Marriage experts Gary and Barb Rosberg share about the different kinds of love that are needed to protect marital intimacy.
Contributed By Christal Ong
In Singapore, the likelihood of a marriage failing within five years has doubled in the past 20 years. Three percent of marriages registered in 1987 ended in divorce within five years, and that number climbed to six percent for marriages registered in 2004, according to a Straits Times article on June 8, 2011.
It was therefore relevant that non-profit organization Focus On The Family Singapore organized a marriage conference recently at the Christian Bartley Church to help participants develop deeper understanding of what makes a strong marriage. Held on the morning of Sep. 3, it featured internationally-acclaimed Christian marriage experts Gary and Barb Rosberg speaking on the “Great Marriage Experience.”
The Rosbergs are award-winning authors, radio hosts and marriage conference speakers. They have written over a dozen books and produced several DVD series on marriage and family, including The 5 Love Needs Of Men And Women. For more than 20 years, they have conducted conferences through their international ministry, America’s Family Coaches, successfully helping to address the needs of marriages with insight and biblical truth.
The conference touched on the seven declining phases—each starting with “D”—a couple should guard against: at the beginning, couples enter into marriage positively with a Dream of their future, only to encounter Disappointment and subsequently Discouragement with each other later. They start to keep a Distance physically, leading to emotional Disconnection. After the inability to resolve the Discord, they end up in emotional Divorce, detached from the marriage itself.
With the growing divorce rates in Singapore, the Rosbergs emphasized that the secrets to a strong marriage are more than feelings or emotions. They highlighted the six specific kinds of love that must be intentionally pursued and practiced to protect marital intimacy: serving love (discovering and meeting a spouse’s needs to make them feel honored and understood), forgiving love (healing hurts and helping one’s spouse feel accepted and connected), persevering love (staying strong in tough times), guarding love (protecting spouse from threats and helping spouse feel safe and secure), celebrating love (rejoicing in the marriage relationship and helping one’s spouse feel cherished and captivated) and finally, renewing love (refreshing and supporting the marriage bond and helping one’s spouse feel confident and rooted).
During the second part of the conference, the Rosbergs elaborated on the different needs of men and women, focusing mainly on two categories: emotional connection and sexual intimacy. Women typically feel emotionally connected to their husbands when they are given words of encouragement. Barb shared that during a public conference once, her husband had praised her publicly on her positive characteristics as a good wife. “He was focusing on the best in me, and I wanted to be like that woman,” she recalled of the effect the verbal public affirmation it had on her. So touched was she by his encouragement, she still strives to this day to be the best wife her husband had confessed in detail to others.
On the topic of sexual intimacy, a couple first needs to safeguard the marriage against temptations such as lust, passivity, pornography or other distractions. Within a marriage, both husband and wife should serve one another’s needs and interests. They should also connect with each other through non-sexual touch such as giving a good massage to one’s spouse after a day’s work as a form of servitude. Genuine words of affirmation, for example, saying “If I had a choice, I would marry you all over again” are also day-to-day connect points for a couple to show appreciation to each other before entering into fulfilling sexual intimacy.
Newly-married couple, Chin Zhi Yan, 26, a marketing manager and his wife, Lim Chai Ying, 24, a recruitment consultant, were among the participants at this seminar. “We are young and we’ve only been married for three months. Marriage is a new commitment for both of us, so this seminar definitely helps us gain a deeper understanding of each other’s needs and to be mentally prepared for the long journey ahead of us,” said Chin.
To find out more about the Rosbergs’ ministry, log on to www.thegreatmarriageexperience.com.