50% of all marriages end in divorce. 50%?! Wow. Half (I know you know that’s half. It just boggles my mind!)! In other words, you know someone that’s divorced. No doubt about it. Your own parents are likely divorced. Mine are (that’s another story). Odds are you’ve witnessed the fighting, the pain, the tears and hurt. I’m heartbroken for so many that have had those experiences.
You definitely don’t think about that when planning the wedding. Yet half of Americans call it quits. The majority of that half divorce in the first eight years. Why do you think that is? Different values? Bad mix of families? Secrets? We do not have a healthy standard for a successful marriage in America. So my mister and I? We don’t use America’s standards in our marriage. We are proud to say we are not the standard American marriage.
1. We don’t allow ourselves to be alone with someone of the opposite sex.
Standard American perspective would call this sexism. We call it common sense. You see, it’s about being above reproach. We acknowledge that men and women were created by God for each other. The enemy can use alone time with someone else as temptation to sin. You end up alone a lot with a coworker, you enjoy conversation together, become friends, connect emotionally and end up bonding. I know because I’ve done it. I’ve seen it and heard about it so many times. It’s heart breaking to see so many give up on their marriage to start another imperfect relationship, thinking it’s all they’ve ever needed.
So if you purposefully keep yourself from being alone with the opposite gender you completely remove the chance for sin in that area. I recently found out that Billy Graham practiced this. He was never alone with a woman save his wife, sisters, or daughters. When it is absolutely unavoidable (I work for a very small company), we stay in communication with our spouse via text. If a rumor started, it could (and would) be quickly disproven.
2. We don’t text the opposite sex.
Again, this is for the same reason basically – avoiding the possible emotional connection to someone of the opposite gender other than our spouse. Now, we have several couples that are really good friends. A few of the husbands are even our pastors. Sometimes I need to talk to one of them as my pastor. Occasionally my mister will need to ask the wife something about the children playing. So when that happens, we include our spouse or their spouse (or all four lol) in a group message. If texting a coworker is unavoidable, we leave it strictly to work issues but we try our best just not to do it.
3. We don’t go out often without each other.
Truly, not even once a month. Let’s face it, when you get a group of girls together, they’re inevitably going to end up talking about their men. You know I’m right! I’ve caught myself doing it! LOL! But talking crap about the hubs is by definition disrespect (whether or not in front of him) and does nothing but breed discontent, which isn’t healthy for anyone. So, 90% of the time, we make it a point to include each other in any social invitation.
4. We don’t travel without the other.
Now this has its exceptions like when my man has to work and selflessly insists I take the kids for a fun day trip out of town but my mom will go with us. Because, #1 – I’m not even pretending I can handle four kids in an unfamiliar town and keep everybody sane and happy LOL! But #2 – if at all possible we are traveling as a family because that’s what we are. One unit, sticking together, indivisible. Definition, do not separate. We like to tease that we pretty much stay up each others’ butts. 🙂 We also stay married year after year. 🙂
5. We don’t adhere to America’s standards of which spouse is supposed to do what.
We recognize the God given differences in the genders but I loathe doing dishes. In contrast, my mister describes it as therapeutic (I know, right?! What the crap?!). I like yard work. He likes to cook. He does laundry. We’re not going to hold each other to society’s expectations.
6. We don’t look down on counseling or further learning.
I’m going to assume that you don’t either since you’re reading a marriage blog. However, standard American opinion holds this stereotype of counseling that it’s strictly for people or couples who have something wrong with them. When my man and I were teenagers, we both went to counseling for some minor issues and again when our marriage was teetering on divorce. You know what? We learned really valuable and practical lessons that improved the quality of our everyday lives, even in areas where we didn’t have issues!
There is a science to the way people behave, think, act. There are professionals who have gone through multiple years of school learning this science. They are trained in human behavior practices that are healthy vs unhealthy. Understanding the way people think, speak, and act as well as the science behind it is their job.
We all come from imperfect backgrounds and develop into imperfect people. Why do we feel the need to appear perfect as individuals and shun learning about the science behind the behavior? What reasons do we have for avoiding making improvements in the way we process and express our emotions? Learning and strengthening our marriage excites me! Whether counseling, research studies, books or seminars, we are always game when it comes to extra resources to grow!
NOT our standards
Society expects us to serve ourselves. In America, society teaches us that we should focus on our own happiness and divorce is the answer whenever we’re unhappy. However, we believe everyone experiences the occasional unhappiness. We’re ok with being different than the standard American marriage. In fact, we boldly reject society’s standards for marriage! 😉 What about you? What do you do in your marriage that’s considered different? What do you see in America’s standards that come across as damaging to you?
Thanks for reading!
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