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How to tell if you have a successful marriage 

Ike and Linda Nnene challenge us to examine the success of our marriages.

Marriage success can be defined in several ways. It can be looked upon more as a state of mind of both husband and wife than a measurable outcome or tangible result. Success can mean different things to different people of different ages and cultures. 
The most fundamental issue about marriage success is remaining married. This comes at a time that the divorce rates of up to 60% have been recorded in the western world. 
Marriage success can be determined by examining how a couple is faring in certain key areas. We believe that the more a couple can advance and excel in these things, the more successful they will be. We have identified ten such ‘states’: 
Understanding, Unity, Unselfish, Unbridled Joy, Unashamed, Uninhibited, Unstoppable, Unshakable, Unique identity / Uniqueness, Upshot.
Understanding - An essential ingredient of an enduring marriage. He understands her, and she understands him. They appreciate what they need to say, how they need to act and what they need to be thinking. Understanding enhances communication, allows for a conducive home environment with less conflict and more agreement. Peace is the natural consequence and both partners feel at ease.

“In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.” Proverbs 10:13 KJV.     
“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” 1 Peter 3:7 KJV

Unity - Unity is the ultimate goal of marriage.  ... ‘And the two shall become one flesh’. A united couple see themselves as one. No rivalry. No competition. Each one seeing him or herself as part of the other with a solid commitment to build up and support. The successful couple will therefore seek to achieve agreement on the major issues in their lives. No action will be carried out without agreement.

“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so, then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Mark 10:7-9 KJV.

It is key that the couple do not allow external influences including family and friends to come between them.
Unselfish marriage - When each partner is thinking first of his spouse’s needs and seeking ways to meet these needs through love, sacrifice & where necessary, compromise. The unending pursuit of your spouse’s wellbeing will create an atmosphere of caring and mutuality that will accrue to both partners.

“Nevertheless, let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” Ephesians 5:33 KJV

It is clear that the investment of time, effort and resources in taking care of your spouse’s needs will yield dividends in reciprocal action by their spouse. 
Unbridled joy - Joy is the emotion evoked by possessing what one desires. This also means delight, pleasure and happiness. You know you have a successful marriage when every remembrance of your spouse fills you with thankfulness and you celebrate what a blessing you have received by being with them.
“Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.”  Proverbs 5:18-19 KJV
“Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.”  Proverbs 31:28-30 KJV
When you arrive at that place you realise that your spouse represents everything you could want in a partner, that fills you with gratitude. It is true to assert that couples are much more likely to have joy in their marriage if they commit to having joy as individuals. We should bring the best version of ourselves every day to our marriage.
Unashamed - Being completely comfortable and at ease with your spouse is greatly desirable. This allows physical intimacy to flourish. Being unashamed, you recognise that you are not on display to be judged and this gives you confidence. While it is true that past hurts and pains can make one feel ashamed and insecure, the love that a couple have for each other will bring about healing and restoration. Genesis 2:25 - Adam & Eve were naked but unashamed 
Uninhibited marriage - This implies that nothing should be held back. Any couple in this state are willing to share what they desire as they know that what they are doing will be accepted by their spouse. When the couple achieve this level of freedom they are entirely comfortable with each other. There is passion and unwavering commitment to give one’s best as a lover, confidant, and partner.

“My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies. Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.” Song of Solomon 2:16-17 KJV
Unstoppable marriage - The state of doing things together and achieving great results. You refuse to be discouraged and refuse to be dissuaded. You keep strong, and confident that your future is great and desirable. This couple keeps moving forward. They set their sights on goals and have the grit and energy to bring it to pass. A couple who have grasped the issue of power of agreement can harness this in every situation to deal with challenges in their lives. 

“Again, I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them by my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 18:19 KJV
Unshakable marriage – This means unbreakable. You are able to remain together and strong in spite of what is coming against you. The hallmark of a successful marriage is not that problems do not arise, but the way they deal with it. Major issues like childlessness, illness, financial strains, issues within the home, children, bereavement and employment/career challenges. It merits mention that in times of stress, one of the two partners may be ‘stronger’ than the other.

“They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.” Psalms 125:1  KJV

"Carry each other’s burdens and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2 NIV
Uniqueness / Unique identity - When in a successful marriage, a man or woman gets to be seen as part of a couple not a lone player. See yourselves as being together in all things while at the same time not losing your own personal identity. Women are wives but they are also individuals, daughters, mothers, sisters, friends, professionals etc. They should not abandon these valuable associations but should allow their relationships to blossom because of the confidence of who they are and the solid marriage they have. Likewise, men should not withdraw from the other roles existing in their life but should fulfil them through their role as husband. It is crucial that husband and wife are dealt with by others, with the full acknowledgement of their status , and not treated like singles.  When married we need to withdraw from any roles or situations that are not compatible with our being married. 
Upshot - This means the end result outcome, aftermath or product. These are the goals and objectives that we can pursue and achieve as a couple. It means the outcome, the conclusion or the legacy - children or life’s work. This is a very visible outcome. It also includes wealth, status and material things. Good marriages bring forth good homes where the husband and wife are likely to achieve success in their career goals, and children have a greater likelihood of being settled, stable, and doing well throughout their lives.

“A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children.”  Proverbs 13:22a KJV

“She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.”  Proverbs 31:21-23 KJV

Marriage success is not just a final destination, but a state that every couple can find themselves in every day. 
Success goes beyond material possessions and career accomplishments. Couples may have millions of pounds in assets and attained the pinnacle in professional and public life but can have a marriage that is not healthy and will not stand the test of time. 
Again, success does not depend on the length of time married, but rather the condition of the relationship. The more you can manifest these qualities, the more successful your relationship is likely to be. It does require an understanding of what individual attributes of husband and wife make marriage work better. These include love, dedication and keeping God at the centre of your marriage.
Successful marriage celebrates every stage of the journey, as husband and wife see themselves as partners who are inseparable, together forever, owning all things in common, giving sacrificially and loving unconditionally, taking on challenges with confidence and facing the future with boldness.
Having a successful marriage has major benefits for all involved and society at large. Let us set our sights on having the most energetic, blissful, rewarding and mutually satisfying marriages that we could possibly have.

The image above is courtesy of pixabay.com

Ike and Linda Nnene 640CFIke and Linda Nnene live in Norwich and worship at Soul Church.  Ike is a GP and Linda is a teacher at CNS School, and they are both passionate gospel musicians.  They have a passion for marriage, family, wellness and personal development training.

They have a blog called Power and Beauty -  www.ikeandlinda.org

To find out more e-mail  enquiries@ikeandlinda.org 


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