- The Duet of
- By Barrington H. Brennen, April 27,
Marriage is not a solo, it is a duet between a man and a woman singing
together around the piano of God’s divine accompanying grace. Each spouse
produces a distinct tone. A healthy marriage occurs when these two
individuals, over time, have learned how to blend sweetly their individual
tones to form another unique and special harmonious sound–the marriage
A duet is only made possible because each individual comes to the
piano of marriage with the ability to stand alone with his or her own
sound. Many have agreed to "sing the duet" of marriage, but they have
not been able to form harmony. Although forming the duet of marriage is
instant, having occurred on the wedding day, the harmony of marriage,
though, is not by default. It does not occur at the altar. It does not
occur on the honeymoon. It is not automatic. A harmonious marriage is
the result of years of practice, patience, growing, adjusting, and
performing. It usually takes between five and ten years for a couple to
learn how to blend harmoniously.
A PLEASING EFFECT
The dictionary defines harmony as "the combination of simultaneously
sounded musical notes to produce chords and chord progressions having a
pleasing effect." It is similar in marriage. Harmony in marriage is a
description of a sweet, pleasing, effectiveness, brought on by a
willingness and openness on the part of both performers.
- THE HARMONY
As a little boy, I was fascinated with the music of one of the world’s
oldest quartets–the Kings Heralds. I grew up listening to them, and in
particular, admiring the deep rich bass voice of Jim McClintock. The quartet
had a smooth blend that penetrated the coldest heart. After 15 years of
singing with the quartet, my favorite bass singer, Jim McClintock, retired
and a new bass joined the group: Jim Ayers. Jim has an extremely rich, deep
bass. When he talks, your toes tinkle. Although he is a great soloist and
has a beautiful voice, it took him at least one entire year to learn how to
sing harmoniously with the quartet. At first, his voice was distinctly heard
above the others’. However, when listening to the quartet today, you can
hear all four parts clearly; but neither voice is standing out as a sore
thumb. They have learned how to blend. So should marriage partners.
As stated earlier, many married couples have not learned how to
create harmony in marriage. They have agreed to "sing" together (get
married), but have never taken the time to create harmony. There is no
togetherness or mutuality. They are legally married but emotionally and
spiritually distant. They are no better than cohabiting couples who
refuse to cross each other’s boundaries. They thought that knowing how
to perform "sheet music" would keep them close. Soon they find out that
the music under the sheets (sex) was not sufficient to create or keep
harmony in marriage. But they continue to focus on their own
performances (needs) and refuse to listen to the conductor’s (God’s)
advice: "Love seeketh not his/her own." (1 Corinthians 13). Thus they
TAKE TIME TO PRACTICE
Creating harmony calls for intentional and determined effort on the
part of each singer. They must set aside systematic time for practice.
When alone, they are to do physical exercises to tone the
mind and body and to enhance their breathing techniques and build
self-confidence. The duet spends countless hours practicing together;
listening intently to the other’s tone; making adjustment to volume,
power, and quality of voice. The two individuals realize that although
individually they can perform well and perhaps be popular for their
singing, yet, singing together is vastly different and requires
different skills. Are you a harmonious couple? Are you taking the time
for each other and the marriage? Are you spending time around the piano
of marriage listening to the "heavenly pianist" as he works through your
imperfections and weaknesses day and night, hours upon hours, to bring
out the best harmony in your marriage? Have you been willing to soften
your tone, breathe deeper, and study the music of marriage? Are you
singing (loving) so you can hear your duet partner at the same time? If
you are doing these things, then you are on the road to creating harmony
in marriage. On the other hand, if you are "singing" so loudly you
cannot hear your partner’s voice, you are either a controller, an
abuser, stubborn, selfish, or arrogant.
MEASURE YOUR HARMONY
On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you measure the harmony in your
marriage? ("1" meaning very poor and "10" meaning excellent). Determine
your answer privately then share it with your spouse. After answering
this question, complete the following Brennen Marriage Harmony Quiz:
- COHABITING COUPLE
Select one of the following to answer each question:
- [ ] My spouse and I spontaneously reach
out for each other’s hand when walking together.
- [ ] My spouse and I break into smiles
spontaneously when we see each other at the end of the work day.
- [ ] My spouse and I enjoy eating meals
together at least three times a week.
- [ ] My spouse and I enjoy receiving calls
from each other at work.
- [ ] My spouse and I enjoy eating lunch
together at least once during the work-week.
- [ ] My spouse and I enjoy sharing hymnals
when singing together in church.
- [ ] My spouse and I enjoy referring to
each other by first or pet name.
- [ ] My spouse and I are considerate of
each other’s feelings, fears, and joys.
- [ ] My spouse and I are excited to go to
bed together at least three times a week.
- [ ] My spouse and I enjoy holding or lying
close to each other while falling asleep.
- [ ] My spouse and I enjoy lingering a
while after making love.
- [ ] My spouse and I enjoy working together
financially and building the family budget.
- [ ] My spouse and I enjoy sitting together
in church or other religious or social functions.
- [ ] My spouse and I enjoy embracing each
other for at least 20 seconds each day.
- [ ] My spouse and I enjoy talking about
each other to our friends and colleagues.
- [ ] My spouse and I feel free to share
opinions and ideas even when they are opposing views.
If you want to learn how to create harmony in your marriage call
1-242-323 8772; or write P.O. Box N-896, Nassau, The Bahamas; or email
or visit the website
Barrington Brennen is a marriage and family therapist and a nationally