iSpecialist

Dr. Gary J. Oliver

Dr. Oliver has over 30 years experience in individual, premarital, marital and family counseling and for the past 20 years he has had an extensive nationwide teaching ministry with Promise Keepers and The American Association of Christian Counselors. read bio

Are you floating on the surface or diving deep in your marriage?

By Gary J. Oliver, Ph.D. and Carrie Oliver, M.A.

How much time do you spend talking about your marriage relationship? Do you ever discuss what you enjoy, what has surprised you, what is uncomfortable, what either of you do or don't do that makes the other person feel unsafe or at risk, and what you could do more of to let your beloved know that they are precious in your sight and first in your heart? When is the last time you complimented your spouse? When is the last time you thanked them for doing something they always do that makes your life a little easier? By looking at your marriage and listening to what your partner has to say, you are choosing to understand and value their perspective, and increase their sense of safety and trust so that you can enjoy greater intimacy and passion in your marriage.

In your marriage relationship, you can choose to be like the snorkeler who just floats on the surface and looks down at the magnificent, bright, and colorful underwater world below, or you can take the hand of your "life buddy" and dive into all that God designed marriage to be and help you become. You can discover a new world of relational awe and wonder that many only read about.

The key to having a great marriage isn't focusing on how to have a great marriage. It is focusing on what it means to love and serve the Lord. What does it look like to love one another as Christ loved us? What does it look like to "bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things"? What does it mean to be a servant? The key to having a great marriage is focusing on specific things you can do to be a better spouse. Albert Einstein once said: "Strange is our situation here on earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, but sometimes seeming to a Divine purpose. There is one thing we do know definitely: that we are here for the sake of each other. Many times a day I realize how much my outer and inner life is built upon the labor of others, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received and am still receiving." It's true we are here for the sake of each other.

Do you remember why you married your spouse? Do you remember when you proposed or when you said "I do"? What were your dreams, hopes, and expectations? Our twenty-six years of marriage have been quite an adventure of faith. Some of the lessons we've learned quickly and some have come with a great deal of pain, but ALL of the lessons have deepened our capacity to experience great joy, increasing love, and deep levels of intimacy. Change and growth always begin with the first step. Regardless of what your spouse chooses to do, what one thing are you willing to do to help develop a "Mad About Us" marriage?

Used with permission from the book, Mad About Us: Moving From Anger to Intimacy With Your Spouse by Gary J. Oliver Ph.D. and Carrie Oliver MA.

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