In this episode, I discuss what you can do to build a successful, long-term marriage. I’ve been married for thirty-four years, and this is something I care about deeply.
This last week, Gail and I spent four days in the Rocky Mountains with a handful of friends. We have done this every year for the last nine years. All of us have been married a long time. In fact, one couple—Scott and Jill Bolinder—were celebrating their fortieth anniversary. It is obvious they are still in love.
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But then we came back home to learn that another friend’s marriage was crumbling. His wife had just asked for a divorce, catching him totally off guard. It made me very, very sad.
I knew I had to talk about marriage in this episode. There is just so much at stake.
And, by the way, your marriage has everything to do with your effectiveness as a leader. Whether you realize it or not, as people observe your marriage and make several inferences about you and your leadership:
- They learn about your priorities and what matters most.
- They learn how you treat the people who are closest to you.
- They learn whether it’s all about you or you are a team player.
If your marriage is going to survive—and thrive—you will need to be intentional about it. Great marriages don’t just happen. They are created. In order to build a successful, long-term marriage, you need to make four commitments.
- Commit to continuing education.
You can do this in four ways:
- Become a student of your spouse.
- Read marriage books.
- Attend marriage conferences.
- Get marriage counseling.
- Commit to spending time together.
- Commit to following a specific set of boundaries.
Here are mine:
- I will not go out to eat alone with someone of the opposite sex.
- I will not travel alone with someone of the opposite sex.
- I will not flirt with someone of the opposite sex.
- Commit to speaking well of your spouse.
This is important for at least five reasons.
- You get more of what you affirm.
- Affirmation shifts your attitude toward your spouse.
- Affirmation helps strengthen your spouse’s best qualities.
- Affirmation wards off the temptation of adultery.
- Affirmation provides a model to those you lead.
- An anonymous female caller asked, “What do you suggest doing when your husband would rather do e-mail and read blogs than talk to his wife?”
- Erik Fischer asked, “How did you and your wife make sure that you found time for just talking with each other?”
- Imaj asked, “What protective measures are there for single people who are in a serious relationship for the first time?”
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In this episode I mentioned several resources, including:
- Assessment: StrengthsFinder
- Book: Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs
- Book: Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
- Book: The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
- Conference: Save My Marriage
- Conference: Gary Smalley
- Conference: Love and Respect
- Conference: The SCORRE Conference
- Post: What Are You Doing to Protect Your Marriage?
- Post: Why Speaking Well of Your Spouse Is So Important
- Tool: Annual Time-Block Tool
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