Barnabas Network International | Online Resources for Churches

Questions From the Heart?

Building A Strong Marriage 


Our society’s perspective on marriage has changed dramatically since 1975 when the Family Law Act was empowered here in Australia. Divorce has touched the lives of many individuals and their families. Can you think of a family that has not been significantly impacted by the trauma of divorce?  


Yet people keep getting married and remarried. Why this attraction for marriage? Are we chasing an illusion or is there something to marriage that is worth pursuing?   Here is the paradox. Many people believe that the right to divorce easily is important but, on the other hand, the devastation of divorce which many have experienced first hand makes us believe there must be a better way.  


Which brings us back to marriage. Maybe marriage is the better way. Research by social scientists indicates the following:  

*Married people enjoy better health than other relationships.

*Marriage has the weakest relationship to the suicide rate.

*Married people live longer.

*In real life, “married sex” is actually the most satisfying.

*Children benefit more from an intact marriage.  


Dr. Don Eagar, former Director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies, adds that marriage serves as a buffer against stress and hardship and as a protection against physical and mental ill health.   So it would seem for our own benefit and for the benefit of our children and even for society as a whole, marriage is worth the effort it requires to be successful.  


How, then, do we make it work? Dr. Neil Clark Warren, a psychologist in California, interviewed 100 successful and happy couples and came up with 10 keys.  

1. Dream a dream: Together construct a realistic vision of what you want your marriage to be.

2. Get tough: Good marriages require strong, skilful and committed partners.

3. Maximise trust: Spouses need to have complete trust in each other

4. Get healthy: Good marriages require two emotionally healthy people.

5. Work on chemistry: Maximise passion and romance.

6. Learn to talk: Take the time to communicate and to listen

7. Work it through. Conflict is inevitable. Learn to handle it without walking away.

8. Negotiate a mutually satisfying sexual relationship: Build intimacy into your relationship.

9. Get connected: Recognise the role of children, family and friends.

10. Pursue spirituality: Find significance in your spiritual life together.      

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