Summary: 5 tools that every marriage needs to battle bad things (Material adapted from Les & Leslie Parrott's book, When Bad Things Happen to Good Marriages, chapter title, "How Good Marriages Battle Bad Things")
Talk about the storms this past week. Sayler Park Tornado - April 3, 1974. The only tornado in the April 3-4, 1974 Super Outbreak to occur in 3 states. It touched down near Rising Sun, crossed into Boone County, KY, then over the Ohio River into Sayler Park. In Sayler Park, The first area of town hit was the Morehead Marina, where numerous boats were thrown and destroyed. A large floating restaurant barge at this location was lifted, ripped from its moorings, and flipped by the tornado. Later this was recovered several miles downstream. A nearby house was lifted from its foundation and thrown into the river. At a further inland area of Sayler Park, the tornado maintained F5 intensity as numerous homes were swept away at a hilly area near a lake, with only bare slabs remaining. One pickup truck in this area was carried a half block over the roofs of five homes before being smashed to the ground. The tornado killed 3 and injured over 100 in Hamilton County, OH.
Little difference between nature’s storms and life’s storms. They both can be rough. Many storms that a marriage and a family can go through. Talked about grieving the death of a loved one 2 weeks ago. God had me speak on that. One family member is addicted to something. Couple experiences infertility. Having a disabled child. Dealing with a rebellious child. Health, aging issues, emotional (depression) and financial losses. The worst for a marriage is infidelity.
How can we survive the storms of life? Storms can either make us or break us
“How Good Marriages battle bad things” by Les and Leslie Parrott.
Thesis: 5 tools that every marriage needs to battle bad things
Ownership- taking responsibility for the good and the bad
Most people believe the problems in their marriages are because of their spouse. Like gun slingers from the Old West, they draw their dueling fingers and point to each other’s flaws. They say things like: “If it weren’t for your anger, we might have a real marriage. If you didn’t lie about so many things, maybe I could trust you. If you were ever interested in talking, I might be interested in making love.”
Taking responsibility is focused on improvement and correction – doing it better. A good owner is someone who wants to improve whatever they own. They strive to be good stewards of that which God has entrusted to their care and work on whatever they can to make sure that it does what it is designed to do. They maintain what they own- especially something they know God dearly values. We know that God cares greatly about marriages.
When we think of ownership considering marriage this involves appreciating and celebrating the good- doing what we can to help the good to continue. It also involves evaluating that which is damaging the marriage, making it our mission to do our part in finding ways to overcome the problems.
If our attitude and our actions are contributing to the problems, then we need to own up to them, take responsibility for correcting them. “Who are you in charge of?”
Regardless of what our spouse will or will not do to help the marriage to grow to be healthy, we are responsible for doing our part. This is not a 50/50 proposition. “I’m going to give 100% effort regardless of what the other person is doing or not doing.”
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart...” Colossians 3:23, NIV. “It was not the days of ease that made our marriage stronger and happier; it was working through the difficult parts.”-Karen Swallow Prior
Hope- believing that good wins over bad
“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Romans 5:3-5, NIV.
Whatever storm we are going through, God, by design, has us exactly where we are at this moment so that we might be able to endure, to then be able to cultivate that hope that will help us write the next chapter in our family’s history so that when your children and grandchildren read our story they will be inspired to say, “I can do this, too.”
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28, NIV.
Empathy- walking in our partner’s shoes
Research has shown that 90% of struggles in marriage would be resolved if we did nothing more than see that problem from our partner’s perspective. Empathy is the heart of love. We have something in our nature that provides the makings for human empathy. When a content newborn baby hears another baby crying, for example, it also begins to wail. It’s not just the loud noise, but the sound of a fellow human in distress that triggers the baby’s crying.