Episode 26: Healthy Marriage

08.26.21 | Making History Podcast


    Questions we ask
    1. How did Wellspring come to be?

    2. Why is marriage so important in our parenting?
    3. After heated discussions or disagreements, how do we reconcile well in our marriages and how much of that is important for our kids to witness?
    4. What are some ideas on ways we can keep our marriage a priority amidst busy seasons?
    5. What do we do when mom and dad don’t see eye to eye on a parenting decision?
    6. How do we set our kids up for success in their future marriages through our example?
    • Jeff and Lora started Wellspring Coaching & Training in 2010 after Jeff had a career in vocational ministry and Lora worked as a therapist. They work with teams, couples, and individuals to find paths of healing, personal growth & development, and spiritual formation so they can live in a way where they guard their hearts for the purpose of being able to give their hearts.
    • Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. | Prov. 4:23
    • Jeff emphasizes: There ARE marriages that need to end—There are toxic, unsafe marriages wherein divorce is justified. But in general, that’s not God’s plan for marriage. In our culture, it’s become normal to find an excuse to get out of a marriage. The reality is, all of us have moments of unhealthiness in our marriage. The more we can embrace that, the more comfort we feel in addressing it. A marriage that has some bumps isn’t weird.
    • John Gottman, a world-renowned researcher and therapist, has narrowed marital problems down to 4 key identifiers which, when present consistently as predictable patterns in a marriage, spell trouble:
      • Criticism: assassinating the character of the other, criticising what they do and don’t do, etc.
      • Contempt: devaluing your spouse, sarcasm, non-verbal negative communication, disrespect
      • Defensiveness: unwillingness to recognize an individual’s part in the situation
      • Stonewalling: shutting down, checking out emotionally and/or physically, refusing to engage.
    • The antidotes to the four negative patterns listed above:
      • Instead of practicing criticism, make requests. So much criticism comes out of a fair need, or an expectation—and we become critical when that isn’t being met.
      • Instead of being contemptuous, show appreciation and respect. The little things are what seems to matter most, and something as simple as showing appreciation.
      • Instead of defensiveness, learn to accept responsibility.
      • Instead of stonewalling, learn to self-soothe by identifying your hurt, and then commit to engaging.
    • A healthy marriage provides security and stability to a family unit. A healthy marriage is a model to your kids of how to have good relationships—you set the example for trust, for talking about things, for having and expressing feelings. A healthy marriage provides a child freedom to be a kid, and enjoy age-appropriate things.
    • An unhealthy marriage, which is filled with tension and consistent conflict, causes a child to become more concerned with providing stability in the home than they are with playing and other age-appropriate behaviors.
    • Create an environment in your home where your kids know that if mom and dad are having a conflict, they don’t have to fix it. This is a gift you can give your children.
    • It is ok for your kids to see and hear you and your spouse have conflict—meaning two different opinions, not anything frightening or violent—IF you know how to have conflict in a healthy way.
    • Take time to be a safe place with your child if they do see you and your spouse have a moment of anger. Acknowledge when you mess up and respond poorly. Let them see you humble yourself, and apologize. Bringing reassurance is such an important part of parenting after conflict.
    • Recognize the weight of your words in front of your kids.
    • Kids aren’t looking for, and don’t need, perfect parents. They need humble parents.
    • Families today are busy. Carefully consider what you add to your family schedule—set clear priorities first, and then decide what fits around those priorities. Do you need to do a ruthless examination of your calendar? Are you managing your calendar, or is the calendar managing you?
    • Prioritize your marriage in the midst of the busyness. Something is going to get sacrificed… and you cannot let that thing be your marriage.
      • Set a time to talk about the logistics for each week, and avoid conflict.
      • Set and look forward to regular date nights. Make sure your marriage is a priority.
      • Touch base daily, talk about what you’ve experienced. Be intentional.
      • Be in a small group together.
    • It’s important that parents discuss discipline together. If one parent disciplines more harshly than the other in a way that causes disagreement, it’s important that you create a system that works for you to de-escalate the situation. Jeff and Lora tell us that Lora could squeeze Jeff’s forearm, and it would be his signal that the two of them needed to go in another room to discuss. It allowed Jeff to cool off before he parented out of anger, and for both parents to share what they saw and how they perceived the situation.
    • Take the time to hear why your spouse is disciplining the way they are.
    • Find trusted couples with whom you can discuss your parenting decisions or problems with a child’s behavior, especially if they’re farther along in their parenting journey. Their objectiveness can help you discern how to move forward, if you feel like you’re stuck.
    • So often, ugly moments in parenting can come from the mom or dad’s internal fear and shame. It’s important for parents to self-care and be self-aware as they parent. Pay more attention to your inner world before you focus on your child’s outer world.
    • Work hard on your marriage, because what you do and what you have is a model for your kids.
    • Instill in your children biblical truths about marriage at a young age. Talk to them about what it means to be intentional about choosing a spouse.
    • Recognize that you’re leaving a legacy, and cast a vision for long-term marriages with your children. Marriage was God’s idea—He created it. How can you honor God in your marriages?
    1. Wellspring Coaching & Training
    2. Dr. John Gottman
    3. Family Dynamics & Rhythm Topical Index