Marriages need love in order to survive and thrive. And love comes in so many shapes and forms it’s impossible to set rules around it. But these seven ways will help people master a sustained love in their marriage relationship:
1. Love means respect, respect means love: there has been a lot said about the need of a woman partner to be loved and for a male partner to be respected. It would be better to say that women and men, alike, need to be loved and respected. Both deserve it. But, let’s face it, respect is merely a specific form of love. Respect is the love of honouring our partner. Respect is a love our partners deserve, but it’s not the only love they deserve.
2. Step inside the other person and take a look at ourselves: we never get the justice we deserve until we depart from our self-imposed pride and begin to step inside the other person and see from their vantage point. Then, through their eyes, we take an honest look at ourselves. Then we know how we can repent. Suddenly we have the capacity to forgive, because we have both perspectives: theirs and ours.
3. Mirror each other: a jovial mood in one partner needs to be met by a jovial mood in the other. The apostle Paul said to the Romans, “Mourn with those who mourn, rejoice with those who rejoice.” It is a great and sensible and safe way to love our partner — match and mirror their mood. Partners are a couple so they should mirror each other, especially during the important moments. The more we mirror our partner, the more we are like them, the less conflict we have, which equals satisfaction.
4. Read your partner’s body language: we cannot know what our partner’s actual felt experience of situations unless we are looking as well as wondering: what are they thinking and feeling? Only when we begin to more fully read our soulmate do we stand the chance of knowing implicitly more of what they want.
5. Bring prayer into the living of the marriage relationship: whether we are together or geographically apart, prayer should always connect us with God and our partner. We should, more or less, constantly pray for our partner. The more we think about our partner, the more our unconscious minds work underneath to consider them. God has partnered us with our partners so we might be as committed to them as we are to God, himself.
6. Utilise the power of the apology to reconcile: reconciliation is the most important thing in conflicted relationships. Nothing matters more than being at peace with each other. Someone must simply break the deadlock. All relationships face times of attack. The best defence is peacemaking. Ensure you know your partners’ language of apology, and speak it.
7. There is always hope, even when there’s no hope: whether it’s a crisis that our marriage is headed into or not matters little. If we have covenanted to be with our partner through every trial and tribulation it is our job to ensure we, personally, do not lose hope. Even if our partner chooses to walk away for any reason, we have the obligation to believe for reconciliation — to sacrifice ourselves to maintain order for the family.
Respectful love, empathy and honesty, discernment, prayer, reconciliation, and hope are seven key elements helping make marriage work.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.