So, in our last post on this series (i.e., Nine Habits of Highly Effective Couples, Part 1), we touched on prayer, dating, and active communication as three habits of highly effective couples. Have you taken notice of the couples you admire and seen any or all of these habits in their relationships?
I confess: Eric and I did not start our marriage being vigilant about continuing to date each other; however, I noticed one of my friends from church and her husband made it a point to go out every week – even though it meant hiring a babysitter. Not only that, but they found time to do lunch during the week and found other opportunities to have fun and reconnect. She gives a lot of credit of their healthy relationship to their date nights. Since Eric and I have started having a regular date night, I can see why she and her husband prioritized it so highly! Once you are married, if you do not make a date night happen, something will always come up and steal your time!
Okay! Time to cover more habits of highly effective couples!
Socializing in large quantities of people is not what I am about at all. It does not take much time in a crowd to wear me out completely. But, I cannot deny that couples need to socialize. Newlyweds sometimes take time before they start socializing with others; however, once people get settled into married life, they need the perspective, sharpening (Proverbs 27:17), and fellowship of other like-minded people!
Have you ever been struggling with something – only to have a friend come along side you and offer perspective you would have never otherwise considered? Even though your spouse will hopefully be your closest, most-celebrated, earthly friend, you will still need other people in your life. I am so thankful for the ladies at my church. They have helped me gain perspective on my situations more than once and when I leave a meeting with them, I have more hope and feel more settled.
Couple friends offer fellowship and fun to our lives. They snap us out of our daily routine. When couples go out together, conversations may revolve around the kids, work, or decisions that need to be made; but, when you go out with other couples you can leave the worries of home behind you and settle in for some out of the ordinary discussions.
We also observe others when we socialize and can come to new conclusions. “Wow, when Jamie’s husband told that silly joke, she didn’t roll her eyes like I usually do. She just smiled and shook her head. I wonder if my eye rolling makes my husband feel disrespected?” “Hmm, John seems to spend a lot more time touching his wife than I do mine. I wonder if my wife would like it if I held her hand or put my arm around her shoulders more in public?”
No matter how much we know about relationships, we can always learn more from other people. Eric and I have even grown from the time we have spent with the couples we coach! ~smile~
Effective couples are givers. They are not selfish with their time or their resources. Have you ever noticed that continuous givers are also the most joyful people? We can hoard our time and money, but chances are we will wind up lonely and dissatisfied with life. Those who see themselves as stewards of God’s time and possessions have a much easier time sharing with others. God loves a cheerful giver! (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)
Some of the most fun I have ever had involved giving. Whether it was delivering Christmas presents to a needy family, over-tipping a waitress, or giving up my time to help someone, giving has always been accompanied by joy (assuming I was not giving out of obligation or manipulation). Though we should not give so that we will receive a blessing, those who are big givers usually have plenty!
One evening, Eric and I were at one of our favorite restaurants and we struck up a conversation with our waitress. It did not take us long to realize that she was struggling a bit financially. So, we decided to give her a whopping tip. She took our receipt into the back and then emerged with a huge smile on her face. It made our week! When I dream of being wealthy, I foremost dream of blessing people with the wealth because giving is some of the most fun a person can ever have with money! It truly is more blessed to give than receive!
A few weeks ago, a young lady in our Sunday school class requested prayer because she needed a large sum of money to fix her car. I fantasized about being able to pull out my checkbook and pay her bill. Someday, Eric and I hope to have the means to bless people the way we’d really like to! ~smile~
There is malicious teasing and then there is playfully teasing. Calling your wife “thunder thighs,” even in a jovial way, is simply malicious teasing. Making fun of your husband’s competence may sound like innocent teasing to you, but it is very hurtful to him. Playful teasing, however, is sweet to watch. Have you ever seen an older couple mess with each other and keep each other laughing? It is a hoot!
No couple is exactly the same, so humor and playfulness will vary from one couple to another. If one couple is more reserved in public and another is more open, do not assume that the reserved couple does not tease and flirt with each other in private.
When Eric and I were engaged, we went to the bank for some business he had. While the teller was waiting on us, we started poking each other (yes, we were at that deliriously in love stage that tends to sicken onlookers ~smile~). She looked up from what she was doing and said she would be surprised if in in ten years we would be doing the same thing. Well, she was right. We are not nearly as nauseating to be around now as we were in the beginning ~smile~, but we still poke each other, still chase each other around the house, and still playfully tease each other.
Highly effective couples like being around each other. They have inside jokes and they can make each other smile or laugh. Playfulness is a very important, sometimes overlooked, spice in the recipe for a long and satisfying marriage.
What habits have you observed in the highly effective couples in your life? Maybe those traits will be covered on Friday when we finish up this series! ~smile~ Stay tuned to find out!
Do you agree that socializing, giving, and playful teasing are important ingredients for a fulfilling and inspiring marriage?