People are made up of three parts. A physical, temporal body that interacts with the environment, an evolving soul that consists of the mind, will and emotions and an eternal Spirit that has the ability to connect to God. Every problem can be unpacked from these perspectives. Even marital problems.
Spirit – With that in mind, when we ‘Say I Do’ from a spiritual perspective, we bring God into our marriage. This is accomplished by aligning our actions of love with how God demonstrated love to be. Committed, sacrificial and unconditional, with no strings attached, without double mindedness and independent of circumstances.
Throughout most of our lives our thoughts dictate how we feel and what our actions will be. However, our thoughts have limitations. We are limited to what we have been taught or have personally experienced, both good and bad. Often we limit what our experience of love could be because of our limited understanding. What a shame!
Approaching marriage from a spiritual perspective, that is, basing our actions with the truths of God’s Word, we can experience love in marriage beyond our natural understanding. And that’s simply amazing!
Soul – When we ‘Say I Do’ with our soul, we willfully bring our intellect into the marriage. Through our soul, we choose to understand our partner, decide to appreciate their thoughts, preferences and ideas then intelligently adapt them to our lifestyle. It means we start doing the things that cultivate positive thoughts and stop doing the things that cultivate negative thoughts towards each other. How smart!
John M. Gottman1 said ‘What can make a marriage work is surprisingly simple. Happily married couples are not smarter, richer or more psychologically astute than others. But in their day-to-day lives, they have hit upon a dynamic that keeps their negative thoughts and feelings about each other (which all couples have), from overwhelming their positive ones. They have what I call, an ‘emotionally intelligent marriage’.
Body – Finally, ‘saying I Do’ with our body, brings romantic love into the marriage (and all the men said? ‘Preach it white girl!’) This is natural, erotic, physical love. Love that has the tremendous power to hurt and to heal, like no other factor within in the marriage.
Dr. Dean Ornish2 said this about intimacy, ‘Sexual intimacy is at the root of what makes us sick and what makes us well, what causes sadness and what brings happiness, what makes us suffer and what leads to healing. If a new drug were introduced that had the same impact, virtually every doctor in the country would be prescribing it for their patients. It would be malpractice not to prescribe it.’
When we ‘Say I Do, Body, Soul and Spirit’, we take the limits off love. That’s when the real dreams of love will begin.
The ‘Say I Do, Body, Soul, Spirit’ course comes with four, 30 minute audio teachings and a workbook filled with thoughtful exercises to deepen your understanding of loving your partner. It can be purchased at www.elaineolson.org, Resources tab.
1New York Times Best seller ‘The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work’
2 Credited physician and wellness consultant to US Presidents and members of the US Congress.