Nothing happens by chance. Spouses in a successful marriage will admit that they had at some point in their marriages, taken intentional steps to nurture a “Heaven on Earth” marriage. There are lots of elements that make a marriage strong; this article sheds light on few of the most important pillars that couples should pay attention to.
PURPOSE AND VISION.
The Bible says that “where there is no vision, the people perish”.
Where you lack a vision, goal and plan for your marriage, you have unconsciously set up your marriage to perish. Every marriage should have a defining vision for why they are together and what they want to achieve together? If couples are able to successfully answer these hard questions, they would have a smooth sail during challenging and troubled times in their marriage, thereby, building such a marriage on a solid rock.
….and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. Matt 7:25 NKJV.
Disruptions are inevitable in a marriage, a solid marital foundation, makes it easy for couples to weather any storm. On the flipside, when couples carry on without a goal, purpose or vision, it is easy for them to be distracted, seek for self-gain and the desire to live separately because there is really nothing solid for them to hang on to.
CONNECTION AND FRIENDSHIP.
Couples ought to be friends first, lovers second. There is a common misconception that sexual intimacy engenders closeness in a marriage, this is false! Sexual intimacy (though great), ought to be the outcome of a solid emotional intimacy between couples. It is important for couples to work hard at being friends with each other first; else, chances are that the union will falter. You must be able to tell each other everything, like, you can’t wait to talk to each other, appreciate each other and encourage each other.
Of course, all these require first and foremost, self-love, then vulnerability, empathy, honesty, trust, etc. It is important for couples to continue to bond together through activities like: dreaming of the future together, spending one-on-one time together, such as, reading together, praying together, learning together, hanging out, or doing any sport activity capable of keeping both of you bonded. Stoking the flames of friendship throughout a marriage is a brilliant and important way to keep your marriage healthy and happy.
COMMUNICATION AND RESPECT
I tag respect with communication because good communication is built on the foundation of respect. Believe it or not, respect is shown either through your body language, your actions and the words that you utter, which are the different modes of communication. If you have no regard for your spouse’s thoughts and feelings, it will be nearly impossible to have a real conversation. That said, the value you place on your spouse speaks volumes in the way you communicate.
Couples should strive to constantly communication with empathy, respect, admiration and kindness. Cheerfully talk about your daily activities, goals, vision, things that matter to your essence, lives, destinies, marriage, and children, lovingly resolve conflicts. Doing all these and more, make it easy for you to constantly know more about each other. In a like manner, it prevents being caught unawares about a partner’s new trait or dispositions.
It’s important that couples work on a positive approach in terms of, how they talk, listen to each other, absorb each other’s opinions, and how they endeavour to create a safe space for understanding and endurance.
GROWTH AND LEARNING
A couple that grows and learns together will stay together. Just as a pond becomes stagnant if freshwater is not added, your marriage will grow stale and frail, if it is not infused in a lifetime of learning and growing. If couples will succeed in marriage, then, they must cultivate a growth orientation. Where only one party in a marriage makes the conscious effort to be in tune with relevant knowledge and information which produces personal development/ marital growth, while the other party never has time for such, rather focuses on money, work, and what not, there is bound to be a gap, resulting to lack of connection in that marriage.
The crucial factor here is for the two of you to continue to grow and learn together by reading books together, attending seminars, training, and courses, even paid coaching sessions together. These would equip couples with the same kind of knowledge and information, so that they can, as much as possible, be at the same pace.
It is a popular slogan among Christians that a “marriage is incomplete outside a relationship with God”. In view of this, couples who share the same faith and practice it together are likely to succeed more than those who don’t. When couples engage in spiritual or faith exercises, such as, praying together, walking in different dimensions with God etc., they have a tendency to see their relationships beyond the superficial way people see marriages. Does is it mean that couples who share a strong faith never experience any problems? Of course not! By maintaining a healthy spirituality, couples can in unity, align with what the Holy Spirit is saying to them per time and they are able to listen to corrections, instructions, wisdom which the Holy Spirit may be communicating to them independently or jointly.
…however, when He, the spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. John 16:13 NKJV.
God wants couples to rely on the help of the Holy Spirit concerning every marriage issue. He wants you to pray together about them, so that the Holy Spirit can give both of you clarity, devoid of any trace of confusion.
However, if your marriage isn’t on his level yet, start with yourself by developing a personal time with God. Patiently do this to a point where your spouse would voluntarily agree and feel at ease to join you. Some couples find it an uncomfortable and challenging practice, give it time and don’t push it.
Commitment is a mindset that produces healthy actions. People have different kinds of mindset in marriages, namely: resolute mindset, rational mindset, restless mindset, romantic mindset and reluctant mindset. For instance, someone who has a romantic mindset expects passion and intimacy to be constant and budding throughout the marriage, so, such a person would panic when things don’t go well. A resolute mindset believes that regardless of the circumstances, he will take the necessary steps needed to make the marriage experience a turn around. A restless mindset never confronts issues head on, never wants to make things work, rather, it’s always afraid of what could go wrong and how to escape, if something goes wrong.
Having said all, commitment helps you overcome all the challenges which may come your way. Commitment keeps you dedicated to your vision. It prods you to persevere in building friendships, keep respecting and communicating with each other, stay committed to growing and working together, work with the Holy Spirit in your marriage and stay committed to the marriage itself.
In summary, when you match all the points discussed together and practice them in your respective homes, you will discover a stronger intimacy in your marriage. Equally, you will be able to man the gates of your marriage and be practical about making your marriage work. The fact that God revealed your supposed spouse in a dream, vision or through prophesy, doesn’t mean that your marriage will not undergo challenges. The fact that you met each other in the best circumstances doesn’t mean your marriage will not experience rough patches.
The important thing is the unity couples exhibit daily, in making concerted efforts at strengthening the foundation of their marriages, to weather the storm and keep their marriages together at all times.
If you want to build a marriage that truly works, we urge you to join the Young Couples Academy, where you will learn to how to navigate the challenges that occur in marriages.
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