Many of the problems we face in our marriages are ultimately rooted in an unrealistic expectation of what marriage is supposed to look like.
Number one… Respect.Respecting your spouse means that you value them and hold them in high esteem. Value their feelings and opinions just as you value your own. Don’t disregard what your spouse shares with you. Don’t get frustrated or angry if you don’t like what they say. Just be patient and listen. Remember, your marriage is a picture of the Messiah’s relationship with the Church. Respecting your spouse is ultimately connected to respecting God.
Key number two… SupportBeing happy in marriage requires you to take the focus off of yourself. When you are selfless and focused on fulfilling your spouse’s needs instead of striving to get what you want, you’ll often find that your spouse is more than willing to reciprocate.
“Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” – Proverbs 11:25Support takes many forms. The simplest and often most needed form of support is encouragement and verbal affirmation. This goes back to Respect. If you value your spouse, you’ll value their hopes, dreams, trust, and sense of security. You’ll put their needs before your own.
Key number three… ListenMost of the problems we face in marriage happen because we don’t know how to communicate effectively. Instead of listening to our spouse and validating their feelings, we get busy formulating counter arguments and building our case against them. We listen to reply rather than listening to learn. But this response puts them on the defensive and makes it more difficult to resolve the problems.
“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” – Proverbs 18:2Spouses can get so distracted with “winning” the argument that they lose sight of the goal, which is to resolve the conflict! Marriage cannot flourish in a self-centered environment. It can’t flourish without mutual respect and support. It all boils down to this: Love your spouse more than yourself. Respect them, support them, and listen to them. And then watch as new life is breathed into your marriage!