S and I have been married for 12 years… together for 19. Established in 1995.
We’ve been together for so long that I know what he’s going to say before he speaks. I can sense how he’s feeling just by his facial expression. He’s a wonderful husband but I feel that sometimes, we have allowed our relationship to take a backseat to other things like children or work.
That’s why I was so happy when a good friend of mine, M, invited me to join their prayer group’s Marriage Course which will run for 8 sessions on Tuesdays, from 8 to 10 PM.
We didn’t really have problems in our marriage, in fact we get along splendidly… but I always believed it doesn’t hurt to be reminded that our relationship is and always will be the backbone of our family so it’s important to keep it healthy.
Here are the topics for the eight sessions:
Session 1: Building Strong Foundations
Session 2: The Art of Communication
Session 3: Resolving Conflict
Session 4: The Power of Forgiveness
Session 5: Parents and In-laws
Session 6: Good Sex (yes, you read that right!)
Session 7: Love in Action
We’ve only attended the first three session. So far, it has been a wonderful investment of our time. So many things that were discussed have hit home.
In Session 1, we were reminded to invest in Marriage Time. The course encouraged us to make a weekly date of at least 2 hours together and set the date in stone. It is best if we put it in the calendar and give it as much importance as a work meeting, if not more. For those two hours, it should be about us and no other appointment should be given precedence over it.
I admit that Hubby S and I have been remiss in having time alone together, especially after Baby S was born. This is mostly my fault as my efforts to breastfeed have made it hard for me to leave home for more than an hour at a time in the first 6 months. Now that Baby S is on solids on top of the milk, I have more breathing space and am not so pressured to be on hand to feed since I don’t respond well to the pump.
For the past 2 weeks, we have had 3 Marriage Time sessions… all of which I have enjoyed tremendously. Marriage Time is now a highlight of my week.
In Session 2, the discussion is about the art of listening to your spouse and overcoming the barriers that prevents us from truly internalizing what has been said. There are very specific tasks on what should be done during a conversation that, in all honesty, initially feels awkward because we’re used to listening with half an ear. However, with the required eye contact and summarizing what has been said, we were really able to talk to each other without distractions and it felt really good afterwards.
This session reiterates how important it is to truly listen completely to one’s partner because not doing so makes the partner feel unimportant, taken for granted and ultimately, hurt.
In Session 3, we talked about how people get mad. There are two kinds of people. The hedgehog who bottles up the anger, curls up into silence and keeps their spouse at a distance until the anger goes away and the issue is never discussed. Then, there is the rhino who attacks the problem head-on with a outward verbal or even, in some people, physical barrage. The course offers very concrete ways for rhinos and hedgehogs to improve their reactions towards anger because both styles are destructive.
I’ve always known I’m a rhino and Hubby S is a hedgehog. Through the years together we’ve managed to find a way to make things work if we’re mad. After much discussion in the first few years of marriage, Hubby S now consciously talks about his issues with me instead of punishing me with his silence. I, on the other hand, have found a way to just tell him how I am feeling and try to keep my voice low so the fight won’t escalate. We didn’t realize it but on our own, we managed to find a way to manage our anger towards each other when it occurs. It was nice to get the confirmation that we’re doing something right.
The best part of this session, though, was the introduction of a wonderful 5 to 10 minute habit for couples to pray FOR each other. The pastor encouraged all of us to spend a few minutes, daily, to talk to each other about what we want our spouse to pray on our behalf. I asked Hubby S to pray for me that I may be granted the patience and understanding to deal with my kids with wisdom. Hubby S asked me to pray that he may find his direction and path in life. Those few minutes were surprisingly empowering. It’s amazing how something so deceptively simple can make a huge difference in my emotional well-being.
I feel so blessed to be given a chance to attend these marriage courses. The hours we get together just to analyze our relationship, bring up anything that bothers us and laugh at each other in the process are priceless.
I am looking forward to attending the next 5 sessions.
The next session will be on the 2nd week of August…. can’t wait.
Click here for more information about “The Marriage Course” and other courses.