I recently read an article that quoted Anouk Turksma as saying, “Being abroad shows people their ‘naked’ marriage without the web of family, long-time friends and a known place in society around it”. All the other expats out there would probably agree.
- (of a person) bare, nude, stripped, undressed
- (of something such as feelings or behaviour) undisguised, plain, unadorned, unvarnished, unqualified, stark.
In either case, there is no hiding. Being naked means that what you would prefer to cover up is visible. The question is what do we do about what we see?
Fit or Flabby?
You have to decide what you want your marriage to look like. Do you want it to be fit or flabby? Roy and I have been married for over 27 years; we were married at the respective ages of 21 and 20. Twenty-seven years later we had piled on a few pounds and don’t look like we used to when we were first wed. Last year we stopped ignoring the problem and started investigating the best way to do something about it. We ignored the fact that many people thought we should just live with the way we were and accept that we would get flabbier the older we get. We are still a long way from having the figures we want but we are certainly happy with the improvements. The progress we have seen has given us the incentive to keep going.
Many people treat marriage the same way. People expect the relationship to sour a little to get a little flabby around the middle the longer it lasts. The lie is that we can do nothing about it. Thankfully your ‘naked’ marriage doesn’t have to look terrible! Our marriage has improved considerably over the years, that is because we have deliberately kept it in trim. Yours can too!
Fit or Flabby?
Is your marriage fit or flabby?
Are there areas you disguise?
Do you wear a smile to hide the sadness?
Is your mouth full of lies?
Do you focus on the stuff you own
& hope that that weighs in?
Are you together or alone?
Is your marriage fat or thin?
Naked Marriage #Diet Tip 1
Some fellow dieters might remember the phrase ‘A moment on the lips a lifetime on the hips’. It is a good principle to follow in marriage if you don’t want to see curves in the wrong places. What you say has a powerful effect. We often speak words we expect our partner to digest but we would struggle if they said the same things to us. It is important to build your spouse up with encouraging words (not sickly sweet flattery or bitter name calling).
Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Naked Marriage #Diet Tip 2
A naked marriage is one which has been stripped of its support network, a marriage without embellishments. Taking a closer look at your relationship can help you see where you need to concentrate your efforts.
‘Can you pinch more than an inch?’
All diets usually start out with some sort of measuring system. People either stand on scales and weigh themselves or they grab their tape measure. Some people even go to the extreme of using callipers to measure their fat ratio. Using an accurate measure is a much better and more scientific approach than the method I used to use. I remember that I once drew myself, but the result was not an accurate reflection of what I looked like. It wasn’t that I couldn’t draw, I can! The problem was that I had exaggerated all my faults and ended up with a caricature rather than a self-portrait.
Use an accurate measure
Men and women can approach marriage in a similar fashion. Rather than taking an accurate measurement of the condition of their relationship they resort to the old and unreliable self-portrait method. When you use this method, you take one of two approaches. You either look at yourself too optimistically or too pessimistically. That is why couples who go for marriage counselling often answer questions about their marriage so differently that you wonder if they are actually married to each other.
- Are you exaggerating the flaws or ignoring them?
- Are you placing all the blame on your spouse?
Naked Marriage #Diet Tip 3
When we live and work in a fast-moving society, it is easy to neglect the important things. People who skip breakfast don’t realise the negative impact on their metabolism or the increased temptation to snack during the day. So what has that got to do with marriage?
Many marriages are unhealthy because the couple live as ‘married singles’. Their lives go in two different directions and are so fast paced that it can be difficult to find time for one another. They skip ‘breakfast’ by rushing off to work without acknowledging the presence of their spouse.
- Try getting up 10 minutes earlier and spending time talking over breakfast. (Try not to make this a list of complaints about everything you have to do that day).
- You might be a bit bleary eyed but investing time in praying for the day ahead is well worth it. Prayer is a great way to launch into the working day.
- Don’t leave home without giving each other a hug and a kiss.
- Make it a daily habit of expressing your love. Instead of ‘Bye, see you later’, try telling your spouse you love them and will miss them.
Many couples struggle to get on the same page in marriage. Whether you are newlyweds or have been married for years Bringing Worlds Together will help you blend together. Expect to learn more about your spouse, gain insight and be challenged.
Are you ready to move closer rather than drift apart?
Available in print and ebook formats.
No-one enters marriage expectation free. Adjusting Expectations helps identify how expectations were formed and whether or not they were realistic. Most expectations need some adjustment; they are often too high but can also be set too low. The good news is expectations can be reset!
Find out what you should expect and what God expects from you.
Available in print and ebook formats.