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4 Relationship Lessons Learnt From a Dog

Posted on : 18-07-2012 | By : Edward | In : Blog Home


I met with Jim and his wife Veronica on the streets of Mombasa while they were on holiday here recently. Honestly speaking, I was surprised that they were together and to see the obvious love and affection that they shared. Why was I surprised? Well, three years ago, Jim was done with the marriage and complained about Veronica all the time, he even moved out of their home and was ready to begin the divorce process. I had tried to get Jim to have an appointment with me without success as he kept on avoiding me and made it really hard to get him even on phone. Many of his friends had also tried to get to him but without success. I was intrigued and wanted to know, “what changed in their marriage? What made Jim go back to his wife?’ Dog 1

I got the opportunity to ask Jim the questions as we met for coffee and his answers were simple, shocking yet so profound. After separating from his wife, Jim got himself a pet dog and it was from his dog that he observed and learned some valuable relationship lessons that brought the turn around in his marriage. I would like to share with you the lessons Jim learnt. Theses lessons are:

1. Forgive Quickly and Easily – Every time Jim chased his dog for doing something that annoyed him, it would scamper away with the tail in between its legs but in just a few moments, it would be back ready to lick his hands and be friends again. Each time the dog did this, Jim would always wonder why he did not do the same with his wife. What if he learnt to forgive easily and quickly without holding grudges? What if he did not allow what his wife did to affect how he responded to her? Too many times, Jim would hold grudges, refuse to forgive and just hold the hurt and keep hurting his wife. Any marriage where forgiveness is rare will eventually fizzle out and die. What if both husband and wife learnt to forgive easily and quickly? What if we decided that the relationship we have is more important than our ego? If you want to build a great marriage, you must learn to forgive quickly and easily.

2. Put action to your love – Your spouse should never wonder whether you were happy to see them. Regardless of the time, circumstances or challenges, Jim’s dog was always excited and ready to receive him. It barked, wagged it’s tail and came running to meet him. Jim loved the routine exciting reception he received until one day he asked himself, what if I was always excited to see Veronica? What if I always received her with a hug and did not allow what I was going through to affect how I responded to her? Jim knew that sometimes he even resented seeing his wife and hoped it had never shown. He determined when he gets another chance, things would change. Just like Jim, we need to stop giving our spouses the cold shoulder and get genuinely excited to see them and receive them joyfully. To be able to do this, we need to learn to focus on the good and not the negative and also train ourselves to love and look forward to their company.

3. Arguments are not beneficial – You Don’t Have to Argue With Your Spouse. Any time Jim had a bone to pick with his pet, it dropped it’s head and approached him with a puppy dog look. It was had to be mad at the dog at that point. Unlike his pet, even when he knew that he was in the wrong, Jim would pick up an argument with his wife rather than accept he was wrong. Veronica also would do the same and this resulted in never ending arguments in their home and they ended up hurting each other and destroying their relationship. An old man one time told be that no one ever wins when two people who love each other acouple in love 2rgue, they only loose. We therefore need to stop trying to win in arguments with our spouses and learn to admit our faults and ask for forgiveness.

4. Be the initiator – As much as Jim was the pet owner, he learnt from his observations of the “friendship” with his pet that the dog was the one in charge. It initiated their interactions most of the time, it did not sit and wait to see what Jim would do. When something was wrong, it would always reach out and comfort him. When he came home tired and wanting to just rest it would come and cuddle at his feet. Jim realized that he needed to be the initiator in his marriage, just like his pet, he determined to be there for Veronica. Being an initiator meant that he would be the one who would call her, apologize and seek to build his marriage. He would seek to understand his wife and seek to comfort her, encourage her and lead her to the place where their marriage would thrive. Many people destroy their relationships as they wait for the other party to initiate the conversation, the intimacy or even a reconciliation and it is in that waiting and refusing to take initiative that many relationships are doomed. We need to learn to initiate, start the conversation and be the first to do the right thing. The bible tells us to “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18. We are to do, not wait for the other person to style up or learn a lesson.

As I listened to Jim, I could tell he had learnt his lessons well and he in turn had taught his wife and the joy and transformation in their marriage was infectious. My challenge to you is, would you pick up this lessons and put them into practice? I pray that your relationship or marriage will thrive as you do so.

I would love to hear your thoughts, comments or even get more lessons from you, share them below in the comments.


Comments (25)

how true these lessons are, i choose to put them into practice and not wait to learn them the hard way, thanks Pst for sharing the insights, baraka.

Passy that’s a good one… Keep them coming. God bless.

Thanks, atleast i’ll try the four tips i have learnt. Keep it up.

keep it up!

wow! wish everyone could read this

The wisdom in the words above is immense. Great writing Pastor and awesome tips on helping marriages and relationships survive. Who ever thought a dog would be so helpful?

Nice one, i learnt these lessons and more from my cat “Kanyau” and i was just musing about these kind of lessons yesterday.. just to read about them today. Very true and beautifully written.
Keep them coming!

Thenx pasii. God bless

Thank you,
My 3 yeart old marriage is collapsing due to anger and bitterness in my heart. My wife and I do not commune nor fellowship together anymore.
This is like the word of The Lord to me and may I receive grace to rebuild my marriage.
Be blessed pastor

Wow awesome. Practice pap!

I enjoy every read and every lesson learnt

God bless you Pastor for great writing and wisdom.

That was an eye opener. Initiating conversation,forgiveness,reconciliation in a marriage brings with it lots of fruits including peace,harmony joy and happiness not forgetting strong bond.

am blessed by the message and really moved for Jim’s change. God bless you

Hi Pastor,

Never thought that would be possible, learning from a dog all those lessons. Wow, am blessed personally by the story and the lessons shared.

I have a task at all four of those lessons shared – putting action to love seems to shout at me. How to smile and laugh genuinely when in the presence of another person does really boil down to the thoughts you have of them and it might even be baggage from unforgiveness. I agree to that effect. I am spurred to be better in how I relate by thinking positive thoughts. Thanks for this!

“4 Relationship Lessons Learnt From a Dog | Living Life With A Mission” actually got
me hooked on your web page! Idefinitely will wind up
being back again alot more frequently. Thanks ,Adell

Nice read. Looking forward to more posts. Can I get your email address? i need advice on something.

We need more people like you to encourage others to be the bigger person. Even to their family member and friends.

I stumbled across your page from a male friend of mine who also came to the realization that he needed to shape up and change to be with the woman he loved. And that’s what he did.


I am blessed to hear of the change in your male friend and I pray for many more stories like those. May you learn and grow also as you go through my blog.

God richly bless you

Nice read, never thought a Dog can teach us that much. Cant keep it with me, i have to share.

Hey Fred,

Lessons are all around us. Good to know you got to learn and enjoyed. Spread the word.


This is insight big time, i could relate with everything here coz i love pet dogs and all is so true. Thanks for the wisdom. God bless you

Hi Mike,

Good to hear from one who knows pet dogs confirming these lessons as true. God richly bless you

hehehe……a language i understand thank you………..i think i need to get a dog for practical lessons just before i marry 🙂 problem is that i live in an Apartment! ……… can Cat do?…… i can easily keep cat…..though all cats are evil……will teach me manipulation and selfishness!

Great lesson Pastor ……love it.

This is so true Passi. You have just saved so many marriages with this blog. Its amazing how we treat others directly relates to how others treat us. May God bless you and your family abundantly for the wise counsel you give us. Baraka tele.

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