Seven secrets to maintaining a flourishing marriage
“The best things in life are free.” That certainly can be true, but as always there is more to the story. Take love - the love that is between a husband and a wife as a for instance. While this love certainly should be free – freely given and freely received, it does have a maintenance schedule attached to it. Funny thing is, we never hear much about love’s maintenance schedule as it can be difficult, demanding and even daunting. The good news is that if we stick with the schedule, the results will literally last a lifetime and the love that we were freely given will have become a most valuable admired and cherished part of our lives! So, how do we get there? How do we learn what to do and how to do it so our love will last a lifetime?
The answers to these questions are priceless, so when we began to look for sources that would show us the answers, we found some guidelines for love written by some of the staff at eHarmony.com. Now for a podcast that goes by the name of Christian Questions, sourcing eHarmony sounds a bit weird and to be honest, it feels a bit weird. Just know that the reason we followed through with that source is their advice was all clearly backed up (though I think not knowingly) by biblical principles.
To begin, with we need to understand the word “love” in the English language has a very broad meaning. I love mint chocolate chip ice cream, I love my job and I love my wife. Does this mean my wife is in the same category as ice cream? Not even remotely close, for my wife is THE greatest earthly gift of my entire life! (By the way, if you had to stop and think about how to answer that question, then I believe we have already begun to identify some of your love and relationship issues!) Romantic love (which often borders on infatuation), family love, fraternal love and selfless love are all ways of connecting to others and are all fulfilling in their own way. Making love last a lifetime means we need to consciously work on and maintain the romantic, family AND selfless kinds of love. Yes, I did say "work on," and I did say "maintain." No magic, just work.
The first eHarmony suggestion was listening...really listening. This probably requires more effort than you would think, for our world is one massive, shiny technological distraction. Try this – when your spouse is talking to you about something important, put down your phone or your fork or your tablet, turn off the voices in your head from work or the kids or your sports team and focus your eyes, your mind and your heart on your spouse. That is listening. The best part of this approach is actually two-fold: First, you will actually hear what your spouse is saying and you will open the door to being engaged in his or her story. Second, your spouse WILL NOTICE you are truly listening and that will give them confidence and trust in you. Listen!!
There is so much more to this! Please check out our February 13, 2017 podcast, “Can Love Last a Lifetime?” and learn what you can do to make your marriage all that it can be.
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