Love is sweet, especially during the popular season when it is shared with family, friends, and loved ones. Most times, seasonal expression of love may seem superficial, because it focuses more on impressing others or our partners. But if we truly desire a love that stands the test of time, it must be guided by a force beyond our fleeting emotions.
One fact we must come to terms with is: Our partners can never fully meet all of our expectations. They, just like us, are imperfect beings. Nonetheless, certain expressions of love are important for a harmonious home.
In light of this, I want to encourage you to invest in these 5 important pillars of a strong and lasting marriage. By doing so, you can experience love with a higher frequency and grace.
Now, let’s delve into these five pillars briefly:
- Empathy: This is a fundamental pillar for any successful marriage. Love can be seen to be synonymous with EMPATHY, as it entails considering your partner’s feelings during conversations or conflicts.
Many conflicts can be avoided if both partners focus on seeing through the feelings of their spouses rather than solely focusing on how things were said. When your partner feels hurt by an offense you committed, they may or may not have the emotional intelligence to handle it in the best way possible.
This means that while your partner may be expressing their hurts in an overly expressive way, you can silence the battle with a soft answer that demonstrates your care and concern. Why would your partner be in tears over something that has hurt them while you choose to ignore their distress?
Even for men who may not be outwardly emotional, their partners must read their body language when they are hurt and respond with the empathy that is necessary to nurture the relationship. This advice is not limited to dealing with offenses alone, it also applies to how you handle situations when your partner falls short of certain expectations.
Effective communication is key, and it requires both time and effort to make it work with your partner; when laced with empathy, it engenders a strong and enduring bond in relationships and marriages.
- Understanding: Do you know that to maintain a deep understanding of your spouse, you need to observe them closely? Oh yes! Your partner is constantly evolving, gaining new knowledge and experiences. To navigate your relationship successfully, you need to keep learning about your partner. As they grow and change, you must strive to grow alongside them and adapt accordingly.
For instance, if your partner decides to attend specific training programmes that focus on personal growth, finance, marriage, faith, or career development, it’s important to expect that they may undergo significant transformations.
In such cases, rather than resisting or opposing these changes, it’s more productive to invest in your personal development and pay close attention to your partner, which can help minimize any friction that may arise.
- Tolerance: This is a required attribute in a marriage because it allows for understanding and acceptance of the differences that may exist between you and your spouse. It’s common for spouses to approach certain tasks or situations otherwise from how you would prefer, and as a result, you might find yourself constantly correcting them, eventually leading to irritation.
Some partners are more adaptable and open to change; others may stay strong-willed for years, often fixating on their inability to adjust instead of committing to getting better. In such instances, it becomes important to cultivate a sense of tolerance toward your partner’s weaknesses. This is easier to cope with if your partner equally demonstrates tolerance towards your imperfections—for the sake of reciprocity.
- Kindness: Many people on social media often stress that kindness is one of the key attributes in maintaining a successful marriage. Undeniably, kindness plays a vital role in nurturing the flow of love within a marriage.
However, its true value becomes apparent during moments when we find ourselves angry, tired, or offended by our partners. It is during these challenging times that our capacity for kindness is truly tested.
On some occasions, spouses may exhibit a hard-hearted, unresponsive, and cold demeanour, which often leads to an increase in unforgiveness, a desire for revenge, or resorting to the silent treatment. Sadly, such behaviours only serve to worsen the situation and hinder the growth of a healthy marriage.
To foster kindness in your relationship, you must start by upholding self-love, loving your partner unconditionally, and accepting that both you and your partner are imperfect. A simple act of kindness, such as serving a cup of tea or engaging in a thoughtful gesture, can go a long way even when you feel offended. Love is not solely confined to emotions but actions backed up with your emotions.
- Forgiveness: Marriage is about two forgivers. Your spouse will occasionally hurt or offend you, and when that happens, you must establish a pathway for releasing those hurts. While it is advisable to address issues promptly, if your spouse tends to sweep problems under the rug, seeking counseling and therapy can be immensely helpful.
Taking care of your emotional and mental well-being is essential in scaling through the challenges that arise in marriages. Away from this, please bear in mind that revenge is not the way to go, and allowing yourself to become hardened will only bring out the worst in you. Instead, make an effort to understand where your partner is coming from per time and be willing to offer grace and mercy to your spouse.
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Remember, you are worthy of love and deserve to experience its joys fully. Embrace your marital journey and cherish the love you share with your spouse.