One day on a bus ride home, I heard two friends discussing, and one remarked “Everybody wants to get married, meanwhile those of us in the marriages want out.” Then I thought to myself, why are there so many breakups and divorces these days? Don’t people believe in love anymore? What really causes most marital and relationship disagreements?
I am not a relationship expert; as I have no qualifications in relationship or marriage fields. But to answer my own questions and improve my own relationship with people, I went to the “Teacher” and found these words; “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.” – Song of Solomon 2:15. You see most times the issues we face in our relationships are not the problems, but the symptoms of the problems. Most of our problems stem from these three factors:
“Most people, over a period of time grow accustomed to having their mate around. They assume everything is fine and that the mate will always be with them. Obviously, they assume too much, because four marriages in ten end in divorce, while many other marriages exist in name only”.
Second,” the environment in which we live feeds the problem. Many of our neighbours, friends, advisers, associates consider it corny or mushy to show genuine love and affection for their partners”.
Also, “the changing morality, which recognizes free love, trial marriages, extra-marital affairs, wife swapping and the shedding of a mate for no reason other than boredom, breeds insecurity and uncertainty”.
In order to enjoy our relationships and rebuild our marriages and love, here are 10 tips from Zig Ziglar we can follow:
1. Go back to the beginning. Remember what you did when your relationship was new and young, and before you married each other? Remember how you kept your best foot forward at all times, showed your best side, were on good behaviour, were thoughtful, courteous, considerate and kind? That is an excellent method of rekindling the love, and strengthening your relationship and marriage.
2. Start and end every day with a declaration of love for your mate, and during that day, if it’s feasible, take three minutes to phone just to chat and express your love. After all, the best time to express love for your mate is before someone else does. Occasionally drop a “love letter” in the mail. It’s a small investment with great rewards.
3. Surprise him or her with an occasional gift or card. It obviously isn’t the gift itself, but the thought behind the gift. As Sir Lancelot said, “The gift without the giver is bare.” Another poet expressed it rather eloquently when he said, “Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only true gift is a portion of one’s self.”
4. Spend some QUALITY time together. Remember how you courted each other so avidly and how you had so much time just for courting before marriage? Repeat the process. Go for a walk or simply turn off the TV and make your mate feel as if he or she is the most important person in your life. He or she is, whether or not you realize it at this moment.
5. Be a good listener. As a wise man once said, “Talking is sharing but listening is caring.” Listen to the myriads of detail and small talk that make up your mate’s day. Always remember that duty makes us do things well, but love makes us do them beautifully. I emphasize again that what occasionally starts out as duty turns into complete love. Interestingly enough, you will be amazed at how exciting some of those details can be.
6. When you disagree, remember, you can disagree without being disagreeable. However, you must never go to sleep at night with unresolved differences. You will not sleep as well and these differences will settle into both of your subconscious minds and will be a recurring source of problems. You can be honest and yet sensitive to each other.
7. Remember, you will often have to “bend over backwards” to please or understand your mate. That position might be a little uncomfortable but it makes it difficult for you or your marriage to fall on its face.
8. Use Ephesians 4:32 (And be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another) as your daily guide.
9. Pray together. Remember, “the family that prays together stays together.”
10. Remember, when the inevitable disagreement takes place, who makes the move to “make up” isn’t important. However, the one who makes the move demonstrates the greater maturity and love.