Have you ever wondered why there are highway codes and traffic rules to be obeyed by anyone who wants to drive a car? It is to prevent chaos on the roads, keep the driver safe, and keep other drivers and pedestrians safe. Imagine for a second, anyone and everyone can drive on any side of the road they choose. If it seems good to them, they can just take to the roads and start driving. Have you formed a mental picture of what the road would look like? This is exactly the state of many families, marriages, and societies where there are no laws or laws that are not upheld, people cast off restraints…. We are continuing the marriage code and highway code part two, if you haven’t read part one, please click here. According to the Highway Code for Marriage by Michael and Hillary Perrott, there are seven letters in the word CAREFUL which are vital for the success of any marriage. We have discussed the first three letters C stands for Communication; A stands for Affection and R stands for Respect. Let us look at the remaining acronym that makes up the word CAREFUL in a marriage.
Encouragement is a special skill and one of the secrets of good and thriving marriages. Everyone wants to be encouraged, everyone needs encouragement in a family, even your children. Learn how to encourage your spouse, support, and never criticise. This does not come naturally to some people, especially if they have been criticised and judged all their life. Make it a law in your marriage, I must not discourage and wear down my spouse, no matter how terrible and horrible the outcome of his or her actions. Encouragement brings hope, it gives them the courage to do better. I always watch the London marathon and love to do so because of the support and encouragement we give to runners. Even though they have been running for miles, they are tired and still have miles to go, the moment we shout out their names “go, Mark, you are doing great”. I always see the boost of energy and feeling of – “I can do this” that comes over them. Even though we do not know them personally, just calling out their names meant a great deal. Many marathon runners attest to the crowds’ power of encouragement. How much more hearing a word of encouragement from the one you love.
Forgiveness brings peace to your marriage and everyone couple wants a peaceful marriage. The secret to peace in your marriage is the ability to forgive. Forgive or fester and the result of festering is costly. I remember during my driving lessons, my instructor will say give way first, even if you have the right of way. Always assume all other drivers are mad. It did not make much sense then, because that was not what I was taught driving in Nigeria. It is who can put their head in first. Now with this law of giving way first, driving in England is pleasure, there seems to be orderliness and less gridlock unlike my driving experience in Nigeria. Why is that so, it prepared my heart to give in first, which is forgiveness. Why many marriages fail is because of lack of forgiveness, inability to let go. I am right, you must apologise, you must face the consequences of your actions, all of these make marriage a hell on earth. The marriage code here is – if I do not forgive, I will not have peace in my marriage. Many people are holding the peace they desire by refusing to forgive their spouse. If you can give way when driving, you can forgive your spouse or anyone at all.
Suggested Read: Love in marriage is a decision more than an emotion
Unselfishness brings joy and harmony when two people in a marriage are looking out for the good of the other and not themselves. It is important to check why you get married to your spouse. Sometimes people get married because they want to get not because they want to give. Where this is the case, selfishness will be the order of the day. When one person continues to give and serve and does not get treated well, there comes troubled marriage. Are you being selfish in your marriage? You must be determined to be unselfish because, as human beings our default nature is selfishness. That is why you must make it a highway code and law in your marriage. We will not be selfish in this area, that area, and so many other ways we have been selfish. Make a list, start with sexual intercourse. It only a selfish man that will be satisfied sexually and ignore his wife’s sexual satisfaction. This is not uncommon am sure you will agree with me. Make it a law, write it down, discuss it, and abide by it.
Loyalty backing each other up, being there for each other no matter the situation. The marriage vows encapsulate what it means to be loyal in your marriage. “For better for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health till death we do part”. These vows are taken in the presence of God and family, yet many do not take it seriously or with any gravity. When a spouse withdraws affection from their partner because of one issue or the other, then they are not loving for worse. You are only doing for the better. When a wife refuses her husband’s sexual intimacy for one issue or the other then you are not in it for worse. I mean where there are domestic abuse and violence, the marriage is damaged, and we cannot expect loyalty in this case. However, before a marriage degenerates into a state like that, it is because most of the laws of marriage have been broken, to remain loyal of course will be difficult. It is, therefore, the most important and if I might say, the first law couples should hold paramount in their marriage. Loyalty keeps love in a marriage, loyalty can save a wrecked marriage. Make it a law, this marriage must work, and we will do all we can to keep our union intact.
There are many benefits of having an intact marriage, and it is worth following a marriage highway code to guide you on your marital journey. For many of us who are driving safely on roads today, we learned how to drive. We were patient, we listened to instructions and invested money to learn how to drive. After leaning and passing the driving test, we apply for a license to drive, there are traffic fines to enforce the highway codes. A driving license is renewed after a certain number of years. All these point us to the fact that we need to abide by rules and code of conduct.
There is no organisation you will go to that do not have their code of conducts. Create a code of conduct for your marriage, do not assume you can behave well in your marriage if the society does not allow nor trust you to behave well elsewhere. Marriage crises today are due to lack of training, lack of code of conducts, lack of policing or enforcement and the attack of the enemy. We cannot be ignorant of the devices of the enemy but most times, spiritual attribution of marital failures is not always the case. Simple knowledge of knowing how to do marriage can resolve most of the marital challenges we face.
Let us move from unintentional marriage to intentional marriage. Let us have purposeful marriages and I am very convinced, happiness and joy from each home that gets marriage right will individually begin to repair our society. So how do you begin to create your marriage code of conducts? Read books, go to marriage conferences, have mentors and a coach and so on.
I have some recommendations below, the authors have not paid me, but these resources have been useful in my marriage.
I will also recommend my book that will be out soon – “Marriage Expectation vs Reality”. One of the reasons marriages are failing is also attributed to a lack of information on what marriage means, why we get married and the purpose of marriage. We all know why we go through years of education. It is to better our lives and therefore we endure all the training required to become an expert in our career. This book is packed full of information needed to make a marriage work.
Apart from reading books, go on marriage courses, retreats and conferences. Many couples who are enjoying their marriages today are those investing in their marriage before it breaks down. There is the need for maintenance in a marriage, do not wait until a crack shows up before you repair your marriage. It may be late and the crack on the surface means there is much more below the surface. Act in time, do not wait for an issue to arise in your marriage.
I hope you will work on your marriage for your children, your spouse, yourself and society. We can change our world one person at a time, by changing our marriage. Make your marriage a haven of peace, joy and love by intentionality.
Get your marriage highway code set up before you start the journey of a lifetime called marriage.
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Abi Apalara loves sharing insightful information that helps couples flourish in life and their marriage relationship. I have enjoyed both good marital pleasures and challenging times in my marriage. I came to realise, the points where I missed it, were areas I lacked information on how to.
Making it up along the way, only meant I was going the wrong way. Desperately seeking to get back into marital bliss, I started exploring and reading about those areas of challenge. I also reached out to counsellors and began to see what I was missing.
After a surprising move into relationship study, I have found peace of mind and happy with my marriage. I have authored the book Are you ready? Marriage expectation versus realty to share my experience and encourage men and women to work on their
marriages, by seeking knowledge and apply it to their marriage relationship.
My latest book, Are you ready? Marriage expectation versus reality focuses on discovering some of the unrealistic expectations we bring into a marriage. It comes with practical advice and a guide on how to get it right before and after getting married. You can also preorder the book here