Post Author: Jennifer Pratt
On Valentine’s Day, it seems fitting for me (Jennifer) to write about how to have a secure and successful marriage. Billy and I have been married for 15 years (we have been a couple for almost 20 years). I can honestly say that each year gets better! When I think back to our first few years of marriage, I cringe. We had no idea how to make a marriage work.
Recently, I read a book entitled The Marriage Code by Bill and Pam Farrel. Reading this book helped me to understand why we struggled during our first few years of marriage. First and foremost, the book states that the best way to have a healthy and vibrant marriage is to have a growing, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Fifteen years ago, Billy and I did not have an intimate, growing relationship with Jesus Christ. We were Christians but we were more concerned with pleasing ourselves than with a growing relationship with Jesus. To put it mildly, we were both very selfish.
Mistake #2 in our relationship was the notion that saying “I do” was enough to make our marriage successful. As The Marriage Code puts it, “You have to know the access code that keeps the heart-to-heart connection to your spouse alive and well. Knowing your mate’s code–the core needs he or she longs to have met–will give you ready access into the other’s heart.” The problem was that Billy and I were so selfish (we were ruled by our flesh) that we didn’t take the time to figure out what the other person’s needs were. All we did was complain that our needs weren’t being met.
Here is an example of a username and password that I should use in order to access Billy’s heart:
I need to create an environment that makes Billy feel successful in our relationship. In the early days of our marriage, I did not realize that if Billy did not think that he could be successful in our marriage then he would just stop trying. He needs to get the message from me, “I love the way you live and I love the way you love me.” If he gets that message, his heart will be drawn towards me, and he will gain confidence in our relationship.
Here is one of the access codes to my heart:
One of a woman’s greatest needs is to know that she is loved unconditionally. I need to know that Billy is going to love me no matter the circumstances and that our relationship is secure.
Mistake #3 in our marriage was understanding that men and women are different. I know this sounds obvious but even though we knew this intellectually it is not how we lived. We have different needs and we express love very differently. Reading marriage books such as The Marriage Code remind me that I have to put effort into finding out how to access the code to Billy’s heart.
The bottom line is that I know marriage is hard. Honestly, Billy and I would be divorced if it wasn’t for our relationship with Jesus Christ. Through an intimate, growing relationship with Jesus, we both learned to put each other’s needs ahead of our own. We both made a decision that we would love each other unconditionally and that we would work to find the “access codes” to each other’s hearts. I must confess that some days are better than other days. We don’t have a perfect marriage, but overall it is a successful marriage relationship. I want to encourage you to seek hard after God and keep working on your marriage. It is so worth it!!