What you need to know:
At times, parties in a relationship approach issues as though one is walking on egg shells, but seeking to discuss difficult issues from a place of level-headedness starts the relationship on a journey of maturing together
For almost everyone, the ‘finding’ journey is filled with adventure, suspense, and fun. A romantic crush is a wonderful feeling. However, finding the right spouse is a very personal journey; while becoming a best-performing relationship is a torturous journey.
We should start from knowing that we are all gifted differently and that we are uniquely endowed to fulfil a certain purpose.
“The primary attitude that will help your spouse feel emotionally safe is when they believe that you understand how incredibly valuable they are to you and to your relationship,” notes Greg Smalley, a relationships expert. We should never underrate the value and gifting that our spouses bring to the table.
Choice of words
What we value we treasure. According to Jeremy Bidwell, “one way of doing this is by getting good at saying words like, “you are right,” or “you have a point,” while at the same time “avoiding the tendency to simply debate. If you get into this habit, your life at home will get better.”
We have to be good at fuelling the good in marriage by using words of affirmation. It is sad that, when one partner in marriage is threatened or intimidated by the success of the other, they turn to the use of abusive language that demeans their spouse.
However, celebrating value and gifting increases intimacy and connectedness. I read somewhere in the Bible that, “A man’s greatest treasure is his wife.” We have to be aware of the fact that treasure is discovered. We must go all out to look for it. Some may be hidden, while others may be found lying out in the open.
There are also risks in seeking out treasure, although the bottom line is that, we find it brings great pleasure.
According to Smalley, “When you validate your spouse, you recognise, value and accept their deepest thoughts, opinions, ideas, beliefs and emotions.” This perspective is basic to building a strong connection and bond.
The danger is for any spouse to take the other for granted, by using the gift in them while treating them as strangers.
Create an environment where you regularly talk together, have fun and adventure. Setting downtime together with each other at the end of the day is key.
We all have weaknesses, flaws and misconceptions on issues that are bound to cause misunderstandings and miscommunication, so learning to be understanding and patient with each other pays.
When we are masters at intelligently using the knowledge we have of our partner positively, then we are on our way to enhancing our friendship.
For those who are dating, if you want a best friend in your future partner, develop and build that friendship now. If you want a listening partner who will empathise with you, then take time to build those habits now.
You cannot expect your wife to put your needs first when you have not modelled by putting her needs first. I am of the opinion that if we put friendship first, a couple has greater chances of building a successful marriage.
After all, every spouse wants someone in whom they can confide in and get support from, through the challenges of life.
Basic tips on building a relationship of friends
First, know each other well. Many people do not take time to know their partners. This puts the whole relationship and its future in jeopardy. The pain we encounter later in marriage could be reduced by half if only we took time to know each other well. Questions to really dig for answers could include the following; “what does my partner stand for in life? Who are my partner’s influencers? What makes us feel authentic together?”
Second is the need to spend time together. Absence creates distance, suspicions and mistrust. Spending time together provides opportunity for re-energising and closing the gaps that exist.
Third, being real with each other is a must. Keeping secrets from each other is like creating a death trap for your relationship. We should never allow for our partner to have another life we have no idea about.
We are better together
Teamwork is important in marriage. The best-performing team must show evidence of the value they see each other bringing to the table. They must also exhibit a level of friendship and harmony at work.
Speaking about the love you have for your spouse in itself is not enough. Moving from love to learning how to get along together is equally important. Growing together calls for values based on knowledge of who your spouse is, what their needs are, and how you can complement their weakness.
The feeling of belonging is key to any team performance. Spouses who feel affirmed are most likely going to put in more than if they were not. Loyalty to the team is based on the feeling that “I feel needed.” Being a team means; first, accepting the boundaries that keep you connected. Violation of the boundaries will create a difficulty in building trust and confidence. Second, being part of the same future.
Spouses must watch against influences that would negatively affect their marriage. Third, being part of a great team requires vigorous training.
Many marriages desire to be excellent by doing nothing at gaining new knowledge that will help the performance of the relationship.
In a team, there are things you do for the team’s well-being. Wrong thinking can negatively influence your marriage. For example, harbouring a thought such as, “Our marriage was a mistake,” will eventually influence your performance. Or “She does not understand me,” could as well make you feel as if your partner purposely listens selectively. Such wrong thoughts are dangerous since they eventually govern what we do.
Our only desire is to work towards becoming a functioning team where we treasure each other, are good friends, and desire to work towards improving our team.