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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ingredients essential to a healthy and lasting relationship

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What must couples do to build strong and lasting relationships? There are some who would make light of this question. They argue that people marry and divorce every day, and life goes on, end of story. That's an attitude that scares me. I believe that a relationship between a husband and wife should be held in much higher regard. Furthermore, I don't believe that most husbands and wives who make a mess of their marriage get up one day and decide to screw everything up. Rather, I believe most people need some help-lots of help-in this area. Divorce is ugly, painful, and costly, and there are no true winners.
Being a Christian, I should argue that having the right relationship with God is vital for a husband and wife, or for a man and woman who are dating, if they are to build strong relationships. That is certainly my conviction. Wasn't God the one who who ordained marriage (Ephesians 5:31)? However, just because a man and a woman are Christians and they love each other do not guarantee a vibrant relationship! Let me quickly share with you three important ingredients essential to a healthy and lasting relationship:
  • A strong relationship requires hard work. Strong marriages and relationships between a man and a woman are not happenstance. Every couple has to work at it. Believe me, the honeymoon expires, and the dream world comes to an end. Also, with time, you will see the side of your mate that you haven't seen before. And though through marriage two become one, each person is still an individual with personal aspirations and dreams and God-given potential. Couples must work through these and other issues, and sometimes the work is hard.
  • To build a lasting relationship, couples must labor to keep it fresh over time. Why do we think that because we are married, we no longer have to date one another? Or that longevity gives us a license to take each other for granted? The longer the relationship lasts, the more difficult it can be to keep things from going stale. On the other hand, the longer we have been with someone, the better we know what pleases him or her. These are the switches we must turn on to keep the fire burning.
  • To build a strong relationship, couples must weather the climate changers. What are those? They are the things that can happen during the life of a relationship that can change its very climate. The person we met five years ago might not be the same person today, though they are really the same person. For example: the woman might not be that sexy as compared to when you initially met and these changes can become game changers in a relationship. Other examples include the arrival of that first child, a serious health problem in one mate, financial woes, etc. We can't cry foul when life throws our relationship a curve ball or two. Like good soldiers, we must endure hardships (2 Timothy 3).

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