There’s no argument that the institution of marriage has its challenges in today’s society.
In 2011, using data from Statistics Canada, the Vanier Institute published that four in 10 marriages end in divorce. These numbers still roughly reflect the divorce rate in our country today.
Despite these alarming statistics, marriage can still be a beautiful experience and a blessing for those who choose to engage in it. However, couples need to keep in mind that a good marriage takes hard work and perseverance. Deliberate efforts need to be made to build up trust, happiness and love for each other.
Today, I would like to share several basic principles that can be used to make a relationship even more fulfilling!
The first and most important principle is to communicate. Couples who know how to effectively communicate experience a more fulfilling relationship and enjoy a deeper level of intimacy. In contrast, those who don’t effectively communicate are more likely to experience a buildup of anger, frustration and resentment.
This may not always be easy, but I encourage couples to try to do their best to speak softly and kindly to each other, even when they are upset. The Bible says in Proverbs 15:1 that, “A soft answer turns away wrath…” Believe it or not, we can express ourselves in a disagreement without raising our voices or being abusive!
Also, when communicating, be ready to listen more so that you can effectively understand your spouse. Keep in mind that nagging, fault finding and criticizing destroys happiness.
A second important principle is to defend your partner in conversations with other people. By defending them, you are making a deliberate effort to build on the trust that you have for each other. This is important because trust encourages your love for each other to grow!
If people are saying negative things about your partner, politely defend them. This often keeps third parties from causing division and it sometimes closes the door to people who wish to encourage infidelity. Sometimes there are people who are waiting to hear you talk negatively about your spouse so that they can step in to win your affection.
Also, defending your partner includes sometimes defending them from your extended family. Sometimes your extended family can get in the way of building a strong marriage. Sometimes they don’t approve of the person that you are with or sometimes they need to learn how to respect your spouse. Your partner needs to know that they are not alone because you love them, even when it comes to dealing with your extended family.
Finally, I encourage you to pray for your relationship. It’s encouraging to know that we have a God who cares about our marriage and is willing to work with us to make it better. Anytime we find ourselves facing challenges, in Him we can find forgiveness, patience, but most of all, we can find the happiness that He wants us to have!