Seven-year itch? Only if you let it!

I have been M.I.A for awhile now. After almost three weeks of feeling pretty okay, I am back to feeling bad again. My entire body hurts from head to toe, I feel like things are moving when they are actually quite stationary, my head again feels like my brain weighs ten times what it actually does, my muscles are jumping all over the place, and last night I felt as though someone were squeezing the life out of my ribcage and abdominal area. (That was new). I could barely sleep throughout the pain.

I had prayed to God and asked that I be in good enough shape to enjoy the trip my sweet husband had planned for our anniversary (June 30th), and I got just that. I only had minor headaches, but other than that, I was able to have a fantastic time in the Champagne Tower Suite at the Pocono Palace in Pennsylvania, a place I recommend ALL married couples go. It was an eight-hour drive from Michigan to PA, but well worth it. I even relished that ride, throughout the traffic and the “construction” (in quotation marks because out of all the miles upon miles of blocked-off roads, we didn’t see ANYONE actually doing any work) because it was eight uninterrupted hours with my husband.

It is easy for “life” to get in the way of marriage, but that can only happen if both individuals allow it to happen. I caught wind of a new “reality” show that disgusted me:

http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/49522-immoral-seven-year-switch-brings-adultery-to-prime-time

A second link to an article about the same show:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/07/arts/television/review-seven-year-switch-re-pairs-couples-for-marriage-repair.html?_r=0

I read the bios of the couples and their alleged goals for their relationship upon completion of this show. Of course I had questions.

1. Do these people claim to be Christians? If so, why involve another party in their marriage that isn’t a pastor, counselor or someone who can give them wise counsel? I don’t see any reason why couples shouldn’t seek help from the appropriate source if their marriage hits a rough patch. But what good is something like this going to do? I understand that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and perhaps the idea is that these people will be able to better appreciate their spouse if they are exposed to someone else for a couple of weeks. But a marriage shouldn’t require that. I guess that leads to my next question…

2. What kind of preparation did these people do prior to getting married? Any heart-to-heart talks? Any couples’ pre-marital counseling? Before we were married, my husband and I submitted to several weeks of counseling with our pastor, and we put everything on the table. Admittedly, since we had done things backward and had kids first, we were already on the same page in terms of child-rearing. But that is one of the conversations that people have to have before they get married. Sure, marriage is based on love, but there is more that goes into it than just that. If two people aren’t compatible, if they don’t have the same values, it seems as though some of that should have come out BEFORE they walked down the aisle.

Here is my little list of what couples should HONESTLY discuss before they even think about getting married:

1. Values and religion, and things you just will NOT accept. For me this was easy. I wouldn’t have thought twice about marrying someone who did not believe Jesus was his Lord and Savior.

2. Finances and how they will be handled (separate bank accounts or joint? Things of that nature)

3. Plans for the future. If the man and woman have different ideas on where they plan to be in the future, perhaps they are not compatible. What happens if the wife gets a good job offer in another state, will husband be willing to relocate, or vice versa? Do both parties want to work toward home ownership, or travel around the world before they are 50, etc..?

4. Children. Do both parties want them? How will they be disciplined? What goals will be established for them? Because with kids, parents HAVE to have a united front on EVERYTHING. Kids pick up easily on discord.

5. Family members and friends. Yep, once you get married to a person, you marry into their family. If you have any concerns about your potential spouse’s family or family secrets or dos or don’ts, those should be voiced before marriage too. And certainly you should be comfortable with your spouse having space to still associate with his or her friends, but if you have any problems with any of their friends or concerns about how late he or she hangs out sometimes, best let them know right now.

6. Conflict do’s and don’ts. Each couple communicates differently, but it is safe to assume that most people would agree that communication between husbands and wives ought to be respectful. If either party has a problem with how conflict is handled, before the marriage is the time to bring it up.

7. Pet peeves. Everyone has them. But your significant other might not know that it brings your blood to a rumbling boil when you see their food-crusted plate next to the sink instead of in it.

8. Establishment of marital roles. Does the man expect the woman to do all the housework AND keep a job? If she agrees with that, fine. If not, that will cause some resentment down the road. Hash it out before walking down the aisle.

9. Yes, you need to discuss sex. Especially if you have done things the correct way and waited for marriage. Some people have expectations that differ from their partner’s. You should also discuss INTIMACY, which does not have to always include sex. I’m thinking more along the lines of making time for each other. Will you have a date night every Friday? If so, make it a standing date and KEEP IT. Or a vacation every three months? A big one at anniversary time?

10. MAJOR QUESTION: WHAT DOES YOUR POTENTIAL SPOUSE THINK ABOUT DIVORCE? I suppose this is my humble opinion, but I think anyone going into a marriage should view divorce as an unacceptable option. If someone looks you in the face and shrugs and says, “hey it it happens, it happens”… end the relationship ASAP.

During the course of the marriage people may change and SOME of these items might need to be re-evaluated, but some consider the core of what makes a person who they are and are unlikely to change (such as values and religion). If two people don’t see eye-to-eye on those, perhaps they ought not be married.

As for these couples, let me go back to question number 1. If these people are Christians, and if they were married in a Christian ceremony in a church, then it is my assumption that they took vows similar to what I did. It is my assumption that they understand that they did not simply enter into a covenant with their spouse, but that they were also making a promise to GOD that they would be with that person for better or for worse until death parted them. If the man is a Christian man he knows it is in the Word that he leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and that they will be one flesh. If the two believe the Word, they would know that the bond between husband and wife, ONE FLESH, is unbreakable. Just as one person cannot be divided and still live, that is how man and woman should abide in holy matrimony. Husband and wife become one, and their two lives have to intersect at all angles.

There is no place for another person in a marriage. I cannot, for the life of me understand why any MAN would be comfortable with the possibility of his wife cavorting around with another man–and vice versa. How in the world would temptation, especially in front of CAMERAS, where you know they are going to want excess drama and immorality so as to get ratings, STRENGTHEN a marriage?

Here is my biggest problem. Americans like sensational television. We like messy lives and sordid tales. We like train-wrecks, so television producers have to produce shows that cater to train-wreck level. Let’s just say that all four couples do not take the bait. Let’s say that all they do while they are shacking with their new partner is discuss their marriage with them–no sleeping together, flirting, dalliances, etc…–and they all live happily ever after. The show wouldn’t last beyond the first episode. There will have to be the possibility of at least one couple divorcing. There will have to be an affair, or the possibility of one. There HAS to be something to draw people in. Although there is probably a great deal of the show that is going to be faked, exaggerated, etc., people are still going to think it’s acceptable to go outside your marriage to try to make it better (that doesn’t even SOUND right!).

The seven-year itch is super avoidable. People need to be honest. If your partner upsets you, respectfully let them know. They won’t know unless you tell them. If you’re getting bored, plan a romantic getaway or even a staycation–turn your phones off, don’t go on the Internet, just tune into each other. Too often people forget why they fell in love in the first place, and it is easy for life–work, kids, etc…–to get in the way. It is the job of both partners to make sure that does not happen.

For any couple experiencing marital difficulties, I recommend you go here…

This is in your private suite!

This is in your private suite!

This is your jacuzzi bath, shaped like a champagne glass!

This is your jacuzzi bath, shaped like a champagne glass!

Pocono Palace will always have a special place in my heart.

I cannot say enough about my husband. He is so committed to our relationship. Yes, he works a lot while we are at home, but how can that be a cause of resentment? He does what he has to do to provide for his family, so I cannot for the life of me think it acceptable to go outside the marriage because he is not home as often as I’d like. He is sacrificing his OWN time to take care of us–besides the fact that I have no attraction for other men, there is no way I would disrespect his sacrifice and break his trust by cheating on him when he is trying to take care of us. He makes things so special. This trip was his idea. He put it together, he paid for it, just like our honeymoon and all of our other special celebrations. I could NEVER see myself with anyone else, and I believe he feels the same, and I hope if either of us starts getting the wandering eye, we would (first go to God and if necessary our pastor) and take steps to rekindle the flame.

This show is unnecessary.

My family has also been dealing with my dad being in the hospital. I won’t put all of his business out, but it is pretty serious. When things die down a little, I will be right back to posting my Exodus. In the meantime, please pray for my dad. He is having a rough time.

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