I spent a wonderful three-day weekend with my wife, accompanied by approximately 13 other couples interested in maintaining a healthy marriage. My wife and I knew all these couples through a church connection. The three-day seminar included all the information needed to strengthen and enhance a couple’s married life. Because I am not a teacher, I will not go into all the details about the many hours of lessons learned. One particular lesson did stand out in my mind, not so much that it was a lesson that I never practiced, but one that should be better practiced by anyone who expects their marriage to last.
Regarding the image of my Leather Strap Chest, I could tell you it was passed down to me, explaining how the chest first belonged to my great-grandmother. She stored her wedding dress inside of the chest, along with pictures of her husband who died young in the war. The chest is a priceless antique!
Another version explaining how I acquired the chest could go like this:
I was driving down the road and saw a garage sale. I saw the chest sitting next to a pile of old rusting tools, dried paint cans and other miscellaneous garage sale items. The chest was full of more garage sale junk. I bought the chest for a price that was next-to-nothing! I tried to restore it, but the lid, feet and handles just keep falling off! It’s barely worth the few bucks I paid for it!
Neither story would be a bad way to acquire that nice looking Leather Strap Chest, but the focus of this mental imagery is in the way I explain how it became mine. I would have to expect that the chest would be viewed differently depending on which story I tell.
The above lesson to be learned was this:
If I speak badly and disrespectfully of my spouse to others, it is very likely those people will have an image of my spouse that is unflattering, in a way that fits well, considering the way I negatively described her.
On the other hand I could elevate her in a way that supports her reputation in a positive way, telling others how wonderful she is, explaining how well-matched we are. I could describe her as a treasure that is priceless.
I want my wife to hear that I have said good things about her and to know that I advertise publicly my love and appreciation for her. By making efforts to do this in her presence as well, it offers a fountain of emotional support and affirmation.
It takes no rocket scientist to figure out that speaking in high praise of your spouse will strengthen a relationship. It’s a much better practice than trying to break one down.
~My wife, a licensed Marriage Family Therapist, has her master’s degree in psychology. We married in the year 1999 and I find it thrilling being married to a woman who understands the mechanics of a healthy relationship. We have supported our marriage by attending these types of events, always seeking to extract the best from our relationship.
While we are confident in the strength and integrity of our marriage, we feel it is important to keep the mechanics of our relationship well-oiled. It’s a bit like brushing your teeth, as soon as you stop or reduce the frequency, that’s when you are open for ugly decay!