Paul is a Christian minister and the author of WiseMrLove.com a blog dedicated towards helping people to succeed in life and relationships
In a time when more homes are breaking down, more marriages are ending in divorce, and the fairy tale ?live happily ever after? expectation that most people have for their relationship seems to end only in disappointment, resentment and bitterness, it is clear that more needs to be done to help and equip people on how to build successful relationships.
Many people go into relationships expecting it to just work out by magic. I once read a story by Gary Chapman who is one of the leading experts when it comes to relationship and marriage issues. While he was on the plane travelling to one of his marriage enrichment seminars, he met a young lady on the plane and they started talking, their conversation eventually led to her asking Gary what he does for a living, to which he replied that he held marriage seminars to help married couples with their relationships. She seemed surprised by Gary?s response and asked ?why would couples need help with their relationship if they are in love?
That young ladies response is a reflection of the unrealistic expectations most people hold about relationships. We have somehow been conditioned to believe that once a couple are in love that they will never have problems and that they will live happily ever after without issues or challenges in their relationship, but it doesn?t always work out like that and many people have with their own hands thrown away potentially good relationships because they didn?t have this understanding hence why people need to be educated about how to keep love alive.
Some would argue that love isn?t enough for you to keep a relationship going, and the basis of their argument is that so many couples start out in love only for that love to eventually fade away and as a result they conclude that love isn?t enough. I on the other hand believe that love is enough and the real problem is that people don?t understand that there are keys that help keep love alive which in turn will help you to build a successful relationship.
I would focus on two keys that would help in building successful relationships.
What does it mean to be considerate?
To be considerate means to ?have regard for the needs or feelings of others? simply put, it means thinking about how your actions, behaviours and habits will make your partner feel. We are often too self centred in relationships and we usually complain that our needs are not getting met and sometimes even end relationships because this, but if we were really to examine ourselves we would discover that we are equally as guilty of not meeting the needs of our partner. I am sure that you have often heard that for relationships to work there has to be selflessness and part of the attributes of selflessness is being considerate.
When you are considerate (men) you won?t expect your wife to always come home after a hard day at work and still have the energy to cook for you. There is nothing wrong with you doing the cooking.
When you are considerate, you will think of the implication and impact your words will have on your spouse, this in turn will mean disciplining yourself to control what you say in a moment of anger so that you don?t end up saying things that will permanently scare your spouse.
When you are considerate, the traditional role of husband and wife goes out of the window. Who says that it?s the woman?s role to cook, clean and look after the children? A considerate husband will take equal share of the responsibility of the domestic chores in the home so that his wife isn?t overburdened and overwhelmed and stressed out.
When you are considerate you will recognise that your spouse needs your time and affection, so you will know when you should put down the laptop, or switch off the T.V or leave all work related activities to give your spouse the quality time they need.
When you are considerate you won?t allow your spouse to be the only one carrying the financial burden of the family, you will try your best to contribute just as much if not more because you know the stress that comes with being overburdened financially and you don?t want to be the cause of that stress.
Being considerate is also thinking about the hard work and effort it takes for your spouse to do some of the things that they do for you and taking the time to appreciate those things through the giving of gifts or just simply saying thank you.
To build successful relationships we must be kind and considerate towards each other, this is what makes your spouse feel valued and as a result they will appreciate you and find it hard to live without you because of the contributions you are making into the relationship. When you are being inconsiderate, you make it easy and give them a valid excuse to leave.
?Love is Patient? ? 1 Corinthians 13:4
For relationships to work you must learn to develop the virtue of patience. Without patience there?s a likelihood of throwing tantrums every time your partner or spouse does something you are unhappy with and if you are constantly throwing tantrums and fighting and arguing all the time, then it?s only a matter of time before you start to believe that the two of you are incompatible and before long you will be going your separate ways.
Part of patience is tolerating each other?s flaws, tolerating each other?s weaknesses, and making room in your mind to tolerate some of the mistakes that your spouse will inevitably make in the relationship. We must always remember that we are not perfect and our spouse isn?t going to be perfect either. You have two imperfect people in a relationship and you expect everything to be plane sailing? You must be kidding yourself. Not to mention that you are two completely different people, from different backgrounds who might hold different core beliefs, as well as different perspective on how things should be done and trying to function as one unit with all these differences in itself will create friction when the both of you don?t see eye to eye on issues.
The key to overcoming this is to exercise a lot of patience and work together to understand each other better, instead of always taking the confrontation route, maybe try taking the understanding route, and with patience try and understand why your spouse has that habit, why they react in a certain why, why they do things in a certain way, why they respond in a certain way. When you allow patience to have its work, you will eventually develop an understanding for each other and it?s not that the annoying habits and behaviour of your spouse will magically disappear but you will be able to handle them with tolerance and patience. At the end of the day, is it really a big deal that the squeeze the toothpaste from the middle ?
Love isn?t necessarily about trying to change the person; it?s about accepting them even with their imperfections and to do that you will need a lot of patience.
Please look out for the second part of this article and I look forward to your comments and suggestions
If you would like to know more about Paul and the work he does, please visit WiseMrLove.Com.