His Needs, Her Needs: Marriage in the 21st Century

Second Friday of the month:  Marriage

“The greatest thing that a parent can do for their children is to love and respect their spouse.”

Photo from wallpaper-s.org

Parenting is rooted in good husband and wife relationship. And having a strong relationship is vital in child rearing.  This is what consultants Tibbs and Vangie Evalle are espousing as advocates of good parenting and child development. They were the guest speakers from the third and final parenting seminar organized by DML Montessori Pre-School early this year, the first being about wellness and nutrition, followed by helpful parenting advice here. Like the past seminars I have attended, this talk on marriage was very enlightening, candid and straightforward as well.

Working with, and counseling many couples over two decades have made the Evalles credible and effective speakers. Hence, they were able to drive their message across in a fun and engaging manner during their talk, even with an audience composed mostly of wives, and nuns!

"Strengthening Couple Relationship for Optimal Child Development"
Talk and Slide Presentation by Mr. & Mrs. Tibbs and Vangie Evalle

Marriage is a vocation, a covenant, and lifetime commitment to your spouse with love as the foundation, and the objectives being the union of man and woman, and procreation and education of children.  When a couple becomes parents,  they are the primary educators and successful child-rearing can be mainly attributed to a strong couple relationship.

The counselors recommended that each couple should begin their marriage by having a Mission Statement. Couples should ask themselves:
'What kind of marriage partners you want to be?'
'How do you want to treat each other?'
'How do you want to resolve your differences?'
This will set expectations between couples and help them resolve and recognize their needs as it arises.

What is Marriage today?

There were mixed responses as they posed this question to the audience.  And there was a funny truth to their revelation:
  • TILL DEATH DO US PART? : That's impossible!
  • TO LOVE AND TO CHERISH : You've got be kidding!
  • I DO:  is now I Don't, I Can't, I Won't
The change in attitude towards marriage has evolved.  Or is this just a matter of perspective? Social, moral, religious and cultural differences?

Recent studies revealed a high incidence in divorce and annulment in the past decade.  And for a (predominantly) Catholic country like ours, this is quite alarming.

So what are the causes of conflicts and failure in marriage?
1.    Wrong priorities
2.    Absence of strong faith
3.    In-laws and “barkada” (peers) -  meddling of relatives and negative influences by friends and peers
4.    Differences in religion, family and educational background
5.    Infidelity caused by spousal neglect or prolonged absence (i.e. OFWs) that leads to new experience for the waiting spouse
With separation, the ones who suffer most are the children. The damaging effects on them can range from sleep disturbances, anger and bitterness, to disobedience and psycho-emotional and behavioral problems.

On the positive side, a good marital relationship has the following effects on the kids:
1.    Generally happy and feel secure
2.    Feel loved
3.    Do well in school
4.    Emotional and psychological stability
5.    Prevents teenage pregnancy, drug use, alcohol abuse and juvenile delinquency
In order to build a solid and nurturing relationship with your spouse, it is vital for the husband and wife to recognize each other’s needs.

His Needs, Her Needs for Parents: Keeping Romance AliveHis Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage 

Referenced from this book, “His Needs, Her Needs” by Willard Harley, Jr., which "identifies the ten most vital needs of men and women and shows husbands and wives how to satisfy those needs", the Evalles presented this chart to clearly drive their point:

The love language of the husband and wife differs in many ways -- expressed through actions, words of affirmation, or acts of service. The challenge lies in recognizing and addressing the needs no matter how difficult.

As a conclusion, they presented this acronym that couples can live by:

Nurture your love in marriage with V.I.R.T.U.E.S.

  • Be VIGILANT - know his/her interests, needs, temperament, their differences; know each other's love language
  • Keep IN TOUCH - communicate and listen; relive the courtship days with long hours of conversations; have a conversation, not confrontation
  • RESPECT each other - respect his/her individuality, no name-calling, no comparing
  • Make TIME - try to pursue common interests, hobbies, and do things together; set a date just for two. Though there is guilt when leaving the kids, setting aside time for each other is an investment in marriage which the children will greatly benefit from.
  • Do UNDERSTAND - there are differences between a man and a woman: physical, emotional, sexual; recognize that each one has different needs
  • Show good EXAMPLE - children need to see that mom and dad care for each other and their children; keep a unified front
  • Put SPIRITUAL dimension - Pray together. Honor the marriage vows of fidelity, unity, and love
“Personal happiness and the happiness of marriage depend mainly on the generosity and sacrifice of each spouse, and the grace of God from Heaven.” - the Evalles

I had my own shards of wisdom on marriage here:
7 Years After 'I Do'

Tibbs and Vangie Evalle of
EDUCHILD - Education for the Upbringing of Children
The couple has been a part of this non-profit organization for more than 20  years. EduChild was formed by parents to help fellow parents in the delicate task of rearing a family. 

Photo Credits:
Top photo from wallpaper-s.org 
Second photo courtesy of C.S. Dayrit