“If you greet your mate with love and a smile, you’ll find love and something to smile about in return.” That’s great advice! Smiling is something important to do frequently in your marriage. But there are a lot of other important expressions and attitudes that are important too. Revealing the attitudes that each of you will bring into your marriage is something you each need to know.
Your attitude is the position you take and the opinion you have on any subject. It is the way you see life and how you think it should be. Your attitude is formed by your feelings, your thoughts, what has been modeled for you, and your experiences in life.
Revealing the Attitudes
The environment in which you grew up has played a major role in the development of your attitude about life. And the more you know about one another and your families of origin, the more you will understand what makes you who you are and why you each see life the way you do.
Your attitude about life affects everything you think, feel, say, and do. If you see life as a battleground, then each waking moment is a struggle. As a result you must always be prepared to defend yourself.
How do you see life? How about your spouse-to-be? And how does your attitude concerning work, play, and marriage fit in with the attitudes of your spouse-to-be? How are they similar? And how are they different?
How do your attitudes affect the way you act or respond to each other? What roles will each of you have in this new relationship? What is absolutely unacceptable to you and your spouse-to-be? And what about your families? Do they believe there is a certain way men and women should be, act, or live?
Revealing the Attitudes of Your Fiancé
Men, when you look at your fiancé, what do you see? When she becomes your wife, what do you think her role should be? Do you see your wife-to-be as a housekeeper, or a cook? Or do you see her as the person responsible for the laundry and dish washing? If you think of her as a housekeeper, then we can tell you that the house had better be clean! But if you see your wife as your sweetheart, your friend, a person to share your life with, then the cleanliness of the house will not be your primary focus.
Women, when you look at your spouse-to-be, what do you see? When he becomes your husband, how do you view his role? Do you see your husband-to-be as a provider, or lawn keeper? Is he the person responsible for the care, upkeep, and maintenance of the cars and house? If your attitude toward your husband is that he is to be a Mr. Fix-It, then we can tell you that the automobile and the house better be in good working order. You will probably have a “honey-do” list for him most of the time. But if you see your husband as your lover, companion, and friend, it will not be a major event if something does not get done around the house.
Attitudes Set the Stage
Your attitude sets the stage for your life’s journey. It plays a major role in shaping what your marriage relationship will become. If you greet your mate with love and a smile, you will find love and something to smile about in return. The attitude you choose, develop, and cultivate will determine how the events of your life affect you. And they will also affect the expectations you and your mate have of one another. When you choose to express yourself in a caring manner, express interest in your mate, you send a message of peace and harmony.
The first four minutes you spend with your mate in the morning and the last four minutes you spend with your mate in the evening set the stage for how the rest of your time together will go for that day. The way you greet and part from your mate plays an important role in the building of your relationship.
Attitudes at Home
As husband and wives come together at the end of the day, they frequently bring home their problems and troubles from work and the outside world. Give yourselves time to adjust from work to family. Otherwise, you will transfer tension from job to home. Have a special four minutes of greeting when you walk through the door after work and save any discussion of the problems and cares of the world until you have had fifteen to thirty minutes of rest.
Home should be a haven, a resting place, a place you look forward to going. These first four minutes will help you set the stage for keeping your relationship open for communication and understanding.
Questions Revealing Attitudes and Opinions
[Make two copies of the worksheet below —one for each of you. Answer T for “true” to the statements which describe the most common situation for you. Answer F for “false” to the statements which describe a situation which is seldom true. Do your work alone, then come together as a couple and discuss your answers.]
1. I want my friends and family to feel free to come over anytime without an invitation.
2. I think women are more emotional than men.
3. I believe the man and woman should share equally in providing income for the family.
4. I think it is important for both of us to be present at our children’s activities.
5. I would like to live close to my parents.
6. I believe that women are more family oriented than men.
7. I think husbands and wives should kiss good morning, good night, hello, and good-bye.
8. I think it is okay to jump from job to job if you can make a little more money by doing it.
9. I want a night out with my friends at least once a week.
10. I think it is okay after marriage to see friends of the opposite sex in the evening time.
11. I think grocery shopping is woman’s work.
12. It really bothers me to be late or to leave at the last minute.
13. I like things clean, orderly, and in the right place.
14. My father and father had a happy marriage.
15. I do not believe it is important for women to get a good education.
16. I see changes in my life as a time for growth.
17. I need to have private time on a regular basis.
18. I believe it is okay to have a few beers or a drink or two in the evening.
19. I believe that marriage is forever.
20. It is important to me to pursue my own career.
21. I believe that the woman’s place is in the home.
22. In our marriage, I think we should each have agreed upon household duties.
23. I believe it is okay for men and women to have a hobby or sport they can enjoy without their mates.
24. It is important to me that you pursue your own career.
25. I believe it is wrong to get drunk.
26. I think it is alright to show affection in public.
27. I believe that life is unfair most of the time.
28. I want to be in close contact with my parents by calling or visiting every day.
29. I believe that alcohol/drug usage creates problems in a marriage.
30. Vacations together as a family are important.
31. After marriage, I want to go on vacations without my mate.
32. I prefer living spontaneously to having a definite schedule each day.
33. I prefer not to eat leftovers.
34. Birthdays and holidays are important to me.
35. The wife should feel free to work after the children are in school all day.
36. I am a risk taker.
37. I want my mate to go to church with me.
38. After marriage, I want to have vacations with our families of origin.
39. I would be upset if I had to live in a home that was a mess all or most of the time.
40. Children should not talk back to their parents.
41. We should have separate checking accounts.
42. I believe men have a great desire for sex than women.
43. I would be upset if meals were not served on time.
44. I like doing housework, i.e., washing, ironing, vacuuming.
45. I think I am an easy person to talk to.
46. It would bother me if my mate made more money than I did.
47. I think men should make more money than women.
48. I don’t believe women should travel alone.
49. Big families are happier families.
50. It is very important to me that we are financially successful.
The above worksheet and commentary on Attitudes comes from the workbook, Getting Ready for Marriage Workbook: How to Really Get to Know the Person You’re Going to Marry, written by Jerry D. Hardin and Dianne C. Sloan, published by Thomas Nelson Publishers. This workbook uses interactive exercises to help couples discover the roots of their beliefs, to sight potential problem areas, and learn how to successfully work through problems. [NOTE: It is also available in Spanish.]
Couples are encouraged to make their own covenants in specific areas such as financial matters, resolving conflict, religious orientation, and family planning to build a strong marriage partnership. They’re also encouraged to work through this material with a pastor or counselor or mentoring couple in case they need to talk more about the issues in that section with someone more experienced and knowledgeable.
We recommend that you pick up a copy of the book so you can take advantage of what they’ve prepared to help you for your upcoming marriage.
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