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To Have and To Hold On! A Not-so Newlywed’s Views on Marriage and Intimacy by Shantelle E. Gray Staff Writer- Crossbearer

“Just me and you” Do you remember that old Tony, Toni, Tone song? The chorus went, “Just me and you. Don’t worry bout Michael, don’t worry ‘bout Johnny (we dont need nobody else), don’t worry bout Terry baby. I’ve noted that some couples have a tendency to let others come into their relationship and wreak havoc. Be it your mother, brother, best friend or concerned coworkers with advice, your marriage is not the place to let others intercede. I’m not bashing constructive advice by any means; you do want to know how to make your marriage work. However, you don’t need others tearing your commitment apart because they want to help run your relationship. You may think you said "I do" to just one person on your wedding day, but the reality of married life is that you actually vowed to honor several people. For better or for worse, marriage comes with more than just formal china and a set of towels- you’ve registered for a new family and your better half’s friends too. Here are a few tips to keep you on the right track. Know whose team you’re on. Maybe you're lucky enough to adore your in-laws instantly (hey, it happened for us!), but if you're like some, you may hit a few roadblocks on the road to familial bliss. No matter who is right or wrong, no matter what the situation, you have to stick up for each other. Don't complain or talk bad about your husband to your friends, parents, or siblings. You will forgive him long before they do. Keep your mouth shut or talk to him about whatever is bothering you. Otherwise, you risk having your relationship judged or commented on by others. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21 If you have to get your grievances out, write your feelings down in a journal. Diaries are nonjudgmental, and you will be more likely to share the bad and the good of your marriage." Your spouse is your better half, the person you made a lifelong commitment to because of your love. Defending him (or her) from the beginning of your relationship should prevent any naysayers from trying to come in and wreck your relationship.

Additionally, never badmouth each other's families -- even if your spouse is complaining about their own. It's one thing to gripe about your own parents, but quite another to hear it from someone else. Support your partner's feelings, but don't add on to them. Explain the Rules. Your in-laws (and maybe even your own parents) might not recognize that a new fledging family needs room to grow. Parents will always see their child as an extension of their family -- new spouse included. And with that status comes expectations: that you will welcome parents when they pop in unannounced Saturday at 10 a.m., or you will travel with them to Williamsburg, VA for the Fourth of July. In Genesis 2:24 it says, Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. You both need to set boundaries with each of your families and explain them- in detail. Try limiting dinner together to twice a month, long weekend vacations to once a year, and weekend phone calls. Speak to your parents; explain that the situation is new to everyone: to them, to you two, and to the other set of parents. Explain that you need to launch your marriage, and that means spending some quality time together. My beloved is mine and I am his; he browses among the lilies. Song of Solomon 2:16 Let them know you love them and count on their support -and that they are not being excluded from your lives- but you need to learn to depend on each other, rather than on your folks. It's going to be hard for many parents to let go, especially if your spouse is an only child. Let parents know the situation will naturally evolve as time goes on. Keep them in the loop with a weekly email or phone call so they won't have the urge to show up next weekend during your romantic park picnic. Sources: Jane Greer, PhD, a marriage therapist in private practice in New York City and author of Gridlock: Finding the Courage to Move On in Love, Work, and Life.

March/April 2007

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may 07 crossbearer  

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