will not be this way. Verbal attacks and abuse is destructive. Let us learn to guard our tongue, and be a blessing to our family. 

11 Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 

What are we called to pursue in our marriage? How would we go about doing this?

We are called to pursue peace. If we are constantly in conflict or turmoil, how can we expect our home to be peaceful? We need to learn to allow God to minister his peace to our soul so that we can be contributors of calm instead of conflict. This is not something that comes easily. There will be times when we have to pursue peace. In other words, we may have to work hard to achieve it.

Verses 10-11 are quoted from Psalm 34:12-14 :

12 Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days,

13 keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.

14 Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

What was true in David’s day 3000 years ago and Peter’s day 2000 years ago still applies today. We need to seek peace and pursue it. Let us strive to serve him in a manner worthy of the calling he has placed on our life.
Act Married
The transition from being single to being married can be a bit bumpy. Despite your desire to get married and your extreme love for your spouse, the longer you were single, the more difficult it is to transition to married life. Once you begin to act married, you'll find the transition easier.

  1. Flirt with your spouse. Flirting is fun and, for some, a habit. When you're married, though, it can send the wrong message. Once you're married, you have a captive audience for flirting-your spouse. Flirting with your spouse can increase your connection and keep you out of trouble.

  2. Wear the ring. It may seem like a trite symbol or even a cliché, but your wedding ring is a sign of your marriage. Think about the commitment you made to your spouse every time you look at your ring or feel it around your finger. Be proud of this outward symbol of your love and commitment.

  3. Be considerate. People like to joke about not having to consider their spouse now that they're married. But part of making the transition from single to married is being considerate of your spouse all the time. It's OK to tell people you have to check with your spouse before making plans. That's the considerate thing to do.

  4. Move from "I" to "we." Your use of language says a lot about what you're thinking. Make the transition from referring to yourself as an individual to referring to yourself as part of a couple. It's no longer "my" house; it's now "our" house.

  5. Maintain clear communication. Acting married is most important for your spouse's benefit. A new marriage can be scary because you're extremely vulnerable. Help your spouse feel comfortable by clearly communicating what's on your mind instead of assuming it's obvious.

Consideration and Permission
Don’t you hate to approach your spouse/partner with questions that can elicit the answer “NO!”? For example: “Honey, is it OK if I …(fill in the blank)?” Or, “Can I …(fill in the blank)?” Some of you guys out there, more than once, have implored your partner/spouse: “Can I go bowling tonight?” And then there’s the all-time favorite guy question—“Sweetie, I can go to the (name of favorite sports bar) and watch the football game tonight, right?”

This isn’t reserved for men only. A wife/partner may ask: “Dear, is it OK if I go shopping?” Or, “Can I go with the girls to Vegas this weekend?” “It’s OK if I go to the movies tonight and leave the kids with you, right?” Permission-seeking opportunities among couples are endless. But are they necessary, and is it healthy to seek permission?

Well, consider this: A marriage/partnership is our only opportunity for a non-hierarchical, balanced relationship. For now, think of a non-hierarchical relationship this way: it is a collaboration between equals.

Equals who collaborate are reasonably well differentiated. Well differentiated couples approach each other as adults, and respect each others separate desires, requests, thoughts, feelings and needs. As collaborators, decisions and plans are made together. Generally speaking, collaborative adults live by consideration. They tend to avoid permission-seeking, and instead offer and seek consideration.

Permission Seeking
The questions in the first two paragraphs (above) are permission-seeking questions. Many women have expressed that permission-seeking questions trigger maternal feelings toward their husbands. Men, that has serious implications: It is very difficult for the woman in our lives to feel simultaneously spousal and mother toward us without a cost to the relationship.

One woman, to her husband, said it best: “If you want me to treat you like a man, and you want me to respond like a woman & wife, stop asking me for permission like a child. I’m not your mother!”

It’s very much the same for women who seek permission from their spouses/partners. In both cases, permission seeking sets up and reinforces a relationship hierarchy. The short version is described as follows: The marital relationship is more PARENT to CHILD, (hierarchal) than it is ADULT to ADULT (collaborative) While some relationships may seem to thrive within this type of hierarchy, many, if not most, do not. Sooner or later, the one who tends to be the permission-seeker, i.e. CHILD, will experience resentment, and distance. The PARENTAL spouse often feels frustration, irritation and distance. Couples who experience this hierarchy are frequently in conflict about a lot of “little things,” and don’t know why.

Rather than seeking permission, employ consideration. Now those questions above become statements: (PERMISSION-SEEKING)“Honey, is it OK if I …(fill in the blank)?” morphs in to: (CONSIDERATION) “Honey, I want/would like/have begun planning (fill in the blank) and, want to know how that works for you. Any thoughts or feelings about that?”

Example #2, (PERMIMSSION-SEEKING) “It’s OK if I go to the movies tonight and leave the kids with you, right?” (CONSIDERATION) “ I really want to go to the movies with (friend’s name) and I know it’s last minute, and I also realize that means you would have to watch the kids. I really need a break. How would you feel about that?

The previous are examples of consideration; they are ADULT to ADULT (collaborative) vs PARENT to CHILD (hierarchal) interactions. They consider how, and/or what, your partner feels and thinks about what it is you want, as well as day-to-day logistics. Equally important it gives you a voice as well, i.e., you are free to say what you want without fear. Couples who tend to approach each other ADULT to ADULT (collaboratively) generally find they are able to hear objections or conflicts generated by their stated desire. Furthermore, they area able to negotiate effectively.

The converse is more likely in the hierarchical or PARENT to CHILD interaction—there’s no room to negotiate. It’s a binary “yes’ or “no,” followed by a fight, or go-along-to-get-along silence, which we know from the research produces warmth equal to, or less than, that of the granite counter-top in your kitchen.

Give consideration a try the next time you catch yourself about to seek permission, and see for yourself. It may seem like a small issue, but it can have big rewards. Here’s a cool twist: While it’s true that differentiated couples tend to operate from a position of consideration, a couple can become more differentiated by taking the risk to use consideration in place of permission seeking. Wishing you a satisfying relationship.

Illustration from Clyde Mendes column at  MetroSexual LA



Comment on this post

Jenna Culbertson 01/24/2010 18:00

I agree being considerate of each other goes along way in building a relationship that can stand the test of time.