In our last article we introduced you to the 5 categories of marriage that emerged from research done by James Murray of Oxford University. This week we will amplify the first of his five categories: The Validating Couple.
The Validating Couple, according to professor Murray, will have the best chance of staying together for life! They experience the best marriage and quality of life. This couple’s ability to remain calm reduces the number of explosive emotional flare ups that could shatter their relationship. They “validate”, or support the value, of each other by building one another up and spending time together. It rings of Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up … that it may give grace to those who hear.”
This couple is intentional about displaying their love for one another through words and actions. “Let us not love with mere words … but with actions” (1 John 3:18).
The Validating Couple looks for ways to create shared experiences rather than pursuing individual activities. They understand that marriage is not all about the “me” … but the “we”. While each individual spouse has dreams, goals, and ambitions, they place those desires in submission to the greater good of their marriage and family. Obviously each spouse will spend some time apart to enjoy personal hobbies and activities, but at the core of their marriage is a priority commitment to pursuing togetherness, not individuality.
Murray says: “The most stable relationships are those which take a more “old-fashioned” view and see marriage as mainly about companionship.” Indeed, it is the old fashion … dating back to the creation of marriage: “and the two shall become one …” Ultimately this couple will experience the marriage all of us want … the true joining together of two hearts as one, each spouse caring deeply for the other and prioritizing the life, well-being, health, and joy of their marriage, above the individual. This loving character jumps out of John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends <spouse>;” and explains why this couple is often seen as two eternal lovebirds because they best exemplify the Biblical idea of a “one flesh” marriage.
Something to talk about … here are three questions to get you chatting about your marriage:
- Which of these “elements” of the validating couple do we see in our marriage?
- Which elements do we want to work on to develop or strengthen?
- What is our plan for making this happen?