Strong and lasting marriage

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Family Matters

Thomas Kulanjiyil, PsyD, PhD, is a founding member of PARIVAR International. He currently serves on the faculty of College of DuPage. He is co-editor of the book, “Caring for the South Asians-Counseling South Asians in the West.” Dr. Kulanjiyil can be reached at tk@parivarinterntional.org. For any personal or family issues contact Parivar Family Helpline:(877)-743-5711.

By Thomas Kulanjiyi
What Makes a Marriage Strong and Lasting? There is no easy recipe to strong and lasting marriage. However, there are three elements that are fundamental to any marriage. They are mutual love, hope, and forgiveness. 

Love: Marriage requires deliberate commitment to love and to care for each other. It is a kind of love that looks for the best interest of the other partner. St. Paul describes this kind of a love in the following manner: “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant, or rude…It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.” Love binds the spouses for life. There are many expressions of love. Sexual intimacy is one of the basic expressions of marital love. Sexual relationship is beautiful and good within the marriage relationship, but it is destructive outside of that relationship.  We are to be sexually pure within marriage. There are  other tangible expressions of love as well such as giving a gift to your spouse on special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries, taking your spouse out for dinner and finding out what’s his/her favorite food to eat, taking a vacation together, validating, affirming and appreciating your spouse.

Hope: In a marriage, you will discover more and more of your spouse’s imperfections, and limitations, even as he/she finds yours. However, you are to work through them patiently and gradually. The temptation to walk out of marriage because of difficulties arising within marriage is too widespread in our culture today. Keeping hope alive in marriage can make your marriage work in the midst of great problems that can ordinarily beset any marriage. Hope-focused and forgiveness-based marriage enrichment interventions enhance positive communication bet-ween couples and improve relationships.
Forgiveness: Forgiveness has a healing effect on marriage, while unforgiving attitude can destabilize or destroy it ultimately. It is divine to forgive and it takes much humility to forgive. True love does not keep an account of the wrong doings of once spouse, but forgives all things. In a real marriage, there are a lot of areas where you are called to forbear, to forgive, to compromise and to extend grace to one another.

As I wind up this thought, let me share with you a beautiful poem I have come across, written by an unknown author:
It’s the everyday choices that you make:
To do what is best for your partner in life…
To respect the commitment of being husband and wife…
To be still and just listen -not have to be heard…
To forgive and forget and not need “the last word”…
To admit you’re not perfect -you’ll both make mistakes…
To support the decisions that each of you make…
To be willing to laugh when a day has been rough…
To divide up the burdens when life becomes tough…
To support one another when things are too hurried…
To comfort each other when stress keeps you worried…
To be willing to cherish your true love and friend
with a joy and compassion that will never end. 

As You celebrate each year together:
May you always have Understanding to make your marriage work,
Commitment to make your marriage grow
And Love to make your marriage happy!

 

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