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Friday, November 19, 2010
First an apology for my previous paltry posting performance. I can’t believe it’s been more than ten days since my last post!

Prompted by the number of new respondants, I just took a glance at the latest reader poll results for some direction on what readers are interested in next. (If you missed my series on the most requested topic, intimacy, be sure to go back here and check it out.) It turns out that a close second in requested topics is “practical marriage tips and advice.”

As I thought about what that really means, I decided I should have thought about what that means before I put it in my survey. Oh well, live and learn. I decided, after much consideration, that people are asking this question: “What should I do to make my marriage better?”

One Size Does Not Fit All

It’s a good and valid question. Unfortunately it’s one that’s difficult to answer. I was struck by this post by Paul at The Generous Husband that decries one-size-fits-all marriage advice that guarantees to fix your marriage if you just “do this.” It’s as if some think there is a magic three step set of things to do that will miraculously and effortlessly catapult every marriage to new heights. I’m with Paul: Hogwash!

Now I understand our propensity for quick, straightforward answers. I am a problem solver by nature and by training as an engineer. It’s what I do. But here’s the thing: universal advice is universally worthless. I understand that, and so I think that’s why I shy away from offering much in the way of prescriptive solutions to marriage issues. Every couple is made of unique individuals and when you bring them together you get uniqueness squared.

I don’t pretend to have a panacea.

Instead what I focus on is a way of thinking about your marriage and your role in it. I spend a lot of effort identifying and explaining the principles involved, mostly based on what the Word of God says about marriage, about love, focusing a lot on insights from the kind of Bride-Bridegroom relationship we have with Jesus.

I’ve said before that “right thinking will lead to right doing.” If I were to focus more on the doing part of the equation instead of the thinking part, chances are my advice would miss the mark by a wide margin. Because, truthfully, you are going to be much better at figuring out what to do than I would be. It’s first about getting your head and your heart in the right place so that you can apply these marriage principles to whatever real-life situations arise in your relationship.

Maybe you’re thinking that’s just a copout on my part. Nah, it’s just the truth. I don’t have the answers to what you should do (sorry to burst your bubble) but you probably do.

Right Thinking, Right Being

As a footnote/addendum/clarification/extension to my postulation of “right thinking leads to right doing,” let me add, “Right thinking also leads to right being.”

By that I mean that when you begin to internalize the marriage principles that God lays out for us and begin to understand God’s design for marriage, it slowly will begin to transform who you are as a husband or a wife. Over time these principles move from your head to your heart as they become part of who you are and as you step more fully into your role.

Although thinking about your marriage and your role in the right way will help you make decisions that grow your marriage and solve your problems, it’s when you get to place of right being that you can be most consistent at right doing.

There, I’ve done it. I’ve managed to answer the “What should I do?” question without actually answering it at all. Sorry to disappoint. But I do believe strongly in this idea of how important it is to see your marriage, your self and your spouse in the right way. It’s much better advice that if I’d just said:
  1. Husbands – buy your wife a diamond.
  2. Wives – give your husband more sex.

Not that there’s anything wrong with either one of those ideas!


Heather said...

Your right thinking approach is what I like about your blog. Keep it up.

Scott said...

Thanks, Heather. I truly appreciate the encouragement. I suppose any readers that were just looking for 1-2-3 solution would have stopped reading here a long time ago!

(OK - I just fixed about ten typos in last night's post. Note to self: when writing and brain-dead tired, wait to post in the morning after a fresh editing pass)

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