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How to Improve Your Marriage

There are many marriages of friends I have that are living in relationships that are not happily connected anymore. For various reasons your unit as one is struggling. This new series taken from Rescue Your Love Life will hopefully bring some help, but can only do so if you heed the advice. My (or our) marriage too came from being trapped in what we thought was the norm until we realized God had a better plan and showed us what marriage is to be like. Here's a thought: The key to improving your marriage is changing yourself first. And you might be saying from this comment, wait a minute, it's not's my spouse that needs to change. Listen up..... Nothing helps your relationship more than when you shine a spotlight on yourself and see your own issues, baggage, hurts, weaknesses, and faults. As you understand what makes you tick and begin to resolve your personal issues, your capacity to love, to give grace, to improve communication, to be honest, and to solve problems is greatly enhanced. So starting with yourself is the best way for you to get what you want. Your own example and way of relating can profoundly affect the relationship - and your mate - for good and for love. And it is surprising how that can free your mate to begin to rescue himself also. Changing your own attitudes can do great things for you and your marriage. For years, the man that wrote the message for this book suffered with chronic lower back pain, until one day an engineer friend told him, "Your back is like a suspension bridge. To strengthen it, you have to strengthen the supportive structures around it - the muscles that hold it together." A regiment of daily sit-ups was suggested. (He followed up on that advice, and within a few months, his pain was gone). Your marriage is like that body system. Things you do individually matter to the relationship. Generally speaking, you can do more to improve your relationship than you think. The Bible explains this in terms of being a person of light - that is, one who follows God's light of love, relationship, and growth. Light tends to cause a response in other people, including your spouse. You can add healthy ingredients to your marriage. First you must make yourself vulnerable, instead of nagging or resenting. Work on yourself. Make openness, trust, and safety easier by getting rid of negative ingredients such as distance, stonewalling and blame. When you shine the light on your own life and attitudes, you add growth and health not only to yourself, but also to your marriage. You man not see instant results, and that's OK. Taking antibiotics doesn't produce instant results either; but over time, you will see improvements. You need to start making healthy choices in your life. Get to know yourself, others and most importantly God in a deeper way. Not only does changing yourself bring good things to your marriage, but it also helps you influence your mate to change and grow. Sometimes we try to control our spouse and force them to change. The reality is that you cannot make anyone change; your mate always has a choice. And on a deeper level, you don't want someone to love you because he has to. You want your spouse to love you because he or she wants to. So give up control. INFLUENCE IS MUCH MORE HELPFUL. You model, give information, make requests, and be vulnerable and safe - and you always respect your spouse's choices. Talk to your spouse, let him or her know that you love him and that your growth as a couple is important to you. Healthy pressure is growth-producing pressure. The healthiest marriages are those in which both partners are committed to growth and change. Each of you paddles your own side of the boat and contributes to the progress of the marriage. Recruit your mate to the team concept. Have some conversations about what you both want together: more connection, more safety, more emotional intimacy, more vulnerability, more honesty, more authenticity, a greater sense of being a team, and a more satisfying sexual relationship. Talk about how you affect each other, (very important) ways you let each other down, and what you want from each other. Then shoulder the burdens of changing in the right ways. That is how couples rescue their love lives and experience great marriages. Sherry

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