You have to trust in a marriage. And when I say this, I mean having assurance and confidence in one’s intentions. Trust in your partner is believing that they want the best for the relationship and that they are giving every effort to make it work. Trust is really essential in building the foundation of a marriage. Having doubt only causes stress on the relationship and causes excessive worry. Without trust, you can’t fully enjoy your marriage because you are always skeptical, suspicious or expecting the worse.
Now for some of you, trust may be difficult. Knowing that it is a prerequisite for a happy marriage may be unfortunate because they haven’t always been trustworthy in the past. Maybe there has been hurt or one of you fell short of the expectation as a spouse. But if you want to be fulfilled in your marriage, there must be trust. And after the pain of disappointment- trust may not be something that that is freely given, but earned by consistent action over time. Once there has been distrust, it has to be earned back by providing sufficient evidence (proof) that you are trustworthy.
Trust builds courage, strength, and confidence. Be trustworthy and do what you say your going to do. Let them know they can depend on you!
You have to learn to listen. You can’t just hear what they say, but you have to understand what they mean. For example- “You’re never at home” may actually mean “I miss you and I wish we could spend more time together.” Now it would be great if they would just SAY THAT! But we all know that this is not always the case.
It’s really hard for someone to “read between the lines” so here are a few things to consider:
- Tone of voice is very important- when they raise their voice means they are really trying to get a point across- there is intense emotions behind what it said- it may even come to the point of being disrespectful
- Take note of body language- rolling eyes, smirking, crossed arms, etc.
- Learn to be assertive- express what you feel without being aggressive (trying to make them hear you) or being too passive (not wanting to hurt their feelings).
- Be clear, concise and direct.
- Learn how to talk it out- sit down at the kitchen table and talk about the finances, the kids, retirement- whatever is important to your relationship.
- Be respectful- don’t talk over them or make them feel like you don’t care. And even if you don’t care- make effort to support them by saying “Wow, sorry you feel that way” or “that must really be tough” or “I understand what you are saying”
- Know that your feelings matter as well- express what you feel and try to find middle ground (compromise)
- Actively listen to what they have to say and ask for clarification if you don’t understand- DON’T ASSUME- we all know what that means!
Your commitment is necessary to make the relationship work. You can’t be half in and half out- either you’re ALL IN or you’re just wasting time. Commitment is a requirement for a fulfilling relationship. And if you find yourself questioning your commitment- this needs to be addressed. Why do I feel this way? What happened that caused me to lose faith in my marriage? What can we do to restore our promise to love and cherish each other? You both must be dedicated to celebrating the good times and enduring the bad. Learn to hold on to one another when it’s tough and lift each other up when you want to give up. Set goals, talk about your dreams, establish your values and find purpose in your relationship- always have something to look forward to. Remember: It takes TEAMWORK! And make sure you always making your marriage a priority- otherwise you will look back and find that somewhere along the way you disconnected.
Your overall stability is important for a successful marriage. Emotional, relational and financial stability- these three factors will make or break you. Finding balance by learning the process of give and take can help you develop stability. Understand that a stable marriage is a happy marriage- It means everyone’s needs are being met and no one feels depleted. I always talk about the “love box” with couples. It’s like a small box between you- You both put in, you both pull out. The key is that you have to put things in that your partner actually wants and vice versa. If you put in affirmation and they don’t respond to that, it will get left in the box. So when they go to pull something out- there isn’t anything that will fulfill their need- YOU PUT THE WRONG THING IN THE BOX (maybe they actually needed physical affection instead)! Or if they buy gifts but all you really want is quality time, this could be a problem down the road (you don’t want them buying your love but showing their love). There are several needs that are important in a relationship (you can even check out the “5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman online and take a quick quiz to find out what your needs are). When you give your spouse what they need (timing also plays a part in this as well), they are more likely to give back to you. The important thing is that you both KNOW WHAT YOUR NEEDS ARE! Learn to give them what they need and expect to receive just as much in return- but you have to understand the process (the love box). Once the cycle of giving and receiving starts, you can continuously keep it going which brings a state of equilibrium to your marriage.
Your faith will keep you committed. Your faith will keep you focused. Your faith will keep you grounded. It will keep you from giving up and walking away. It will keep your sanity when the marriage appears to be falling apart and you feel like you’re losing your mind. If you both have the expectation that your commitment to the marriage will pay off- it will. But you have to BELIEVE THAT IT’S POSSIBLE to be truly happy in your marriage. Trust that you can overcome any obstacle together. The key is that you are TOGETHER. Now, it’s possible that you can have faith for your spouse. I’ve seen this work many times. But God is usually in the midst of this. When you are both committed to God, your faith can truly work miracles- but your partner has to be open and want change as well. If they have given up, then this will be a more difficult challenge- this is a common situation that opens the door to divorce. But if there is the smallest glimmer of faith- IT’S POSSIBLE…
Your patience in the process of building a successful marriage is required. It’s part of the package when you said “I DO.” So many times we think that we “become one” at the altar, but this is not the case. You become “one” with priority (putting your partner first), perseverance, and priority. You make the choice, but then you have to allow the process of “becoming one” to occur. You should allow them room to grow and make mistakes. Understand that having a mature relationship takes time- it’s a process. You have to be patient and offer support to one another. With patience comes forgiveness- with patience comes tolerance- with patience comes fortitude- with patience comes reward.
No one is perfect. You must be willing to accept the good with the bad- flaws and all. There is a level of grace required- understanding that they are human and will make mistakes. In addition, you must also identify your strengths and learn to balance one another. One of you may be better at managing the money- the other may be better at managing the kids busy schedule. Learn to use your strengths as an advantage. At the same time, learn to acknowledge your weakness and work to improve them. It’s important to understand your spouse’s weaknesses and learn to balance with your own strengths. Accept them for who they are and allow them to grow.
Attraction is a key component of any relationship. There should be some level of chemistry for your marriage to work- not just sexual but on a more intimate level. Focus on what you love about them- the things that attracted to them in the beginning. Also consider the things that you have grown to love over time. Desire your partner for their inner beauty as well as outward. Don’t bank on outward physical appearance to keep you in love, but seek characteristics about them that make you want them more. Focus on your friendship and increase intimacy through communication and emotional connection.
9) UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
Unconditional love is kind and gentle- it is compassionate and empathetic- it gives and doesn’t take. Unconditional love means you love them despite their flaws. You love the, through their mistakes. You accept them for who they are and offer them support when they need it most. When you love unconditionally, you are not judgmental but open and forgiving. This is the greatest love you can experience.
In a relationship, you should be inspired to grow and “do better.” You can’t just settle for less. You have to be willing to learn more about the dynamics of your relationship. Study your partner and gain knowledge about their goals and aspirations. Motivate them to be the best they can be. Recognize their potential and help them reach their goals. You will find that when you partner is happy, you may be a little happier too!