Jane and Albert were the typical newly married couple. In their late 20s, they had dated for nearly four years before getting married. They had the blessing of their parents, attended premarital counseling, and were on their way to living happily ever after — or so everyone thought. But marriage for Jane and Albert, like the majority of newlyweds, wasn’t all they hoped for. Each of them, for different reasons, felt like something was not right, they felt let down. Unlike the majority of couples, however, Jane and Albert talked openly about their feelings and decided to do something about it. They were determined to ensure their marriage worked even though they had realized their expectations of marriage were not being met.
People who knew them gave them all kinds of advice, “give it time, it will work out by itself” others told them maybe “they were not compatible”. After hearing all kinds of crazy ideas, they decided to seek for better and more objective help. They turned to a wise couple in their church whose marriage they admired and who seemed to be serious in their relationship. The couple pointed them to God’s word and to certain pointers that began to radically alter the way they viewed marriage, love and their relationship. Jane and Albert are now in their sixth year of marriage and they are madly in love and excited about their marriage and the days ahead. If it was not for the help and advice they received from this couple, Jane confesses their marriage would not have lasted even two years. I had the opportunity to sit down with Jane and Albert recently and sought to find out what are the top three pointers that have helped them this far. In our conversation, I got to point out to them that this pointers are not just for marriage, they actually apply in relationships, dating and courtship and even in marriage. Here are the pointers they shared and I hope you will learn from them, pick them and determine to live by them:
1. Relationships depend on choices in order to thrive – Love is actually a choice more than a feeling. I know you have been taught differently from a Hollywood angle but from God’s perspective, love is a choice. John 3:16, “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son…” is not about feelings but a choice. This ought to be very freeing to hear as a single person because it means you need to choose when that time comes, you need to choose whom you will love. If you wait for the day you will feel like your heart is going to burst or something, you might wait for a long time. Well, in the context of marriage, Jane and Albert had to choose to love each other amidst the pressures and challenges of life. They had to make choices daily to consider the other person, to do something good for the other and not just thing about themselves. They learnt to make choices that built each other and their marriage instead of tearing or destroying each other. Question to us today is, what choices are we making in our relationships and friendships? What choices are we making in our marriages? You can choose to think about yourself or you can choose to consider your spouse also. You can choose to be selfish or you can choose to care and bless your spouse. The choices we make determine how our relationships thrive.
2. Relationships rise and fall on Commitment – many people marry the one they love, the one who makes their hearts stutter and causes them to have goose bumps all over but marriage is very different from courtship. In marriage, you get to live life in reality and not in a mythical world of red flowers and honey kisses. In the real world, your spouse might snore at night, not act as quickly as you wanted and may irritate you with an annoying habit. With such reality, do you stop loving them or do you choose to love them still? The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 13 that Love is patient, you get to choose patience when you choose to love the one you married. It also says that love is kind and you therefore choose to be kind to the one you married. Committing to love the one you married means you will not look elsewhere but will love and cherish your spouse.
3. Relationships grow through communication – It is impossible to grow in a relationship with someone that you do not communicate with. Communication builds connection and creates intimacy. Through communication, a couple is able to plan together, pray together and pursue their dreams together. Jane and Albert were able to grow in their marriage through communication. They talked, they shared jokes, they talked about their dreams, their likes and dislikes and as they did these, their marriage grew. Any couple that wants their relationship to grow has to guard their communication like a hawk, they have to deal with the communication killers and ensure the channels or communication are not polluted by selfishness or blocked by bad habits. As communication grows, the relationship will thrive.
Jane and Albert are thriving and so can you. Trade your misconceptions, myths and all those unrealistic ideas of relationships and marriage and begin to build a meaningful relationship that is destined to thrive.
Important Note: In the month of September at International Christian Centre Mombasa (ICC Mombasa) we are embarking on a four weeks sermon series in our services talking about marriage and relationships and how to thrive in the same. The sermon series is dubbed “Sugar and Spice” and I believe it will be a great blessing to many people both singles and those that are married. If you live in Mombasa or know any one in Mombasa, invite them in. This is one sermon series that everyone should listen to. I dare you to be there every Sunday and to invite everyone. Bring your whole office, bring your friends and don’t leave anyone behind.