Rules For A Happy Marriage
RULES? Who wants any stinkin’ rules for marriage. Isn’t this an attack against equality? An attack against women?
Well, how does any business or any organization succeed without rules? Would not the effect be disorder and confusion?
It’s interesting, the character, Guy, in the workbook faced such a concern with a co-worker. Dave was experiencing marital problems and confidentially talked with his boss about the matter. Listen in on the conversation in this excerpt from MARITAL HARMONICS – Part III of How to Date to Marry Workbook:
Julie and Dave, both intelligent, competent, professionals, were used to making critical decisions in the workplace, giving instructions and directing projects. As a result, in ensuing months the quarreling between them worsened as each insisted on their own way. Opposing ideas pitted them against each other. Neither wanting to yield.
As water from the shower barreled down over him, Dave agonized over what was going wrong. The love was still there, but an unexplainable undercurrent he couldn’t pinpoint was pulling at them. Briskly toweling off, Dave was angry with himself for his inability to decipher this destructive force undermining their marriage. He was so sure this time his marriage would work; he was worried.
Later at the office, his mind was focused once again on business, a welcome escape. Grabbing a cup of coffee he hurried to the Monday morning sales meeting. Facts, figures, forecasts and future tactics were highlighted because company market share was down. Major restructuring was taking place in order to position the company more strategically.
“We’re facing stiff competition in the marketplace,” Guy Andrews said in summary. “But with our quality products, hi-tech equipment, and trained professionals, we’re the best.” Turning, making eye contact with each in his audience, he said, “You’re the best!”
Applause thundered through the room. Guy Andrews, well built, immaculately dressed, distinguishingly handsome, with gray highlighting his temples, was quite a man. Vice president of Sales & Marketing for the past 17 years, he was a veteran. A pro. A leader. Not in the sense of a high-pressure, fast-talking hype man, but in his firm but fair, laidback manner, he always projected confidence, poise, and tact.
Highly personable, he embraced an open-door policy. Sales managers never felt threatened or intimidated in his presence. On the contrary, he was always a source of knowledge to them through skillful instruction and leadership. He motivated them through highlighting practical application of their talents, and he encouraged them to persevere. As they followed through, they achieved great success.
Dave had grown tremendously on the job under Guy’s management style, especially in problem-solving. He learned to get to the root of a problem by listening, by taking all factors into consideration and then taking decisive action for conflict resolution.
“If only it were this clear-cut at home,” Dave thought. Guy seemed to have it all. He and his wife, Terri, had been happily married for more than 30 years. Dave had watched them Friday night at the annual company dinner and could still see and feel their excitement with each other. They had successfully raised three children, who were now in their early twenties.
Their family life reflected the “ideal.” But how did they accomplish it? What was their secret?
Dave didn’t want to air his problems publicly, but he felt camaraderie toward Guy based on respect and trust. He knew anything said would be held in strict confidence.
Taking Guy aside, Dave asked, “How’d you do it? You and Terri seem to have the perfect marriage.”
Guy smiled a knowing smile and, laying his hand on Dave’s shoulder, said, “Dave, you have to work at marriage. It’s constant give and take. Disappointments, frustrations, and irritations are bound to come up.
The questions couples need answers to are: how can we prevent these from harming our marriage? How do we establish direction for the marriage? How do we cope with problems and setbacks successfully? How do we raise happy, well-adjusted children? How do husband and wife nurture love between them through the years? These and the multitude of other issues confronting families are easier to understand and resolve when you have sound, workable guidelines.”
Sensing Dave’s need, he continued, “I’d like to share some practical information with you.” But looking around, he said, “This isn’t the best time. Tell you what, bring your lunch tomorrow and let’s talk. I’ll share some interesting principles with you.”
At noon they found an unoccupied conference room. Dave was anxious to pick Guy’s brain. Closing the door Guy said, “Dave, I appreciate your favorable comments about my family. And I might add, well deserved. Terri and I have overcome and survived many trials and obstacles over the years to arrive at this point.
But really, the down times have been few in comparison to all the good times. Whatever it takes, a good marriage is worth it. Because nothing else of real substance can substitute for the love and support from a best friend and lover.
“Terri and I are very spiritual people. In fact, we often counsel couples on the approach to successful marriage as found in the most widely circulated book in all history. About three billion copies of this best-seller have been distributed in some 2,500 languages and dialects. It is said that 98 percent of the human family have access to this book in their own language. That book is the Bible.
“Whoa, the Bible?” Dave said incredulously, his brows arched suspiciously as he leaned back. Oh, no. That will NEVER work. I’m not particularly religious.
“Hear me out, will you Dave? Guy continued, “Based upon its authority, we explain the basis for successful marriage in a concept called Marital Harmonics. You see, the basic structure of marriage is that when man and woman marry, they become one flesh, with one common purpose–to establish a cohesive, happy family unit.
Marital Harmonics explains how unity is achieved in this arrangement through fulfillment of assigned ‘complementary roles’ designated to husband and wife–complementary roles that are based on unselfish principled love that never fails.”
“That’s quite a heavy statement, pal,” Dave said.
“Yes, it is,” Guy continued. “And let me show you why.” Reaching for a pencil and pad he began to draw blocks of an organizational chart. “On this organizational chart, each family member is designated a specific role in which to contribute and grow to his full potential. However, he is always working with other ‘team members’ for the betterment of the family.
It’s much like a well-structured business where all the employees work together as a team. But at the same time, everyone recognizes that one of them has priority leadership responsibility. And that that one person makes final decisions for the company. Other team members accept and support this arrangement for the good of the company as a whole.
“To illustrate this, let’s establish an imaginary company.” He wrote XYZ Inc. above the chart outline and handed the pad and pencil to Dave. “Now, suppose you’ve been selected CEO. How would you structure your new company? Would you do everything yourself?”
“Of course not,” Dave began. “The way I see it, the CEO has the most weighty, responsible position. But in order to discharge his directorship successfully, he needs to surround himself with competent people who are just as capable, often more capable than himself in specific areas. People he respects and who will perform at a high level of proficiency in their field of expertise. And, very importantly, trustworthy people he can consult for vital input in making major decisions.”
“Because you are CEO, would you think these people inferior?” Guy asked.
“Of course not,” Dave answered. “They’d be the top men and women in their field!”
Leaning back in his chair, clasping his fingertips together, Guy probed further. “Okay. Now in your role as CEO, what leadership characteristics do you feel you should demonstrate toward the other team members?”
“Well, I should be people-oriented, decisive, motivational, empathetic, a problem-solver, and disciplinarian. My job would be to direct company business through effective management skills, eliciting the best from my people for the success of the company.”
“But, what if your style were harsh, domineering, non-communicative, and restrictive. How would that affect the company as a whole?” asked Guy.
“It would certainly affect company morale,” Dave answered. “No one can excel under such negative circumstances. The company would probably suffer in the long run.”
“Here’s another scenario,” continued Guy. “The VP of Operations decides he doesn’t agree with your management style. He begins to undermine your authority and openly ridicules
your decisions, obstinately refusing to support you. What effect do you suppose those actions would have on other company employees and on the company as a whole?”
“Disastrous effects,” answered Dave. “Other employees would begin taking sides. There would be discord, backbiting, complaining, little cooperation and low morale. No doubt the company would begin to crumble from within due to dissension and lack of clear direction.”
“Yes,” said Guy nodding. “For a business to succeed, it needs competent leadership and employee support. And so it is with the family arrangement. There has to be competent leadership that oversees the welfare of the family. Leadership that provides stability, direction, training and love. And leadership administered with such care that it earns the respect and support of all family members.
“Like the CEO who directs his company with a competent supporting staff, the husband lovingly manages his family with his supporting staff–his wife and children. The husband takes his role seriously and shows the needed love and consideration for his wife. He isn’t harsh, domineering, or arrogant. He is, instead, strong and steady in determining the well-being of his family.
Strong and steady doesn’t mean that he arbitrarily makes all the decisions without consulting his wife. His wife’s opinions are to be taken seriously. He elicits her opinions and discusses with his wife decisions that affect the family, encouraging her to express her thoughts and feelings freely keeping the lines of communication open.
“He takes the lead too, in overseeing the raising of the children, actively participating in their rearing and discipline.
“He is always approachable and knowledgeable about the goings on in his household. He is the one who anchors the family. The one who takes the lead in mapping the future. The one who maintains order and direction with the support of his family.”
“I understand the analogy likening the structure of the family to the structure of a successful business. That makes sense.” Then Dave’s eyes narrowed and he asked, “But who determines who the leader should be? You keep mentioning the husband.” Frowning, he continued. “There are a lot of women out there who would dispute that. Today, everyone is equal.”
“You’re right on both counts. Many do dispute the leadership role of the husband. In fact, the majority. And you’re also right that men and women are equal. Equal but different. The fact is numerous studies show that male and females are born with a different set of ‘instructions’ built into their genetic code. That’s fact. “Men and women are different.” If they weren’t we’d all be the same sex.
According to the spiritual arrangement, man has been designated to shoulder that weighty leadership responsibility for his family under the tutelage of specific, guiding, unfailing principles that govern the respective roles of men and women in the family arrangement. Principles designed to enhance the happiness and joy of each family member.”
“Whew, hold on, hold on,” Dave said, shaking his head, waving his hand, “I was with you up to now, but Julie, and for that matter most women today, would hang you by your balls for that statement! With all due respect, Guy, you’re taking me back to the stone-age! That idea of male leadership is completely out of date!”
Calmly, Guy said, “I understand your concern, Dave. Many people today feel that way. But look around today where most people have abandoned this structural approach to family life. Divorce rates soar and single-parent families number into the millions. . . And the children suffer. Once the nucleus of life, the intact family is almost extinct. On the other hand, people who lived by these principles in the past, and millions who practice them today, experience close-knit families.”
Dave sat back, legs crossed, deep in thought. “What you’re relating, then, are directives as old as man himself.”
“Yes,” Guy said. “But directives are applicable today, in every aspect of life, as ever. Especially the concept of one primary decision maker. This concept extends across many organizational structures. For instance, companies appoint only one CEO. Each ship has but one head captain. Countries elect only one president. Each football team has but one head coach. You get the point. Doesn’t it make sense, then, that this same structure, lovingly discharged, could benefit the family in promoting unity?”
Hesitantly Dave replied, “Yes and no. Yes, from the standpoint I understand the analogy between business structure and family structure. But, no, from the standpoint of. of,” he trailed off. Looking directly at Guy, raising his voice, he asked, “How many men do you know who would be willing to buck the system–‘women’s lib’ that is? And how many women today would acquiesce to the thinking that the decision maker should be male?
No way!” Standing, clearly disturbed, he shrugged. “I don’t think I can agree with you on this. It’s just not acceptable today. Besides, Julie would never buy in.” Shaking Guy’s hand, he said, “Thanks, but I don’t feel this will work for my wife and me.”
“Give yourself a chance to see how it all works together,” Guy encouraged. “Allow me to explain the principles and demonstrate how they work in everyday life. Those who practice Marital Harmonics are found to be among the happiest people and most well-adjusted families in the world.”
Dave walked toward the door, “Sorry,” he said. When the door closed behind him, he completely dismissed the conversation.
Over the next few months, communication between Julie and Dave broke down to its lowest point, the tension between them explosive. The impasse was affecting their love life. Last night he reached for her, and she pulled away. Exasperated, Dave lay awake in the silence of the night groping for an understanding of their problems and wondered if … the org chart Guy explained would actually work.
In desperation, Dave finally convinced Julie to listen and she responded in anger … but some months later … she listened!
Find out how and why Marital Harmonics worked for them and how it can work for you too. Yes, I want to take a look.