Two people fall in love with what they agree is going to be the love of their lives. They get married, envisioning a life together filled with wonderful expectations. Life doesn’t cooperate, it actually gets in the way with work, bills, in-laws, kids, and everything else it throw at them. Their relationship starts to crack and shift as they lose sight of their commitment, purpose and each other. One day they look up and they don’t know why they got married in the first place.
Here are some key things that can rekindle, or even better keep any of this from happening before it can. That’s why we can proactively work to build a strong foundation. A marriage can last a lifetime. Invest in these 3 action steps and start improving it right now. Invest in your relationship today even before you decide to get married and avoid the issues even before they begin.
1. Connect Every Day
Ephesians 4:29 (ESV) Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
In the midst of everyday life, you’ll need to be intentional in order to connect and communicate with your spouse daily. We get swamped by ordinary routines, work, play, the kids activities, socializing, exercise, church involvement, even relaxation.
So build this good habit now before poor or neglectful communication can take root in your marriage. During your connection times, put down your tech devices, unless because of travel you need them to connect. Listen and look each other in the eye. Don’t be that couple sitting at a table eating a meal and both are looking at their cellphones when they really don’t have to. Adapt and find the time each day to connect, to share your day and the feelings that go with it.
2. Become A Great Listener
Proverbs 18:2 (ESV) A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.
For most of us being a great listener doesn’t come naturally. That’s because we listen thinking we already know where this is going. We also while doing something else, who has the time to just stop everything anyways. What do we normally hear when our partner is sharing? Do we get the gist of it? Some parts of it? Do we ignore some or all of it?
We are also judgmental when we listen, or what we hear we consider judgment that shuts down any good listening that can happen. It’s difficult to have a conversation, when all we want is for the other person to stop talking and pick a more convenient time to have a discussion. Here’s what we all know, if we don’t listen we can’t learn what bothering the other person. If we don’t listen now, it will get worse, the distance you feel will grow deeper and the divide will go further. So focus on what the other person is really saying. Listen. All the information you need to do something to make things better, is there just waiting to be heard whether you agree with it or not.
3. Deal With Your Anger
Ephesians 4:26-27 (ESV) Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.
Ignoring the existence of anger is the worst thing that any couple can do. Unprocessed anger eats away at the soul, and the strength of the relationship. We should expect to feel anger when something is said or done that offends or hurts us. How we deal with that anger is different for all of us. We can ignore it for a time, explode and do greater damage, or stuff it deep down inside and act like it’s not there.
The better way is to gain the skills to process it and get to the root of the anger and respond appropriately and gently. Commit to processing the anger together, working through it, and addressing the root issues with your partner. The goal is to resolve the anger-producing conflict so the relationship can be healthy again.