We have a saying that floats around our home:
“Our marriage is either growing or dying. Which one are we choosing today?”
This is significant because we believe that no marriage stays stagnant.
we are making choices that impact the future of our marriage. When you are in a relationship there are aspects of your behavior and how you portray yourself that directly impact your partner. For us, we try and bring to the front 3 truths to ensure longevity in our relationship.
The first truth is how we communicate with each other. Language, tone and body language are all forms of communication we are aware of that can have an effect on building or destroying a relationship. Language… you know the saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me”.. well that’s not true. Words are very powerful and can take on a life of their own. When you use disrespectful words towards your partner each word works to tear them down. And on the opposite side of the spectrum, if you are using loving words towards them you can build them up. So before you let loose, choose your words wisely.
There is also a non-verbal form of communication and it’s to stay silent. This can be just as damaging because when your partner does not know how you feel or what your thinking they can misinterpret what your silence means. As we all know, very rarely are men and women, in terms of communication, ever on the same page. So…speak up.
Contribution in our marriage is the second truth we continually reevaluate. For us, contribution looks more like what each individual is bringing to the table to help the relationship grow. We each play our “roles” and the dynamics of a relationship are always changing. We realize the routine of life can kill a relationship because we tend take each other for granted and disconnect from our partner.
Expressing an attitude of gratitude towards your partner because they went to work to provide for the family or got up in the middle of the night with a crying kid while you slept shows that you are grateful for the contribution they are making to the relationship. Acknowledging the “role” your partner is playing for the betterment of the relationship will keep you connected. Every one wants to feel appreciated. Show gratitude as often as you can!!
Commitment is our third and most important truth. We take the vows we made to each other on our wedding day very seriously. That is not to say we haven’t had moments where we wanted to call it quits. Having two imperfect people try and live a life together is very difficult. Our relationship is no different.
Staying committed to the relationship requires a conscious decision to honor your partner even on their worst day, month or year. Communication and contribution can play a part in how committed you are to the relationship. They can be forms of validation. When a partner doesn’t feel validated eventually they no longer feel the need to stay committed. If you can consciously commit to going to work every day for a paycheck, your relationship should require that same mentality. You both need to be conscious and intentional about the health of your relationship.
Please note, however, we are not talking about staying committed to an abusive relationship. Putting your hands on your partner in a harmful way is never acceptable.
How do you answer the question, what am I doing to make the relationship grow or what am I doing to make it die?