Transcript of "Marriage Class Yesses & Nos Dtime Guidelines"
CHAPTER 3 WHAT IS A GOOD RELATIONSHIP
Don’t you find the question how is your marriage doing, as a difficult question to answer? The
same would go for how is your relationship with God? So many of us would answer based on
what we are doing or not doing. We often find ourselves stuck with defining ourselves as
human doings not human beings. Equally as tough a question is who are you? Again we answer
with our jobs, our children, what we do or are planning to do. We often find it very difficult to
separate ourselves from what we do and who we are. We constantly enmesh ourselves with
titles or jobs. We believe we can’t have a great relationship with our spouse or God unless we
know who we are first. We do have our natural temperament. We also have a life that has
molded us to who we are. We will talk at length about that in later chapters.
Once we do know who we are we can then go about having a relationship. We would
like you to consider some defining criteria for a good relationship. It seems easier with we can
in fact take something from nebulous and abstract to something objective and concrete. We
learn better in the concrete first, and then after we are proficient at the concrete then we can
move onto the abstract.
We start off as little kids learning in the concrete, things we can see touch and feel. One
apple plus one apple equals two apples. Two apples take away one apple leaves one apple.
God taught us the same way. He started us off with concrete then moved on to abstract. He
first gave us a real slavery with real whips and physical pain. He then gave us a concrete
promised land with a king we could see touch and feel. There were real concrete riches. God
then moved onto an abstract promised land (heaven), and abstract riches (being with God in
heaven). We have a king that we cannot see touch or feel (Jesus). We now have slavery that we
subject ourselves to unknowingly and in an abstract way. We will talk at length about that
slavery in the following chapters.
So let’s try and describe a great relationship in a concrete way. A good relationship
should have the following:
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• Approachability, Humility & Understanding
• Absence of control
• Limits & priorities
• They understand me, they approve of me, they validate me
• Safety & security by meeting our needs (sexual, emotional & others)
• We can exchange ideas and differing opinions without drama, ultimatums, loudness, or
Approachability, Humility & Understanding‐ We create in us a way of being that others view
as approachable. They believe that they can talk to us, discuss with us, let us know if we
have wronged them. We have a way of being that we are possibly wrong. That we may not
have all the answers, the best ways of doing things, the best understanding of situations and
that we just might know everything. We are people that have a desire to understand how
others think, how they are, what makes them tick. We try to understand others’ points of
Forgiveness‐ We are people that forgive others when they understand that they have made
a mistake and wronged us. We forgive by NOT wishing for different better or more. We are
able to wish the other person well. There can be point that the forgiveness happens and yet
the relationship has been broken. We should attempt to have a way to restore the
relationship back again, (God does this for us) however there can be instances that a
relationship can be permanently broken. God gives us the instance of adultery/immorality
as one that could permanently break a relationship (divorce). Mt 19:9, Ex 21:10‐11 & 1Cor
7:10‐11. There can even be cause for separation. There is more on separation and divorce
in a later chapter.
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Patience‐ We live in a way that gives each other time to overcome our perceptions and
emotional responses. As long as the other person understands that it something that needs
to change. Our perceptions and emotional responses have formed many habits. One
conversation, even one great conversation, will generally not make permanent change or
transformation. We must be willing to understand the other person without judgment, go
to where they are emotionally and spiritually, extend a hand, have them take your hand,
and then gently and patiently influence them, and lead them to where they need to go.
Honesty‐We must be approachable enough and be forgiving if want people to be honest
with us. We need for people to tell us the truth.
Trust –We trust that when the other person thinks that they have made a mistake that they
will make it right and/or apologize. We trust that the other person is not our enemy. We
trust that the other person wants the best for us. We trust that they will not harm us on
Respect‐ Mutual respect is needed in every relationship. When we respect someone else
we let them have their own point of view. We let them have their own opinions. We don’t
control the other person. We let them learn on their own, at their own pace. We let them
decide when they have made mistakes. We need to feel we are honored and held in high
regard by our spouses. This is a huge one for husbands.
Happiness‐When I think happiness I should think of the other person, I should think of
memories of that person. It should make me smile
Absence of control‐ We should empower the other person to be themselves, to be the true
individual that they are. We should encourage and empower the other person to have their
own likes, dislikes, foibles, idiosyncrasies, tendencies, perceptions, viewpoints and
character. The relationship should be void of manipulation. The other person’s gifts should
be good enough; their yes should be good enough, their no, should be good enough. We
should only influence not control. When we set limits & priorities, (more on limits &
priorities in chapter 9) however those limits we set are for ourselves. We should not set
them for others; if we do it really is an attempt to control them anyway. Control comes out
when we withhold approval from something we don’t like, control comes when we judge
things as mistakes, (more on mistakes in chapter 11) control comes when we don’t share
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the same emotions as the other person has for something, control comes when we lack
respect and control comes when we don’t honor others.
Limits & Priorities‐ You might know the word or concept of boundaries. Limits & priorities
would be a similar concept. We can and should set limits on how much damaging,
negligent, or abusive behavior that we will tolerate. We do need to protect ourselves
emotionally, spiritually, and physically. We have a whole chapter dedicated to this
important concept in chapter 9. There is a way to be Godly &/or submissive and still have
limits. We can set priorities in our lives and then remove ourselves from relationships that
refuse to work together for a common goal or priority.
They understand me, they approve of me, they validate me‐ We should feel that the other
person approves of us. We need to feel that the other person approves of our jobs, our
physical body, our looks and our decisions. We should feel that the other person approves
of our beliefs and perceptions. We should feel that the other person is not disappointed in
us. There can be times when a person can be disappointed in the other. This is limited and
whenever felt should be discussed with other people other than your spouse to double
check one’s motives, viewpoints, perceptions and emotional responses. When we have a
good relationship with someone they validate me, they validate me feelings as real,
sensible, understandable & valid. When we are validated we are being treated with honor
and respect by the other person. When we are validated our thoughts and feelings are
understood, and they are held in high regard & esteem.
Safety & Security‐ The relationship should bring safety and security. We feel secure and safe
when our spouse meets our needs; our needs for sexual intimacy, for financial security, for
privacy, for our emotional needs, for honesty, for dependability, our spiritual needs, for
shelter, for believing in us, for being our biggest fan, for respect. For women the biggest
needs are generally emotional needs, need for honesty, and the need for dependability. For
men the biggest need is sex then respect.
Exchange of ideas & opinions – This is how we handle the word NO. This is how we handle
situations when people have not only different viewpoints and opinions; they have polar
opposite viewpoints and opinions. This is how we handle things when things don’t go our
way. This is how we handle things when people, places or things don’t go our way, or the
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way we envisioned or planned. This is how we handle things when we think something is
important and others don’t think is important, fun, or right.
We start off in our life as young children and when have all of the viewpoints and
perceptions that our parents have. We grow up with the same perceptions that our
surrounding area that we live in has. We then progress to a spot of I have my own opinions,
my own way at looking at things. We have opinions on what is fun and what is boring, what
is morally & ethically right and morally & ethically wrong, what is important and what is
trivial, what is beneficial and what is negatively impacting.
When we have respect and honor for another, when we are not trying to manipulate
and control others, when we are humble and understand that our spouse is not our enemy
then we can in fact have great conversations. Many of us come from abusive backgrounds
growing up, emotional, physical and sexual. We very well may have come from poverty and
divorce. Many things were out of our control, we were stuck in awful situations. We are
not 10 years old anymore. We can leave from a person that is hurting us, or causing us
distress. We don’t have yell or get angry. Our spouse is generally not trying to hurt us on
purpose. We can talk.
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