Marriage is a sacred entity that should be led by the husband and wife, solely. It is my experience that couples should only consult outside sources rarely and only in dire situations when experiencing conflict. Some of the most common mistakes that married couples make is allowing others to enter the marital covenant that they have created with God. For instance, wives often consult their mothers and friends about their marital difficulty or concerns. This is not a good idea and it breaks the covenant between the couple and God. The covenant is a contract between three parties husband, wife, and God. When couples open the door they allow others opinions, past baggage and gossip to interfere in their relationships.
Couples must realize that when they vent to friends and family about their spouse, they risk damaging the relationship between their spouse and others. For example, if a couple has a fight and the husband confides in his mother, disclosing all the intimate details of the fight, the mother in-law may now harbor resentment toward the wife because she feels the need to protect her son. Couples have to remember the very idea of marriage is that adults leave their parents and cleave to their spouse, this cannot be accomplished if the covenant is constantly broken. In the above example, what usually happens is that the husband and wife resolve their conflict, but the mother in-law does not know that the conflict has been resolved and continue to harbor ill feelings. Couples will experience many fights and many make up sessions as well; therefore consulting outside sources becomes pointless.
So, how do you prevent others from entering your marital covenant? Here are some helpful tips:
1. Communication: have early conversations with your mate before marriage about the importance of the covenant
2. Plan: establish a neutral party such as a pastor or Marriage and Family Therapist to consult when times are difficult. Participate in Pre-Marital Counseling
3. Consequences: process and plan for the consequences of allowing others into the covenant, like weakening the relationship between your spouse and your parents, if personal information is shared regarding the marital relationship such as fiances, sex, employment difficulties, or fidelity problems
4. Skills: develop coping skills for handling conflict
5. Advice: only listen to advice from couples in healthy long lasting relationships, listen to advice without disclosing personal information about your relationship
Consequences of Breaking the Covenant:
1. Couples lack the ability to develop their own coping skills
2. Somebody in the relationship feels betrayed
3. Couples diminish their authority and role as self sufficient adults when dealing with parents
Share you thoughts on ways you can keep your marital covenant protected.