Participants: Alanzo Smith, June Smith
Series Code: MGH
Program Code: MGH000078
00:30 Welcome to Marriage In God's Hands.
00:34 I'm Alanzo Smith and this is my lovely wife, June.
00:38 Together, we want to share with you the topic,
00:42 After the Pomp and Circumstance.
00:46 You know, June, marriage is always a beautiful thing.
00:50 And we, ourselves, we have had one a couple of years ago.
00:56 No, not couple. 33 years ago.
01:00 But then our daughter got married a few months ago.
01:04 And so we went through that again in planning and
01:06 preparing for that one.
01:07 And like our friend said to us in our time,
01:10 and now in her wedding, it was beautiful, it was lovely.
01:14 And weddings are always an exciting and beautiful thing.
01:18 But is that all to marriage, is just the wedding
01:22 and afterwards they ride off in splendor
01:27 and honeymoon forever?
01:29 That's part of what I think creates the intrigue
01:34 because I don't think that many young people
01:36 think beyond the wedding day.
01:38 And so they see the event of the wedding,
01:41 the pomp and circumstance; the beautiful dress,
01:44 the flowers, and all that goes with the ceremony
01:47 as the occasion.
01:48 But no, that's not all there is to the experience.
01:53 Marriage comes beyond the wedding day.
01:56 You know, as you said that, I was working with a couple
02:01 in premarital counseling, and the question came up,
02:05 I asked the young man, "So after the wedding,
02:08 where are you folks going to live?"
02:10 And he looked up in the sky and he said, "You know,
02:13 we never thought of that. "
02:15 And I'm serious.
02:16 So they're planning a wedding and they're so caught up in
02:20 all the activities of the day that they forgot that there's
02:23 life after the wedding.
02:24 So we would like to talk about life after the wedding,
02:27 after the tumult and the shouting dies,
02:30 the pomp and the circumstance, and the friends are gone,
02:33 and the flowers fade, and you're set into reality now.
02:37 What do you do?
02:38 I often think when I hear the divorce statistic
02:43 which implies that 50%, and more in some cultural groups,
02:48 end up in a divorce.
02:50 And I think how tragic that here are all these beautiful plans
02:54 put in place, but then 50% of them don't make it.
02:58 Now I think that one of the remedies would be,
03:01 if couples before they get married really work through
03:06 the stages that they're likely to go through,
03:09 anticipating what they need to do so that they can plan well,
03:16 and make a decision before they actually get into it
03:18 if this is the person that is likely to help me
03:22 make those plans come true.
03:24 Psychologists call the period that comes right after marriage,
03:28 the power struggle period.
03:31 I don't know why they call it, and I'm not subscribing to it,
03:34 but that's what they have dubbed it, the power struggle.
03:39 But let's talk about that period, and what are some of
03:42 the things that are going on here?
03:43 Because obviously, these two strangers,
03:46 quote unquote strangers, as it were,
03:48 they're coming together to negotiate and to
03:51 navigate their lives.
03:53 What are the expectations? What are the issues?
03:55 What should they be working out?
03:57 I think it's an appropriate label for the stage
03:59 after the honeymoon, the power struggle.
04:01 Because that's exactly what happens.
04:03 They are two people who are coming together,
04:05 and for the first time they're now going to live together
04:09 beyond the wedding day.
04:11 And so, yes, they're going to have to make decisions
04:15 about new rules, they're going to develop structure,
04:19 patterns of communication in their relationship,
04:22 and all the things that go into making a relationship effective.
04:26 They have to settle now on finances, whereas before
04:30 you spend your money the way you choose,
04:32 how you feel, you save if you want, if you don't, etcetera.
04:35 It's your life, your money.
04:36 Ah ha, but now you have somebody and the rules change.
04:40 And you now have to settle down and decide now,
04:43 How are we going to spend this money?
04:45 How are we going to make a budget and appropriate
04:48 what part of the finances go to where in the budget?
04:51 We're talking about rules and structure.
04:53 We see the family as a system, an organization, and when
04:59 two people come together, it's no longer singular.
05:02 So here we are, that we're going to have to coexist in the
05:06 same space, we need to work out how we're going to do this.
05:09 How is labor divided?
05:11 How are we going to organize the holidays,
05:15 who will go where and when?
05:17 You know, if you have to go out, you're now
05:20 accountable to your spouse.
05:21 All these rules and all these things will have to be
05:24 negotiated and very clear limits need to be placed
05:29 so that you can go forward minimizing conflicts.
05:32 But some people, after they're married, still want to
05:37 resort to old patterns of behavior.
05:40 I use to hang out with my girlfriends.
05:43 I use to hang out with my guys.
05:46 And you know, you have to understand, you have to
05:49 make this adjustment because it's a girl thing and you
05:52 may not understand girls.
05:54 That doesn't mean your life is over when it comes to the
05:57 things that you might have found, you know, pleasurable.
06:01 But you now have to include your husband.
06:04 So he needs to know if you're going out with your girlfriends,
06:07 for example, a Thursday evening for whatever reason,
06:10 then he should know where you are.
06:12 You should have some time frame that is involved
06:15 so you don't come back 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning and
06:17 you're not able to account for where you were.
06:20 And vice versa.
06:21 If he has to go out to the games with his guy friends,
06:23 or wherever guys go, you know, you're playing golf or
06:27 you're playing whatever, then your wife should know.
06:29 And now that demands some communication.
06:32 So there needs to be openness and transparency in what you do.
06:35 And we're saying it is during this stage, it is necessary
06:38 to negotiate and work these out in order to have a
06:43 smoother marriage as you move along.
06:45 That's why they call it the power struggle
06:47 because you may not get all that you want right away
06:50 and you might have a fight and argue and fuss, and whatever.
06:52 But the idea is, you work it out.
06:54 Hopefully not fight, but certainly communicate.
06:57 But you now have to think "we" instead of "I".
07:01 The dynamics change now.
07:03 And so, what I use to do becomes what we have to do
07:07 or what we need to do.
07:09 That's important.
07:10 And if it's a nuclear family and this is the first time
07:12 you're married, it might be a little easier.
07:14 But think about how much more difficult it is
07:16 if you're in a blended family where you have several
07:19 other extended family members who are going to be included
07:22 in your relationship.
07:23 You have to establish limits, you must decide
07:27 how that's going to be divided up, and what role
07:30 these people will play in your life.
07:32 And of course, if it is your desire and God's plan
07:36 for your life, you're going to start talking about
07:39 children, the entrance of children in the family.
07:43 Now that's a whole new and different dynamics.
07:47 Now when children enter into the family,
07:51 the dyadic relationship, it changes everything completely.
07:58 What are some of the issues that we're talking about here?
08:01 Sometimes it's traumatic for the couple.
08:06 I just this last evening spoke to a friend of mine,
08:11 who became a father for the first time,
08:14 and I called to say happy father's day.
08:17 And he didn't sound very happy at all.
08:20 And I said, "What's going on?"
08:22 And he said, "You have no idea, man.
08:24 I didn't know that this was how it was. "
08:27 He hasn't slept for days and he was just really...
08:30 And I thought and I said to him, I said, "Take a deep breath.
08:33 It is going to get better. "
08:34 So yes, there are changes.
08:36 You're going with all the anticipation, you're wife is
08:39 pregnant and you can't wait for this baby to land.
08:41 And now the baby is here and your life goes into a whirlwind,
08:45 as it were, with all the adaptation and the adjustment
08:48 that you have to make.
08:49 And another thing a child does is that it
08:52 triangulates the relationship.
08:54 Now we think, this is in the context of a nuclear family.
08:57 And so it was just both of you and your life and world
09:01 surrounds you.
09:03 You wake up when you feel like it,
09:04 you go to bed when you feel like it.
09:05 You go here, you go there, etcetera.
09:07 Once that child comes in, it changes everything.
09:10 The child triangulates the relationship.
09:12 And sometimes it creates problems in the dyad.
09:15 So you have sometimes, you know the husbands
09:18 sometimes feel displaced by a new baby
09:21 because no longer is the attention all on him.
09:24 Now the wife is preoccupied taking care of the baby
09:27 and he feels like, "Well, what's going on here?"
09:30 And even though he loves his child, it does
09:33 create some tension.
09:35 So that's something you have to understand
09:37 and be able to work through.
09:38 All this pampering that he use to get, it is the child
09:41 that is getting it now.
09:42 So his emotions are starving for some of this.
09:46 And jealousy can set in.
09:48 Even though it is his child, jealousy can set in there.
09:52 I had the saddest experience once when I went to
09:55 speak at a retreat.
09:56 And a young woman came up to me after the presentation
10:00 and she said, "Oh I have to talk to you, I'm so depressed. "
10:02 I said, "What's going on?" and she said, "I just had a
10:04 baby and it's 4 months old.
10:06 And I have suicidal thoughts. "
10:08 I said, "Suicidal?"
10:10 She said, "And I also have homicidal thoughts. "
10:13 My eyes were popped open.
10:15 She loved her child, but symbolically what the child
10:19 meant to her drove her into depression.
10:21 So I counseled her to get help and explained to her the
10:25 dynamics of what was going on that she was experiencing
10:27 postpartum depression and needed help.
10:29 But that's what happens with some young couples.
10:31 They suddenly take on this new role of parenting
10:35 and the anticipation of all that it will bring
10:38 translates into hard work.
10:40 And they sometimes can't handle it and their emotions get
10:42 wrapped up with their hormones, and it just creates a crisis.
10:45 And here's what is happening now, parents.
10:48 You have a new set of problems, a new set of conflicts,
10:51 because the friction starts between both of you
10:59 in terms of child discipline.
11:02 You might have grown up into a strict disciplinarian home
11:07 where your parents dotted the "i's" and crossed the "t's",
11:12 etcetera, and your spouse might have grown up
11:14 in a kind of a less affair home where things were laid back
11:19 and no big deal.
11:21 And now it wasn't an issue prior to the entrance of the baby,
11:25 it wasn't an issue.
11:27 But now that you have a baby, it becomes a big issue.
11:30 Because you would like to see this happen to your child,
11:34 you would like your child to respond this way, to do this.
11:36 And the other spouse is saying, "Oh, no big deal.
11:39 You know, what are you getting so uptight over?"
11:43 And all of a sudden now, both of you start quarreling
11:46 and the tension increases between both of you.
11:49 This is a good point to indicate where young people who have
11:54 dissimilar faith experiences tend to have problems.
11:58 Because before the baby came, you know, they were adults,
12:00 they would do their own thing.
12:01 And whether they went to church or not, they didn't really care
12:04 if you married somebody outside of your faith.
12:06 But now you have a baby, and all of a sudden, it becomes
12:08 important to you to socialize your child around your faith.
12:11 But your spouse may not share your values and now will not
12:15 necessarily support your attempt to get the child the
12:18 spiritual nurturing that it needs.
12:20 And that now can become a major conflict in your relationship.
12:23 And as a child grows a little older, it is possible that
12:28 the child now can be the one holding the marriage together.
12:31 Because they have focused so much time and attention
12:36 on the child that they start growing apart.
12:39 And they're in the marriage, you're there in the marriage,
12:42 but it is the child that is holding you together.
12:45 That's also a possibility.
12:46 So it's not unusual that one spouse feels neglected
12:49 and the relationship begins to break down.
12:53 And before you know it, they're just not feeling
12:55 the passion as much.
12:57 We are talking about, after the pomp and circumstance.
13:03 We're looking at marriage after the wedding,
13:07 married life after the wedding.
13:10 We are happy that you have joined us
13:13 but we have a lot more that we want to talk about.
13:15 We must go in for the break now, but when we come back
13:18 we want to talk about other changes, other areas,
13:21 and how do you navigate it.
13:23 If we haven't touched your transitional period, we will.
13:26 Just wait on us.
13:27 And if we have already touched yours,
13:29 wait and see what's coming.
13:37 There are many "How To" book available,
13:39 but there's one that's free and perfect for every couple.
13:42 "How You Can Build A Better Marriage"
13:45 Bible-based matrimonial advice is given in a light-hearted
13:49 easy to read manner for those contemplating marriage,
13:51 newlyweds, couples in their golden years,
13:54 and everyone in between.
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14:10 Welcome back to Marriage In God's Hands.
14:13 We're talking about after the pomp and circumstances.
14:17 Marriages these days are challenged.
14:21 But so much focus is placed on the wedding day, and we want to
14:26 continue to talk about what happens after the wedding day.
14:31 Well, you know, unfortunately but it is a reality,
14:36 conflict will arise.
14:39 Conflicts, in and of themselves, are not necessarily bad
14:43 if we can negotiate them correctly and if we can
14:48 work towards conflict resolution.
14:53 But there are conflicts and difficulties that emerge in a
14:57 relationship now that they have settled into married life.
15:01 What might be some of these conflicts?
15:03 It seems to me that as we said, we have power struggles
15:07 in the original stage right after the honeymoon,
15:09 negotiating the rules and establishing boundaries
15:12 and setting limits.
15:13 And sometimes that wasn't done appropriately.
15:16 And so, you know, people just kind of assume certain roles,
15:20 but it comes with a price.
15:22 And now as you progress and set into your ways,
15:25 it creates conflict in the marriage.
15:27 So it could be just unscripted rules.
15:29 It could also be that poor habits, poor personal habits,
15:33 start to emerge.
15:34 So you probably even gave up certain traits when you
15:39 were dating because it was so important to your lover.
15:43 But now you're married, you're relaxed and you feel well,
15:45 "You know what, I'm going to go back to my old ways. "
15:47 I heard of an incident recently where the young man,
15:54 while they were dating, apparently was using marijuana.
15:57 And the girlfriend said, "Look, I am sorry.
16:01 I love you with all my heart, but I will not marry you
16:04 because I will never want to live in a situation
16:07 where my husband takes any form of drugs, even cigarettes. "
16:12 And he promised her he would change.
16:14 Well he didn't and so she broke the relationship off.
16:17 And she said, for one year she went her way and he went his.
16:22 And then he pursued her after that telling her how he had
16:26 changed his ways, he was now clean for almost a year,
16:29 and he was off the substance.
16:31 And of course, she bought it and she started dating again,
16:35 and he lured her right to the altar.
16:38 And she said, one day into her honeymoon,
16:43 she discovered that he had not done what he said.
16:47 He was actually still taking marijuana.
16:50 And now they're married four years and they're in treatment
16:54 because she's saying, "If he doesn't get help,
16:56 I am leaving. "
16:59 The family will always have challenges.
17:03 One of the adjustments that families sometimes have to make
17:06 is career changes.
17:08 They get to a point in life where they decide this is
17:11 not what they want.
17:12 Or one family member decides they would like to go back
17:15 to school, they would like to continue their education.
17:18 And yes, this can cause conflict.
17:20 One, there's going to be finance involved and one family member
17:27 might say, "We can't afford it.
17:29 Why spend this money? You already have a job. "
17:32 And the other person says, "Yes, but I need to improve myself.
17:36 I need to go back to school. You had promised. "
17:38 And this can create conflict in the relationship.
17:43 And that's unfortunate because whatever happens to one spouse
17:46 is really to the benefit of the family.
17:48 So if there's a situation or an opportunity for either of you
17:54 to develop your capacity, to be progressive,
17:58 it is a good thing.
17:59 And if it means that one person has to pick up the tab
18:02 while the other person goes forward, then that's okay.
18:05 But it must be a mutual consent.
18:07 And when you're through doing whatever, then the other person
18:10 assists you and both of you grow together for the
18:13 advancement of the family.
18:15 But it is true that those kinds of adjustments and changes
18:19 will impose problems because the schedule has to be re-arranged
18:25 to accommodate the student, the children's needs are
18:29 sometimes sacrificed in order to make that happen.
18:32 And those adjustments sometimes impose certain difficulties.
18:36 And during this search and this conflict and difficulties,
18:41 an individual might find himself or herself
18:45 searching for meaning.
18:47 The anticipation and the expectation that they had
18:52 of what marriage and married life would bring them
18:55 is not living up.
18:57 They have children and there are sometimes problems
19:01 with the children.
19:02 Maybe the budget is stretched beyond their capacity to cope.
19:08 And so one individual might stop now to examine and say,
19:13 "What's in this for me? What am I getting out of it?"
19:17 and start to examine themselves and search for meaning in life.
19:23 And during this search, you can find that they might be drifting
19:28 away from connecting to the family.
19:30 It is normal as you go through your own personal
19:35 developmental journey that sometimes you get to that point
19:38 where you feel unfulfilled and you need to make
19:41 changes in your life.
19:42 But you're no longer single so that search should involve
19:46 your spouse, and certainly your entire family.
19:50 And the decisions you make must be in the interest of
19:53 the collective good of the family.
19:55 It cannot be that you step out and do whatever you do
19:59 to achieve your own personal goals, neglecting the imposition
20:03 or even the difficulty it will pose on the family.
20:06 That must be discussed and adequate adjustments
20:09 must be made to scaffold those needs.
20:12 And together you work to achieve the goal that will be
20:16 of interest to all concerned.
20:19 I have discovered, June, that sometimes parents are either;
20:24 one, unaware of, or two, don't really care,
20:29 of the effect that these conflicts that their having,
20:34 that it has on their children.
20:36 And as a result, you find that children who grew up in a
20:41 hostile environment, in a conflictual relationship,
20:46 marital relationship environment,
20:48 when the time comes for them to select a college to go,
20:55 they will select one that is farthest from their home.
21:00 Even though they might get a scholarship,
21:02 get a school nearer with a better scholarship,
21:06 they will still go to the farthest distance.
21:10 According to Murray Bowen, it's called "emotional cut off".
21:15 Sometimes what happens in settings like that is we have
21:18 what is called an enmeshed family where they form
21:21 coalitions and alliances.
21:22 And they literally suffocate the children so that the children
21:27 were used to strengthen the structure, the core,
21:33 what you'd call the inner core of the parents or the adults.
21:37 And the children get over burdened.
21:39 They just can't handle it.
21:40 So there are conflicts between the couple,
21:42 and mom goes talk to the daughter
21:44 or dad goes to talk to the daughter or the son,
21:46 and they disclose their pain to the children, and they're
21:49 over burdened with the issues between their parents.
21:52 And they love both parents, they don't want to take sides.
21:55 And so the child decides, "You know what?
21:57 I am out of here.
21:59 I am going to LA or I'm going to Florida, wherever,
22:03 just to get away from this because I've had enough
22:05 of these two people. "
22:06 Even though they love them with all their hearts,
22:08 and they want to still remain their child.
22:10 They just don't want to deal with the emotional stuff.
22:12 Now parents, we're not in any way suggesting that
22:15 if your child does choose to go to a far away school,
22:19 that it's an escape from you.
22:21 That's not what we're suggesting.
22:22 But we're saying, there is the reality of what is called
22:25 "emotional cut off".
22:26 And sometimes children seek to escape what's going on at home.
22:31 Now as we talk about emotional cut off and children going away,
22:35 that should push us into the next stage
22:38 of children migrating.
22:41 Because this is the stage now where the parents are at
22:45 what we call the mid-life crisis.
22:48 And this is an important stage to look at.
22:53 It could begin even earlier than mid-life,
22:56 but yes, it ushers into.
22:58 And so there are all kinds of adjustments that's going on
23:00 in the family at this time.
23:02 The child is growing up, they're getting to college age,
23:04 they're making their own career choices and decisions.
23:07 But the parents are also developing and they're going
23:10 through their own transitions.
23:11 Maybe career changes, maybe they have to
23:15 downsize or upgrade based on, you know,
23:17 their economic resources.
23:18 And their losing their stand at that point in their life.
23:21 Likely to be either having ailing parents or
23:24 losing their own parents.
23:25 So they're going through their own emotional stuff.
23:28 And all these transitions are occurring at the same time.
23:30 So parents need to be aware and need to understand,
23:34 these are the stages they have to anticipate
23:36 and begin to put things in place to get ready for it
23:39 because it is coming.
23:41 But the danger is that those transitions create conflicts.
23:46 And research has shown also that during this period of time,
23:51 a lot of adulterous relationships develop.
23:54 Because men are, some men I should say, some men are
23:58 now on a quest to discover their fountain of youth.
24:02 The wife is changing physically and changing in other areas,
24:08 and they kind of want to prove something to themselves
24:11 that they are still able, they're still...
24:13 And they're on this quest.
24:17 It is, I think, what happens normally for both men and woman,
24:20 that they go through physical changes in their bodies.
24:23 They begin to slow down where their libido is concerned,
24:26 or to be activated based on their lifestyle and their
24:30 circumstances or their health conditions.
24:32 And so, yes, those changes are occurring.
24:34 And emotionally and psychologically they
24:36 sometimes get into a crisis.
24:38 But it doesn't have to be a crisis.
24:40 If they anticipate it, they plan for it.
24:42 Your beautiful wife is not always going to be as young
24:45 and pretty and attractive as she was on the day you married her.
24:49 But she's still you're beautiful wife.
24:50 You still have to appreciate and admire her.
24:52 You're handsome husband, even will change.
24:55 As much as he is, you know, thinking he will be
24:58 perpetually young, the reality is, he is not as attractive
25:01 as the day you married him as well.
25:03 So both of you will have to make the adjustment and
25:05 appreciate and value each other for the core of who you are.
25:09 Again, not for the externals.
25:11 And there are some issues that can come to play inside here
25:16 because when the last child leaves home,
25:19 the emptiness syndrome, as they often dub this period,
25:23 you can find loneliness and sadness sets in.
25:27 As a matter of fact, when the last child leaves,
25:30 there's a strong likelihood that family could end up in divorce
25:35 because with issues, they use to use their child
25:38 as their way of communicating.
25:40 And now they are...
25:42 They're face to face with each other and conflicts emerge.
25:45 And that is why we encourage parents, don't allow your,
25:49 don't just live in your family or in your marriage relationship
25:52 for your children only.
25:54 You're a couple and that relationship is critical
25:57 So while you take care of your kids and you love your kids,
26:00 you also must bond with each other, invest emotions
26:04 in each other, and relate to each other with openness and
26:07 with clearly open communication.
26:10 So when your children leave, you won't be strangers.
26:13 You will have built this relationship,
26:15 you would have had this bonding together,
26:16 and your lives will simply move on to the next phase.
26:19 But if you didn't, your children will flee the coop
26:22 and you will literally be strangers.
26:24 And yes, you'll be searching to find "what do I do next".
26:28 Now we come to the final stage, retirement.
26:32 Old age and retirement.
26:35 Are you there yet?
26:37 Not at all.
26:39 Not at all.
26:40 But it is a reality.
26:42 People must plan for it because the time is going to be coming
26:47 when you're going to retire.
26:49 You will grow old.
26:50 And sadly and unfortunately, one day you will die.
26:55 You know, my friends, the worst thing that could ever happen
27:00 to an individual is, after they have lived their lives,
27:05 they have grown their children, and they have done well and
27:09 have travelled the world, and have everything,
27:12 when they get to the final stage, their soul is not ready
27:16 to find Jesus Christ and to die with the Lord.
27:20 It's like they hear the words, "The harvest is past,
27:24 the summer is ended, and you are not yet saved. "
27:27 I challenge you, as you navigate your life and as you
27:31 live your life, after the pomp and circumstance,
27:34 every stage, remember to journey along with Jesus Christ.
27:38 Let Him be a part of your life.
27:40 When you get to the end of it all, you want to hear
27:44 from your Master, "Well done thou good and faithful servant.
27:49 Thou hast been faithful over a few things,
27:51 I will make thee ruler over many things.
27:54 Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. "
27:57 God bless you and enjoy your life.