Amos 3:3 – Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
Relationship can be defined as the way in which two people, groups or countries behave towards each other or deal with each other. We can also say that relationship refers to the way in which two people are connected and how they behave towards or deal with each other.
Ecclesiastes 4:9 – Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
Ecclesiastes 4:10 – For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
Ecclesiastes 4:11 – Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
Ecclesiastes 4:12 – And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Looking at the various Biblical scriptures highlighted above, we see the significance of relationships and how they are referred to. From the scriptures we see that relationship is a necessity rather than desire and human beings are relational beings. However, the kind of a relationship we refer to here is a more intimate one that is a lifetime commitment leading to marriage.
QUALITIES OF A HEALTHY MARRIAGE/ RELATIONSHIP
- Your Spouse Should be Your Best Friend:
You’ll come to realize that relationships and more so marriage has been taken so casually with ‘companionship’ being taken to mean getting one who would fulfill your needs without question throughout your life but should not necessarily be your best friend. A healthy relationship that lasts is one where the couples are the best of friends. Your spouse is the one you share your most intimate thoughts, concerns, and experiences. Friendship is a building block for strong marriages.
- Quality Time:
How much time do you spend together? Does his/her company bore you or excite you. Whenever you are in the presence of your spouse and you can’t just wait to go out with your friends to watch a game, to go shopping or do other social activities then something is wrong with your relationship. Always strive to invest your quality time in each other for that will strengthen your relationship.
- Investing On Each Other:
If you want to have a healthy relationship, then you will need to invest in it more than you withdraw from it. Just like your regular banking account, your relationship banking account needs more deposits than withdrawals. You can’t keep taking away from your marriage with your actions and your words and not expect to go broke at some point. You must deposit into your relationship with things such as: marriage conferences, date nights/quality time, and affection and intimacy. So the main aim of your Night Outs or Day Outs is to Invest in one another as much as possible.
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he shall also reap.” Galatians 6:b. N.K.J.V.
Keep God at the center of your relationship. With God at the center, you are “humble and correctable.” And you are able to make it work even though your emotions say otherwise. Couples that worship and pray together have a far less chance of getting divorced.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it…..” Psalm 127:1a. N.K.J.V
Great marriages and relationships require sacrifice in all areas of your life: emotional, physical, financial, spiritual…and even with your entertainment. When you’re married, you can’t just make large purchases that will impact your marriage/family financially, you can’t just let your body and health go, and you can’t just let your temper get the best of you to the point where you say something you regret.
In healthy relationships, when couples extend Grace to one another they are able to forgive each other even when their spouse does not deserve it.
“Listen to this carefully. I’m warning you. There’s nothing done or said that can’t be forgiven.” Mark 3:28a.
People in healthy relationships/ marriages know that a relationship leading to marriage is more than a contractual relationship that can be just voided at the first sign of trouble or incompatibility. They know that they have entered into a covenant, a spiritually binding relationship between them and God.
BASIC REALITIES OF HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS
- One of the biggest differences between men and women is how they cope with stress. Men become increasingly focused and withdrawn while women become increasingly overwhelmed and emotionally involved. At these times, a man’s needs for feeling good are different from a woman’s He feels better by solving problems while she feels better by talking about problems. Not understanding and accepting these differences creates unnecessary friction in our relationships.
- Let’s look at a common example; Men value power, competency, efficiency, and achievement. They are always doing things to prove themselves and develop their power and skills. Their sense of self is defined through their ability to achieve results. They experience fulfilment primarily through success and accomplishment.
- Women have different values. They value love, communication, beauty, and relationships. They spend a lot of time supporting, helping, and nurturing one another. Their sense of self is defined through their feelings and the quality of their relationships. They experience fulfilment through sharing and relating.
- Figuratively speaking, I believe each of us has a Love Bank. It contains many different accounts, one for each person we know.
- Each person makes either deposits or withdrawals whenever we interact with him or her. Pleasurable interactions cause deposits, and painful interactions cause withdrawals.
- In the Love Bank system every deposit or withdrawal is worth a certain number of love units. If I meet a friend (we’ll call him Jim), and the encounter leaves me feeling comfortable, 1 or 2 love units will be deposited in his account in my Love Bank.
- If the interchange makes me feel good, Jim’s deposit in my bank may be 5 love units. Very Good gets up to 10. But if he makes me feel exceptionally good the sky’s the limit—20 or more can be deposited during one encounter.
- Suppose, however, that I find myself feeling uncomfortable when I am with someone; we’ll call her Jane. One or 2 love units are withdrawn from Jane’s account. If she makes me feel bad, 5 units may be withdrawn. Very bad warrants a 10-unit withdrawal. If I consider my encounter with Jane among the worst experiences of my life, it may cost her a 20-unit withdrawal or more.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Love always protects. Love always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails”. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Affection—the Cement of a Relationship
- To most women, affection symbolizes security, protection, comfort, and approval, vitally important commodities in their eyes. When a husband shows his wife affection, he sends the following messages:
- I care about you.
- You are important to me, and I don’t want anything to happen to you.
- I’m concerned about the problems you face and I’ll try to help you overcome them.
- A hug can say any and all of the above. Men need to understand how strongly women need these affirmations. For the typical wife, there can hardly be enough of them.
The Importance of Communication
- There are many reasons why effective communication in any relationship is absolutely essential to its success. Communication is an integral part of how all of the other important emotional needs are met. The expression of affection is generally verbal.
- Consider for a moment the other emotional needs like recreational companionship, honesty and openness, physical attractiveness, financial support, domestic support, family commitment, and admiration. There isn’t a single emotional need that can be met without requiring communication in one way or another.
- A second reason communication is important in a relationship is that it’s necessary for everyday problem solving and conflict resolution. Any relationship is a partnership that requires mutual agreement on a host of issues if it’s to be successful. Conflicts over friends and relatives, financial planning, time management, child discipline, and many other common problems can be resolved only if couples are skilled in talking to each other. The more enjoyable and safe the channels of communication are, the more likely they will find mutually agreeable resolutions.
Faith and Marriage
Any two individuals can plan a wedding, but a successful marriage requires more than a one day celebration; it requires a successful blueprint. Media, friends and family paint a variety of images for us to reflect. But when we choose to reflect the image we were created in (God’s image) we will set the blueprint for generations to come.
Here are a few things about M.A.R.R.I.A.G.E that are very key in any lasting relationship of a man and woman who want to live together as husband and wife:
As with any ministry, we must have a heart to serve in order for God’s will to be fulfilled. In God’s command for us to be fruitful and multiply, He gave us everything we need to fulfill His plan. God did not create us as half beings that would only be whole once married, but He created us as two separate wholes with an even greater purpose as one flesh.
For those who have been called to marriage, God has a unique purpose in uniting you and your spouse as man and wife. Imagine a puzzle. Each individual piece has a specific assignment, but the assignment can only be completed when each one is in its place. Proverbs 18:22 says, He who finds a wife, finds a good thing and obtains favor in the Lord. When a man finds the wife who God has chosen for him, the assignment God has for their lives can be completed.
No matter how long you have known your spouse, you never know what tomorrow holds. We do not know what trials we may face in marriage, but we can be sure that when our trust is in God and we are committed to obeying His word, we can overcome any obstacle that comes our way.
As one flesh, your responsibility is not only to yourself, but it is now to your spouse as well. Whether your spouse is experiencing bad health, bad credit or simple a bad attitude, it is your responsibility to stand strong in their time of weakness. It is your responsibility to intercede on your spouse’s behalf. You’re prayers are more powerful than anything you could physically do for your spouse.
Once we say “I do”, it’s no longer about “Me”. It’s now about “We”. As one flesh, the decisions you make will affect your spouse in one way or another. Therefore we must remember to treat each other with the love and respect we would like to have shown towards us.
As two unique individuals, spouses bring different personalities and qualities into a marriage. One spouse may be a neat freak while the other is much more laid back. One spouse may like to plan for occasions, while the other prefers to be spontaneous. If we are willing to submit such things to God, and step outside of our comfort zones, growth can take place. Though we may bump heads at times, our differences are the perfect keys to creating a beautiful work of art in marriage.
Marriage ordained by God is a gift that exemplifies His love in an earthly vessel. Marriage is an opportunity to commune as one flesh. Though God created us as complete human beings, we were also created with a desire for companionship. Marriage is to be cherished and esteemed holy. When this gift is committed unto God there is nothing and no one that can separate us. “Though one person may be overpowered by another, two people can resist one opponent. A triple-braided rope is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12
As husband and wife, we are to reflect the marriage of Christ and the church. Just as Christ sacrificed His life for us, we are to submit to one another as our spouse submits to Christ.