Once, I thought that marriage was about dividing responsibilities and tasks, but I realized that approach was leading to a cohabitation-style marriage. We lived together, but we weren’t harmoniously linked as a couple.
Through studying hundreds of couples and prayerfully considering the prophets’ teachings, I have discovered a more harmonious approach to marriage. The following 8 steps are not about domination or control; rather, they aim to foster a healthy, harmonious, Celestial marriage led by a man who presides correctly.
These steps are meant for anyone seeking to improve their relationship and can be implemented with practice over time.
Step 1. **Retreat:**
Spend time alone with God to ponder the priorities of your stewardships. Reflect on your responsibilities, and seek guidance. Strive to read, study and explore in an effort to Discover ways to add value to your stewardships. Document your thoughts, perhaps using resources like Stephen Covey’s “First Things First.”
Step 2. **Initiate Conversation:**
Invite your wife to discuss your findings from step one. If she prefers appointments, propose two time blocks for her to choose from. During this conversation, invite her to share her thoughts and feelings, and take notes on her input.
Step 3. **Listen and Document:**
Engage actively with your wife, listen to her thoughts, and jot down her perspectives. This step is key to fostering intimacy and understanding between you. It would be wise to use the 4 Square Listening Tool to maximize your best note taking.
Step 4. **Retreat, again to Reflect and Synergize:**
Spend time alone with God again, reflecting on your wife’s thoughts and feelings. With God’s help, interpret her words, seek to gain an increased understanding of them, and formulate a synergy or hybrid of both your ideas and hers. Stay open to potential miracles, ideas and solutions beyond logic, during this process. Write down details or notes of your discoveries.
Step 5. **Return and Report:**
Invite another conversation with your wife. Make an appointment in advance if she prefers. Bring a written version of the results of your conversation with her. Invite her to ask clarifying questions until she understands your perspective. Invite her to take your notes and her notes on your notes and invest her own effort in Step 4.
Step 6. **Rinse and Repeat:**
If necessary, return to previous steps and modify your plans and thoughts each time you listen to your spouse and spend time alone with God. Clear your mind (rinse) between each interaction so you aren’t contaminated by old or inaccurate ideas. Continue this process until you form a robust, inspired vision, incorporating both you and your wife’s perspectives.
Step 7. **Present the Inspired Vision:**
Document the harmonized, inspired vision. Confirm what you have written with your wife. The ultimate goal is to foster spiritual intimacy in your marriage as you both work towards a shared vision.
Step 8. **Be Patient and Charitable:**
Sometimes one or both of you will have your comfort zone stretched by the final Inspired Vision. Understand that you and/or your wife may need time to grapple with human limitations and emotionally prepare for the journey ahead. If you have done this work accurately, and you are hoping to rebuild trust with your wife, exercise patience and extend charity as she decides whether she can trust you this time and follow you in fulfilling your stewardships.
By committing to these steps and fostering open communication, mutual understanding, and spiritual guidance, you can transform a tense or cohabitation marriage into a harmonious partnership. Both you and your wife will feel valued, respected, and inspired in this united journey.