Friday, March 18, 2011

How to develop a relationship .

A wedding is only the beginning of a marriage. Couples need help in growing in their love and in developing their relationship. It is said that a successful couple creates 15-20 marriages with the same person in the course of a lifetime. They cannot do this on their own. We all need the support of others. At times we need the input of others to help us know where we are ourselves. There are many very good support systems for married couples in the Church. We in Love is for Life Trust have been working on these. Other groups have also done very good work on this.

“Marriage is a journey, not a destination” is a great motto for married couples to think about. As couples prepare for their wedding day it can appear that this is the destination of their efforts. Because of that we get phrases like “settling down” being used about marriage. What a most unattractive thought that must be for anyone who is in love!! When we see Marriage as a journey then we can think of the wedding day as the first day, the beginning, of a life that can be full of adventure and excitement and joy. There will be pain and suffering as on any journey but these can be handled because the couple are handling them together.
There are two things we always do when we are setting out on a journey. The first of these is, we decide where we are going. The journey of marriage is towards one another. It is a journey that is never completed. That is why the marriage vows are taken “till death do us part”. Sometimes that phrase is taken to mean some kind of imprisonment for life! It really means that a couple acknowledge that there is always more to be gained in their journey towards one another. You never settle down in marriage. It can and should be an exciting journey.
The second thing that we do for any journey is to decide how we are going to get to where we want to go. For the journey of marriage there are 5 vitally important vehicles that need to be used.
“This kind of commitment is the single most important gift that they give to the building of their marriage.”
Time spent with and for one another.Most couples spend time together but they need to question themselves on the significance of that time. The time that will help build their relationship needs to be regular time - once a day, once a week, etc. It becomes time that is marked off from everything else because it is their time. It needs to be good time, time when they are at their best for one another or at least close to their best. Many couples have only tired time for each other and nothing much can happen that is significant for them. And a couple needs to make this regular, good time creative for their love for each other and their relationship with one another. This kind of commitment is the single most important gift that they give to the building of their marriage.
2. Affection for one another needs to be developed. This is done in two ways. The affectionate word needs to be spoken regularly. It’s amazing how many men especially find it so difficult to say “I love you” to their wives. But the word needs to be spoken, first of all in order to be heard. The single most difficult thing for most people to believe is that they are loved. The spoken word of love is vitally important for this. Secondly the word of love needs to be spoken so that it will be followed up by the one who speaks it. You cannot tell someone that you love him or her and then treat them shabbily. The spoken word helps to shape our lives. Affection in action also needs to be developed in the marriage relationship. For most married couples this has to be practiced. So many lose the ability to hold, to touch, to caress, to kiss, and to make love. Sex in marriage can so easily be without affection, at least an ongoing affection throughout the day. In marriage it is so important to restore this ability to be intimate with each other’s body so that each one experiences being loved in the present.
3. It is also so important to develop a real respect for one another. This involves an acknowledgement that this other person is different from you in every way. You are different as woman and man. You are different in your backgrounds of life. You are different in your needs. Your wife or husband is also different from other significant women and men in your life. The temptation in marriage is to try to make your wife or husband the same as yourself or someone else. It doesn’t work and can be a very big block to the health of a marriage.
4. Praise and thanksgiving are also very important qualities to develop in the marriage relationship. It is so easy to get into a habit of criticism of each other. This needs to be reversed by acknowledging the goodness and the generosity of your wife or husband. There are so many gifts of life that you give to each other every day. The vast majority of these go unacknowledged. By thanksgiving this can be turned around. Your wife/husband has so many good qualities. These need to be brought forward by regular praise and affirmation. In these ways affection is restored and joy becomes more a feature of your life together.
5. Finally, prayer together is a very important power to exercise in your marriage relationship. Marriage is a three partner relationship that does not work fully with only two. Prayer together helps to keep God in the picture of your love. By praying with one another you grow in the knowledge of Christ’s presence with you. By praying regularly for each other you learn to see each other as he sees you, and the wonderful thing is that God only sees the good.

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