concluding a series of messages on positive ideas for happy families.
Throughout this series I have made no apology for the fact that
our family is really very happy. I'm so proud of the fact that
I have five children; they all are accomplished and all involved
in some form with this ministry. They've embraced the faith, and
they love it. They're happy people!
The joy of
my life is my family. Of course, our happy family is the direct
result of a very successful marriage. My wife and I have been
married thirty-seven years and we have had a terrific time. So
to conclude this series on happy, positive marriages, I would
like to share with you, "Ten Tips on How To Make Marriage Fun."
step toward a happy marriage is a process that I call Operation
Big Switch. Operation Big Switch is switching your mind from the
negative to the positive. It is making a cognitive, intelligent,
rational decision to adopt a positive attitude about marriage.
that this will require an immense effort for some of you, however,
I want to encourage you to believe that it is possible to have
a happy and successful marriage. It's important to have a possibility
thinking attitude toward marriage before we can even begin to
discuss the ten tips for making marriage fun. So, if you have
a negative attitude toward marriage, I challenge you to make the
Big Switch now!
decided to be positive about marriage in general, then you're
ready for the ten tips, or ten commandments for a happy marriage,
that I have shared with countless couples in the last thirty-seven
years that I have been a minister.
#1: Mind Your Manners!
tip sounds terribly simple, yet it's an important place to start.
One of the most basic things to remember in keeping your marriage
happy is to be polite and treat each other with respect.
In the thirty-seven
years I've been married to Arvella, I don't think we've ever had
an argument. We've had disagreements. We articulate and verbalize
our disagreements with integrity and intensity, but that's not
what I call an argument. An argument is when you shout at each
other and choose words that demonstrate a lack of respect. I have
never failed to respect my wife for the person that she is. And
I have never felt that she treated me with anything other than
great respect. She treats me like a king; I treat her like a queen.
it is becoming increasingly difficult to live up to this commandment
because the environment and the society in which we live is rapidly
becoming more disrespectful. However, I challenge you to rise
above the subconscious signals that are being sent out by the
media. Mind your manners. Treat each other with respect.
#2: Never Stop Courting!
are never frozen in concrete or cement. Relationships are plastic,
fluid, and in the process of change. Consequently courting is
a constant thing.
My wife and
I have planned a date night into our calendar every Monday night.
And when we couldn't afford anything more, we'd buy a hot-dog
and sit on a bench overlooking the ocean. In my opinion, no restaurant
in Southern California has a better ocean view than the park benches,
and the best part is: they're free!
not an excuse for not having a date night. It's not important
where you go or what you do as long as you are able to get away
from the telephone, the children and the business, and be alone
where you can look into each others eyes and talk to each other.
day I read a past issue of Psychology Today which said that we
are confronted every day by hundreds of thousands of inputs which
bombard the subconscious human brain.
gets a lot more input than the conscious mind is aware of. You
look at a newspaper, and the subconscious photographs everything.
Your cognitive mind probably doesn't read it, but it has nevertheless
been programmed in.
consider the many, many inputs that affect our minds and our moods
in one week's time, you can recognize how important it is to communicate,
in depth, and get your relationship realigned every week.
#3: Manage Money or Your Money Will Manage You!
sex, money is the second biggest cause of breakups in marriages.
So, allow me to share with you a short and simple formula that
has worked for us.
When we started
our ministry here, our salary was meager. However, I always took
10% of the money I received and gave it to back to the church.
Then I took a second 10% and I saved it for myself and my family.
Later I invested it and prayed that it would multiply, which I'm
grateful to say it has. Finally I disciplined myself to live on
the 80% that was left.
that if I couldn't live on the 80% balance, I was living too expensively
for my means. The result was that we fared very well and my wife
and I never had any quarrels about money.
not you decide to live by that formula, make the commitment to
manage your money before it manages you and creates unwanted strife.
#4: Enjoy Sex!
Sex was meant
by God, our Creator, to be lifeís greatest pleasure. Nobody has
ever enjoyed sex more than those who have kept it within the confines
of the marriage commitment. The first reason is that sex is safe
when it is kept within the boundaries of a permanent relationship.
You don't have to worry about picking up herpes simplex or AIDS
or some other dreaded disease. The best safe sex is to find a
super mate and make a commitment to be faithful to each other.
is more than just protection from diseases that can kill you.
Safe sex is protection from people that would extort or exploit
or blackmail. I feel very safe, knowing that I have had sex with
only one woman in my life, my very sexy wife. And I have to be
very honest and tell you that nobody has enjoyed sex more than
#5: Discover Mutual Friends!
If you have
just gotten married, I have a warning for you: get ready for a
new set of friends. You can't carry your previous friends into
your marriage unless they happen to be good friends of your mate
as well. If either of you has difficulty with any of your old
companions, then it is best to let those old relationships fade
away. Marriage is the time to establish a whole new set of friends.
Marriage comes first before your old buddy or your old girlfriend.
#6: Establish By-laws On In-laws!
In the marriage
ceremony it is customary for the minister to ask the question,
"Who gives away this woman to be wed?'' It is significant when
a father gives away a daughter. That act states that the bride
and groom's first commitment is, from now on, to their mate. So
one of the first by-laws on in-laws is to put your relationship
before all others. The second by-law on in-laws is: Never tolerate
conversation that includes negative insults about the other person's
family. It is never wise to make unkind comments about your spouse's
#7: Find Happiness In Relationships!
there are too many people today who look for happiness through
chemical stimulationís rather than through real and lasting relationships
with their spouse. Find happiness where it's real, not hallucinatory.
Any experience of joy or happiness that happens to be chemically
induced is not real, it is a chemical fantasy. It doesn't generate
from the strength of your own brain power, heart power or body
power. Find real happiness in relationships that are meaningful.
#8: Keep Your Mate In First Place!
Make a decision
to grow closer as the years go by. That starts early in marriage
when the first child arrives. Don t let your children become more
important than your husband or your wife. Your relationship as
husband and wife must take priority over your relationship with
It is often
tempting to divert your focus from your mate to your children.
The mother feels, ''My child needs me more than my husband does."
true! The child needs to be fed, clothed, cared for and comforted,
but the child does not need you more than your husband. In fact,
your children need a strong marriage from you and your husband
more than anything else. When the marriage is strong, the children
respond favorably because you have a united authority in exercising
discipline or offering encouragement. So draw closer as the years
go by. Avoid the temptations that will try to draw you apart and
make a concerted effort to cultivate the same interests.
#9: Keep Faith With Each Other!
lie. And don't ever once break fidelity. You might be exposed.
Some of you
are being exposed to temptations, and there are relationships
that could really easily get you emotionally involved to the point
where you have an affair. You think you can keep it secret. But
you can't. If anything was taught to us by Sigmund Freud, it is
the inevitability of what we call Freudian slips. You will inevitably
give yourself away.
some of you, this advice comes too late. You've already lied or
you've already been unfaithful. Well, remember where we started
this message: This is Operation Big Switch. Become a positive
thinker, a possibility thinker. And just because you've blown
it, doesn't mean that you can't start life over again, here and
You can repair
the damage you have done. You can repent. There can be forgiveness.
It comes through the love and grace of Jesus Christ.
on one of my first trips to the Holy Land, I bought a jug for
25 cents in Hebron. I tucked it in my carrying case along with
some rocks I had collected along the way. The rocks were so heavy
that the strap broke, the case fell to the floor, and the pitcher
broke. I threw it in a waste basket in the airport in Rome. But
my companion, a fellow minister, said, "Oh, take it home. You
can glue it together again." I did. I glued it together, and you
could see all of the scars and the scratches. I used to keep it
on a shelf in my office and when couples came to see me where
trust had been betrayed I would point out my jug and say, "Oh,
you can repair it, but it's going to leave a scar. You can turn
your scars into stars, but it's extremely difficult. It will require
the grace of Christ." Be faithful! It's much easier to prevent
a break in trust than it is to fix a betrayal!
#10: Find A Faith!
of the previous commandments are tied together through this tip.
It's the last word, and without it, I don't know if our marriage
would have survived. That's because our faith gives a centrality
to our emotional system. That central force is the very presence
of God in Jesus Christ. St. Paul said, "It is no longer I that
live, but Christ who lives in me." I really believe that there
is a God. Iíd believe He had to let us know what the score was,
and He did that by coming to earth in the form of a human being
called Jesus. Jesus Christ was crucified; that's history. They
never found a bone, a hair, or tooth. The body just disappeared!
evidence that the ultimate miracle happened - that Jesus came
back to life, and that He's alive today in Heaven. If we accept
this by faith and accept Him, that's a leap of faith. When we
do accept Him into our live He will respond. Your life will no
longer be the same.
Christ a chance to be a part of your marriage, and I would say,
if you're an agnostic or an unbeliever, then the least you could
do is pray this simple prayer and mean it: "Jesus Christ, if you're
alive, I'm willing to be a believer, I'm not so stubborn that
I can't change. I'm not so arrogant that I think I know it all.
If it's real I'll become a Christian. What have I got to lose?
of the messages seen on the ìHour of Powerî and under the general
title, "Positive Ideas for a Happy Family" are taken from the
Fleming Revell publication entitled: The Positive Family, Copyright