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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Toast to Our Children in the Blessing of Marriage

Weddings are a wonderful opportunity for friends and family to gather, put aside their differences, and focus on the happiness of two people united in love and their new chapter in life. As parents, we can only hope the nervous bride and groom can focus on the service enough to get anything out of its message. The Pastor gave some very important messages for any of us striving for a successful and lasting relationship.

People often view their partner as the missing piece needed to make them whole. We cannot view ourselves as an incomplete puzzle with our partner as that missing piece. It sounds romantic to speak poetic like that but to take it literally puts the partner in the position to feel pressured and in part responsible for the other person's happiness. We are not a possession of one another.

The secret of a healthy relationship is to not say to ourselves, "Am I loved?", but rather "Am I loving?To continually question whether we are loved does nothing but put the other person in the position to feel tested and having to prove his/her love. We are told that love is a verb which is very true. To love is an action but we have to stop interpreting every little annoying thing our spouse does as failing us in some way. That "if he loved me he wouldn't be so thoughtless" or "if he loved me he would already know that without me having to tell him".  That pattern of thinking adds to our own insecurity which soon puts a wedge between two people. Insecurity becomes very draining to any type of relationship and the end result is the desire to escape.

To ask ourselves whether we are loving forces us to observe our behavior and how we must appear to that other person. It puts us outside of ourselves in a better position to focus on where our energy is being spent, are we focusing more on giving or receiving.  

There are often occasions that we are up against the wall and finally realize that we just have to "accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference". Once you fully accept "it is what it is" a tremendous burden will be lifted, and you'll be amazed how much better you feel.

When two people both hold their ground over their differences, emotions tend to escalate and things just get worse. Whether the other person is "wrong" or not isn't the point. The point is that the only thing we can really change is our attitude about a situation. 

Too often we expect our partner to behave as we would in a given situation. It is almost like we wish that person to be a version of ourselves. It is much easier to find fault in someone else or the circumstances of a situation than to stand back and take a hard look at ourselves. It takes work and an open mind to seek self-improvement and self-enlightenment without the defense mechanisms of denial and projection standing in the way.  You'll get much farther with communication if you make an effort to build up that person rather than tear down. The two words you should try not to use are "never" and "always". Those words immediately put the other person on the defensive which can easily send the conversation downhill rather quickly.

TRY TO ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT YOUR PARTNER IS A GIFT. Everything about what makes that person a unique individual is now yours to share and vice versa. Obviously, those traits are what each person fell in love with in the first place. Yet it is so easy to loose focus on any of that once the honeymoon phase is past and life settles into an everyday routine with all the pressures and worries of reality. Make a point to regularly stand back and appreciate this person who actually wants to share a life with you. Once you realize that this person standing before you is a gift from God everything about them becomes more amazing and something to treasure.

Everyone has their own beliefs in the existence of a power greater than ourselves. Relationships are so much easier and stronger when both partners share in those convictions. The world doesn't revolve around us and those who share the security of seeking a higher power for strength and guidance relieve themselves of the drain of worrying about that which is beyond our control.

THE RING IS A SIGN OF THE LOVE AND FIDELITY OF THE ONE WHO GIVES IT. That ring was placed on the finger by your partner. Don't think its meaning is simply a love that never ends. It represents the commitment, love and faithfulness of your spouse to you! The wedding rings are never taken off because we're to see it as an ongoing reminder of the promise made to us by that other person.

The tears and emotions flooding through every parent who has witnessed the most memorable, important event in the lives of their children can be impossible to put into words. Years of images topple over one another in a flash of memory as we symbolically hand over our children to begin a life outside of our own.

So now it is time to turn the page and begin another chapter in this book we call life. 

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