Some say keeping love alive takes putting forth effort every day.
"The best thing you can do is figure out what you have to do to make your marriage work," said Pastor Leland Crawford of First Baptist Church, Minden. "As a church, we ought to say, 'This is how you divorce-proof your marriage.'"
Crawford believes that building accountability in a marriage is a way of divorce proofing it. He also said that couples need to believe the best thing for them, is to stay married, as long as there isn't abuse involved.
"Thirty-five years ago my wife and I decided that divorce wasn't an option," Crawford continued. "We decided we would learn how to work through our differences because love isn't some sappy emotion, but a choice. Every year that you go beyond breaking through those walls of difficult times, it is a wonderful thing. You realize you can trust that person and depend on them."
According to William F. Harley, Jr., Ph.D. of www.marriagebuilders.com, it takes willingness and ability to care for and protect each other to build a successful marriage.
Dr. Harley has 10 basic concepts for a successful marriage. He teaches couples how to fall in love with each other and stay in love.
Basic Concept #1 – The Love Bank
The concept of the Love Bank was created to help couples understand how people fall in and out of love. It helped couples realize that almost everything they did affected their love for each other either, positively or negatively. He believes that within everyone is a Love Bank that keeps track of the way each person treats us.
Basic Concept #2 – Instincts and Habits
Instincts are behavioral patterns that humans are both born with, and habits are patterns that are learned. Harley believes that it is behavior that makes deposits and withdrawals from Love Banks. Instincts and habits make up most of behavior.
Basic Concept #3 – The Most Important Emotional Needs
Couples must meet each other's most important emotional needs. To stay in love, couples must learn to meet the needs that are rated the highest in a way that is fulfilling to the other spouse and also enjoyable for oneself.
Basic Concept #4 – The Policy of Undivided Attention
Give your spouse undivided attention a minimum of 15 hours a week to meet emotional needs of affection, conversation, recreational companionship and sexual fulfillment.
Basic Concept #5 – Love Busters
Meet each other's emotional needs and protect your spouse from withdrawals from the Love Bank. Pay attention to how everyday behavior can affect withdrawals. Love Busters (being disrespectful, angry, annoying, independent and dishonesty) can destroy the feeling of love spouses have for another.
Basic Concept #6 – The Policy of Radical Honesty
Honesty is the only way that you and your spouse will ever come to understand one another. Either honesty is always right, or you'll always have an excuse for being dishonest.
Basic Concept #7
The Givers do whatever they can to make others happy, even if it makes them unhappy. The Takers do whatever they can to make themselves happy, even if it makes others unhappy. In either case, someone gets hurt.
Basic Concept #8 – The Three States of Mind in Marriage
The Giver and Taker create moods that Dr. Harley calls states of mind having tremendous influence on how conflicts are resolved. During the State of Intimacy, the State of Mind is controlled by the Giver. This can lead to habits that may be good for the other spouse, but unhappiness for the Giver. As unhappiness sets in, the Taker rises and triggers the State of Conflict. The Taker does whatever it can to make itself happy. When fighting doesn't work, and one is still unhappy, State of Withdrawal sets in.
Basic Concept #9 – The Policy of Joint Agreement
The Policy of Joint Agreement comes in when fair negotiation is not accomplished. Never do anything without an enthusiastic agreement, he recommends. To avoid being the source of unhappiness, it is important that both spouses consult with one another.
Basic Concept #10 – Four Guidelines for Successful Negotiation
If in conflict, Dr. Harley recommends that either spouse does nothing until an enthusiastic agreement as been met, while following the four ground rules to negotiations:
n Try to be pleasant and cheerful through negotiations.
n Put safety first. Do not make demands, show disrespect or become angry.
n If the negotiation isn't going anywhere or if the above ground rule is not being followed, come back to the issue later.
n Keep in mind the importance of finding a solution (and the way you find the solution) that will deposit as many love units as possible, while avoiding withdrawals.
Harley believes that one spouse should not suffer for the benefit of the other, even willingly. More information can be found at the website.