We have all sat through a wedding ceremony, if not participated in one of our own and this is roughly what we heard,
or agreed to:
I, (name), take you (name), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.
That’s it! That’s all you have to do to have a long, happy marriage. If you are already married, start doing what you promised too. If you are not married yet, but are in a relationship with the one you intend to marry, then start doing this stuff now, before the wedding. There’s nothing wrong with getting a head start. If you’re not in a relationship now and have no plans to get married, learn this anyways because the day will come when you will meet someone who is that special to you.
Here are some additional tips that I have found to be useful in a relationship or marriage and I believe have will strengthen any relationship between husband and wife.
I have also found it helpful to read Ephesians 5:22-33 and highly recommend it when you have two spare minutes. It gives very clear direction as to what each party of the marriage should do. The roles are clearly defined; it’s when we, as a society, begin to change these roles and manipulate them that problems occur in marriages.
You must be willing to do all of the following things in your relationship and to be the first one to do them, even if your partner does not seem to be responding:
- Take off the mask. It is very likely that your spouse knows who you are under all of the layers. It is why they decided to marry you in the first place. They probably miss the person that has been hidden under the mask you have decided to wear.
- Apologize. Just do it, even if you’re not wrong. It will ease tension and most likely cause the other person to admit they were wrong too. Even if it doesn’t “work” the way you want it to, you will still feel better.
- Share your feelings. Tell them how you are feeling. Let them know if you are going through a time of uncertainty or if you feel very secure. It will go a long way, most times, toward explaining your words or actions.
- Share your fears. Being able to tell the one you should trust most what you are afraid of or what worries you will do incredible things to help you conquer these fears and worries.
- Praise/compliment them. Remember the rule – give five compliments for every criticism. That rule applies here as well however, remember to also give complements and praise, even if there is no criticism.
- Be grateful. The person you chose to spend your life with still has a lot to offer. Not everyone is as fortunate as you to have this person in his or her life. Thank them for who they are and thank God for bringing them into your life. Never take them for granted!
- Do something nice. Do something that they like and appreciate. This is best done after figuring out their communication and learning styles. Some examples are: sing them a song (auditory), write a poem (visual) or give them a massage (feeling oriented). Do caring things often.
- Listen. Let them talk about themselves. Don’t say anything, except to ask questions about them. Let them talk about their interests. Let them talk about all of the things covered in this section.
Do these things often and your relationship with your husband or wife will continue to improve. This is important, since life has a tendency to overwhelm us and cause us to stray from the simple things that allow for continued growth. If you think about it, you probably did all of the things listed above when you first met and that’s why you fell in love. Resume where you left off.
Michael at R2W
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