Excerpt from On-line Article, The Chopra Center, "Lighten Up: The Healing Power of Laughter" by David Simon, M.D. - The healing system of Ayurveda teaches us that nourishing our five senses enlivens our health and well-being. I have found that it’s just as important to cultivate our sixth sense . . . our sense of humor. We’ve all found ourselves facing difficult circumstances, mired in worry. When a good friend calls and has us laughing at ourselves, we’re reminded that there is more than one way to view a situation. The very experience of laughter shifts our perspective and opens us to new possibilities. We feel internally tickled as we make a connection between the predictable way of looking at a situation and an offbeat way. Laughter allows us to temporarily step outside our space- and time-bound state and touch the field of awareness that is boundless and eternal. The American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote, “Humor is a prelude to faith and laughter is the beginning of prayer.”
Excerpt from book, "Men are From Mars, Women Are From Venus" by John Gray, Ph.D. - "The Primary Love Needs of Women and Men - Women need to receive: 1. Caring, 2. Understanding, 3. Respect, 4. Devotion, 5. Validation, 6. Reassurance. Men need to receive: 1. Trust, 2. Acceptance, 3. Appreciation, 4. Admiration, 5. Approval, 6. Encouragement."
Ephesians 5, Verses 22-33 - Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Quote by John F. Kennedy - "Do not pray for easy lives, pray to be stronger men [and women]."
Quote by Gandhi from Nonviolence in Peace and War - "Prayer is not an old woman's idle amusement. Properly understood and applied it is the most potent instrument of action."
Excerpt from book, "The Power of Prayer to Heal and Transform Your Life" by Sherry Hansen Steiger - As early at the 1930s Yogananda was teaching that true prayer is based on the very precise laws that govern all of creation: "Our physical bodies and the material world we live in are condensations of invisible patterns of energy; That energy, in turn, is. an expression of finer blueprints of thought-the subtlest vibration-which governs all manifestations of energy and matter; That God brought all creation into being by consciously willing His ideas to condense, first into images of light and energy, and then in the grosser vibrations of matter." Yogananda declared that we, as human beings made in the image of God, have the freedom to use these same divine powers of thought and energy. In his view, prayer is actually a daily necessity in order to have a harmonious living.
Excerpt from Shakespeare, "Troilus and Cressida"
The beauty that is borne here in the face
The bearer knows not, but commends itself
To others' eyes: nor doth the eye itself,
That most pure spirit of sense, behold itself,
Not going from itself; but eye to eye opposed
Salutes each other with each other's form;
For speculation turns not to itself,
Till it hath travell'd and is mirror'd there
Where it may see itself. This is not strange at all.
Everyone has heard that love makes the world go around. And yet it does so through relationships, including marriage, a special bond of love between two people. But what else is essential to marriage besides love? Here's my take... The 5 Elements of a Good Marriage are: 1. Have a Sense of Humor [Fire], 2. Affection (Her) or Space (His) [Water], 3. Commitment (and Re-dedication) [Earth], 4. Prayers [Wind], 5. Regard for One Another [Gold]. Fire is energy, and like magic, through electricity or in its raw form, can transform and sustain. Water is the breath for those that live in another world such as the seas - essential. It is flexible and mobile and the source for life. The Earth renews itself every day and over longer periods. It is from whence we came and where we will return as part of a cycle of life and death. The Wind is a form of Air that can carry a dove from here to very far off for good reason. Some say the wind contains truth. Gold is pure and noble in nature; it is beautiful and valuable - it is money. Whether you see the allegories as completely as I do or absurd, the point is the 5 elements of a good marriage I am emphasizing have elemental character. They are essential to marriage such as fire, water, wind, earth and gold are essential to life.
Let's start with number 5. Ephesians 5, verses 22-33 points out the way a man should regard his wife, and how a woman should regard her husband. They regard one another in love, the wife to show respect to the husband and the man to love his wife as much as himself. To regard one another with love according to these verses is a difficult task. To witness it in action is to understand the purity and beauty of marriage with Christian values built-in. To love God we must love one another, and this is an especially true command for couples who embrace marriage. For marriage is not just an expression of love, but one of the essential building blocks for society.
And one of the essential building blocks of a spiritual relationship with God is prayer (number 4). Without prayer and intercession for each other's mate, life may not move forward. It is prayers, even our thoughts, grunts and groans, that are carried up to God to be heard. God knows every hair on our head and each thought, and He hears us when we direct our attention towards Him. If He can sustain or destroy a nation, He can direct or strengthen a marriage. Sins and lack of care for life's blessings will give us over to debased lifestyles and relationships. There are a lot of marriages who are in the gutter for lack of respect for God and lack of communication with God. There are also a lot of couples, like myself, who appreciate a prayer together out-loud with their spouse, a prayer from their spouse for them, or an answered prayer for something their spouse needed.
Number 3 is commitment and re-dedication. In the Shakespearean poem above we must "face each other". We see our spouse differently than they view themselves, and vice versa. Who do you see in the mirror and who do you see standing next to you? Now? Before? We begin facing each other "in love" and later face each other with mature deep love. To get there we must accept and tolerate, we must encourage and sustain, we must reflect and grow, and with all our imperfections and flaws we must dedicate ourselves to each other and the relationship on a continual basis - we must commit with who we are facing. The alternative is to walk away. It is common for a couple to partially walk away or deliver a mini-heartbreak to their lover along the way, but that should not be a goal. Commitment and re-dedication are inter-related with the very definition of marriage, and are required for a marriage. Wedding vows often include "through the good times and the bad times, I am with you" or "for better or for worse, I am committed". Again, a successful marriage is not easy, although some aspects are more fun and joyful than commitment during hard times. Be committed.
I've learned one thing from my own marriage and watching others. Women "like" affection and men "like" space (number 2), and this is in general (but in many cases true). Women and men are wired differently, and it is more likely that a woman will benefit from hugs, sweet nothings, a well-thought out gift, or man bragging on her in front of others. Men have their caves where they go to think or not-think, a place to avoid clamor and double-down on pastimes. I found it of value to support or maintain independent times for my husband to do whatever he does, and to be clear about needing a specific kind of attention from my husband that is important to me. It is important to understand how your mate is wired, so you can understand which top priorities reign for each other and create space, give attention, or whatever rocks your boat so to speak for your relationship.
A good sense of humor (number 1) is so closely interlinked with giving a relationship magic and energy it is no-duh that Fire is the element it relates to. Humor and light-heartedness can cure many ails, as the deep-and-serious weighs down so many arguments and bogs down so many relationships. Couples who can laugh, and people in general who can laugh, find life to be much more enjoyable and worthy of living, than those who are a glum lot or lame in attitude. When we can look at a situation from a new angle and manage to stir up a smile, we heal ourselves and often that situation. While we don't want to laugh ourselves into ignorance, we do need a reality check when our worries have surmounted Mt. Everest. As the youngun's say, "take a chill pill. LOL." If you have a good sense of humor your laughing right now because that was a good joke.
So these 5 elements are my take on what makes a marriage tick. My husband wrote down his top 5 and they vary from my own. I asked a friend and her number one factor is "reliability", and I agree that is essential, especially in relationships where kids are involved - we need to be able to depend on our partner. My sister mentioned being comfortable around one another in the relationship makes a marriage stick - to face each other comfortably. I would appreciate your point of view, and this is a chance to make your own contributions in the comments.
Dear God, Sometimes I need to focus and re-prioritize my day and life around what has proven to work for me for decades - for myself, but also in my marriage and relationships which have been continuous since birth or since youth. Forgive me as I forget to use common sense sometimes. At times my relationships go through a crash-and-burn and then rebirth because I do not keep up the heavy responsibilities of maintaining good healthy relationships all the days. Thank you for healing and recovery in those cases, as I dearly care for my husband and close family members, and I am glad not to have lost them. To be face-to-face with someone with all our imperfections, to be vulnerable when we fall short, and still love as we ought is a challenge. I ask You to help me with those challenges and strengthen my relationships in the face of adversity - in both good times and bad times. Help me to stay light-hearted in serious times, and not be bound by endless worry when my feelings are paranoid, dark, offended, angry or hurt. Thank you for Your teaching of how one should regard her husband - with respect, to submit; I fall short all the time, and so does he at loving me perfectly, but I think we strive a good bit. Thank you for this incredible thing we call love. I hear God is love. Amen.
Michelle is a woman of depth whose faith has pulled her through some difficult times. She finds beauty and inspiration from life experience and literature, sourced from all ages and walks of life. Michelle seeks to inspire other women in their personal journeys, especially those who struggle. Michelle is also a mental health advocate, writer & engineer. Her other website is www.freemindbooks.com.