We realize that these messages go into homes and offices throughout the world so following the “constitutions” of your country may be different from what we follow here in the U.S. But there is one goal that we all need to abide by —living out our marriages to the glory of God. That is why we challenge you to put together a Marriage Constitution to help you to better live out what you SAY you believe about marriage.
If you put it in writing and post it in a conspicuous place in your home it will always there to remind you (your children and others) what you vowed your marriage will always “stand for.”
Making a Marriage Constitution
Dr Gary Smalley and his wife Norma put together some statements to “form a more loving union” in the form of a Marriage Constitution. They gave permission to share it with others. So, the following is what they have written that you can adapt as your own:
”The following articles constitute our commitment to this love journey during sicknesses or in health, in prosperity or in poorer times, in conflict or in harmony and we will allow nothing to separate OUR love and devotion for each other.
WE AGREE TO:
1. Honor each other above all others and things.
Our highest devotion is to honor the Lord, receive his grace and follow his will. Below our relationship with God, we will honor each other as more important than relatives, children, friends, and others. We will establish honor as a way of life and maintain it everyday. We will honor each other in three ways. This includes deciding it, updating a list of positive qualities of each other, and expressing honor. We do this either in written or verbal forms as often as we each need. We will use emotional word pictures to explain how much we adore each other.
Also, we understand that the most important aspect of our relationship will always involve communication. By communication we mean to listen and understand each other as thoroughly as possible. Additionally, we accept each other’s uniqueness and greatly value our differences. Each article of our constitution has communication as its foundation.
2. Live in oneness.
We agree that oneness means to blend our two selves together into one loving relationship. Our unity candle display in our home clearly reminds us of our lifetime desire for oneness.
We will accomplish this by entering into LUV talk. [This refers to a method of resolving conflict taught by the Smalley’s that includes Listen, Understand, and Validate.] We use this whenever we disagree about anything touching our lives, marriage, family, or work. Our goal is to so understand each other’s feelings and needs that our solutions to any disagreements will be enjoyed and agreed upon by each other. Our main areas for oneness are:
- Finances, children, in-laws, sexual, spiritual, SRC [Smalley Relational Center], and health. Issues for oneness: How to maintain harmony and oneness during the changes taking place over the next several months.
3. Nurture each other’s needs on a daily basis.
We both understand that a minimum of time to spend nurturing each other is around 20 minutes per day. This will not always be possible. But we can ask each other if our needs are being nurtured adequately. We have already discovered that:
- Norma’s main needs are as follows: tenderness from Gary, acceptance and valuing her uniqueness. Plus she needs to live in an environment that is safe, orderly, and honest.
- Gary’s main needs are as follows: sharing spontaneous fun times with Norma. Also he needs to have Norma share in Gary’s dreams as a co-laborer, and praying together daily.
Just a reminder to us: the general needs of most people are:
- Touch, Listening for understanding, Spiritual oneness, Praise, Acceptance of uniqueness, Tenderness, and Sharing fun activities.
4. Repair any damage to our relationship “before the sun goes down.“
Normal life will include some actions or statements that are misunderstood or exaggerated from time to time. Anger may occur and it will be reflected by fear, frustration, or hurt feelings within one or both of us. We agree to find our best methods to repair and renew an honoring and harmonious relationship daily.
Our main Methods up to date are:
- We will admit our wrongs. And we seek forgiveness from each other when needed as soon as possible.
- We will each express our forgiveness when needed from the other.
- We both agree to take 100% responsibility for maintaining harmony between us. To do this we will keep our anger levels toward each other to the lowest possible levels each day.
- If deadlocked, we agree to meet with our 9-1-1 group. We will do this after praying together and waiting upon God’s grace to solve our unresolved situations. We agree that either of us can call our “9-1-1” group. At that point we will schedule a meeting on or before 48 hours of deadlock.
We’re thankful that Dr Smalley and his wife, Norma openly shared own their Marriage Constitution. We challenge you to prayerfully consider making your own.
We know that not everyone has marriage partners that will participate in this way. And for that we grieve with you. We pray that the Lord will help your marriage to enter into this type of relationship. But for those who have partners who will do this we challenge you to do so.
Beyond Making a Marriage Constitution
In closing, please know that we have several articles on our web site in the Communication Tools topic to help you with this mission and others.
The Bible tells us, “Where there is no vision the people cast off restraint.” That can be especially true in marriage. If we don’t purpose to agree on certain goals and standards for living out our marriages, we can more easily get ourselves into all kinds of trouble.
We hope that you’ll reach for that which God has for you in marriage. God cares VERY MUCH how we live out our married lives. We are to be a “light” to attract others to Him along with His ways of living. We encourage you to call upon Him and use that which He provides to help you and your spouse.
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International put this document together.
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Filed under: Marriage Messages