Recently, several high profile couples have made national news because of serious marital problems. They include Tiger Woods and his wife Elin, and Sandra Bulloch and her husband Jesse James. They have lots of company. I only mention them because of their notoriety. The question is, what must couples do to build strong relationships?
Some would say this issue is no big deal. They argue that people marry and divorce every day, and life goes on, end of story. But 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. Divorce is ugly, painful, and costly, and there are no true winners.
Since this is a Christian blog and I am a Christian, I should argue that having the right relationship with God is vital, if couples want to build strong relationships. That is certainly my conviction. Wasn’t God the one who came up with the idea of and who ordained marriage? 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 points on how to build strong relationships:
1. To build strong relationships, hard work is required. Strong marriages and relationships 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 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 the issues, and sometimes the work is hard.
2. To build strong relationships, couples must labor to keep it fresh over time. Why do we think that because we are married, we no longer need 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. I know something about this; at this writing, my wife and I have been married for over 35 years.
3. To build strong relationships, 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. My point is that people and things change over time, 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 (2 Tim. 2:3).
When I was a church pastor, I shared in much greater detail the points above. They help couples think beyond the honeymoon stage, and to see the big picture of their relationship. Doing so increases their chance of success. If I had to sum up things in one statement, it would be that to build strong relationships, we must first lay the foundation of faithfulness—faithfulness first to God and then to our mate. This is a simple truth that takes a lifetime to master.
Copyright ©2010 by Frank King. All rights reserved.