Marital Love by Les Hollon
Marital Love: A Contract and a Covenant
This introduction to pre-marital counseling reminds us that marital love is a unique kind of love. It is an acknowledgement by two parties that life can be best lived together, rather than apart. The marriage relationship is built on both a contract and a covenant and the spirit of the covenant enables two people to live in a right relationship with each other, a relationship held together by passion, friendship, and commitment.
Marital Love: The Family We Come From & the Family We Form
The family we come from is our first reference point for how to (or how not to) build a marriage. Throughout our adult life we continue to understand the family we have come from and whether or not we have “unfinished business” related to our family of origin. For instance, growing up how did your family communicate? What habits or patterns do you want to carry forward into the family you create and what do you not want to repeat?
It is true that when you marry, you are marrying into your partner’s heritage as well. Premarital counseling is designed to be a safe space for you and your partner to talk about these issues.
Marital Love: Our Work Life
On average at least one-third of our lives is spent working. Therefore, it is important that a couple entering marriage be able to talk about their work life. Your work is where you get a pay check but it can also be where you find great personal fulfillment. What do you want to accomplish through your work life?
It is important to recognize the talents God has given each person in the marriage and to continue to develop the abilities and skills and opportunities to express that God-given capacity. Therefore, if one person in the marriage has the need to geographically move in order to keep growing through their work life, that person needs to ensure that his or her partner will also have opportunities to keep growing.
Marital Love: Our Finances
More than one-half of marriages that end in divorce will list finances as a lead issue. However, this is a misnomer. It is actually the inability to communicate shared financial values that is the problem. When it comes to money in a marriage, both partners need to be aware and have the capacity to talk through their finances.
While one person in the marriage may take the lead on managing the finances, both people need to stay engaged in the process. Together you need to find the financial rhythm for your expenditures, to share and put into words what you want as individuals and build trust as a couple. Then, check in with each other at each stage of life and update your priorities based on your values. Then when one of you makes a financial mistake, extend grace in the relationship. All the energy you put into communicating and planning your finances can create marital intimacy.
Marital Love: Sexual Intimacy
Sexual intimacy includes intercourse as a physical expression of our passion – a response to physical surges. It also includes more subtle expressions of intimacy. We live in a sexually addicted culture where the body and sexual images are used to help sell products. God wants us to have healthy expressions of love. To use the good of sex without getting side-tracked by the unhealthy. God wants our marital love to be a mutual submission to each other and for us to have open communication.
Even in marriage a husband or wife does not own his or her partner’s body. Wives and husbands need healthy boundaries. Communicate what you need and like in a way that adds intimacy to the relationship and builds trust.
Marital Love: Spirituality
We are spiritual beings made in the image of God. Our spiritual life is like a funnel. The wider our funnel, the more blessings we allow to flow into our lives. When we worship, read the Bible, and serve others together we experience spiritual intimacy. In this session you will learn more about an Eight-Fold Pathway that you as a couple can embrace to experience spiritual intimacy.
Both members in the marriage need to grow so the relationship does not become imbalanced. When a growth gap happens it can be costly to the couple. Again, God’s love and blessing is always coming but how wide or narrow your funnel is influences how much of that blessing you receive.
Marital Love: Planning The Wedding
Preparing for the wedding is not the same as preparing for the marriage. During the first premarital counseling session Pastor Les makes a commitment with the couple that if one person decides he or she needs to push the pause button or call off the wedding – even after a wedding date has been set, then they will do that.
Whether a couple writes their own marital vows or uses the traditional/heritage vows, the wedding needs to be a spiritual experience that includes God. Whatever the size or style of wedding, it is an expression of who you are and the pastor needs to be committed to help facilitate what you as a couple want.
Form a budget and stay within it so the wedding event does not control you and make sure the wedding preparation is a time of intimacy for you as a couple. Whatever decisions you make about the components of the wedding: prelude, entrances, seating, children, the blessing, music the wedding party, the homily, vows, etc. Enjoy it. Nothing else should still the show. The wedding is a parable for your relationship. It is a memory that hopefully lasts a lifetime.