Five Keys to a Healthy Marriage
Here are some qualities that are important to have in a marriage. Think of them as the five keys to a loving relationship and healthy marriage. Without keys we do not have access to things (our car, home, etc.). If we do not work on the five things mentioned below we may find walls between us instead of doors to connection and love. To have a relationship where we are open, trusting and loving we need to be willing to do the work of using these essential keys.
1. Both individuals are willing to submit to one another. By submitting I mean the practice of putting the other person first and valuing that person (their feelings, opinions, wants and needs). It is respect for the other person and a willingness to listen, to be humble, and to recognize when we are wrong. When this is done the couple opens the door to trust and security in the relationship. There is a feeling of being safe together.
2. Encourage and nourish each other. Both individuals develop a giving spirit, one that cultivates a safe and welcoming environment. It is essential to focus on giving more than we do on receiving. For example, thinking of things that you can do for your partner to fill their love tank, rather than just thinking about what you need to fill yours is a start. Next start actively doing these things. Some things that can be done on a regular basis include: affirming each other verbally, being romantic with each other (leaving notes for each other, sending flowers, planning a special date, etc.), serving each other (doing chores, making lunches, changing diapers, running errands, etc.), and spending quality time with each other.
3. Chose to love one another. Both individuals are working on not being self-centered but consider the other person's needs before voicing their own. They are willing to make sacrifices for the other partner and offer a love that is unconditional, committed, and benevolent. He/she does not say, “I love you if you do this or because of …” Instead he/she says, “I love you without conditions.”
4. Invests in the potential of the other person. The couple encourages the goals and dreams of the other partner and helps him/her realize them. This person helps their partner be healthy at every level (physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually).
5. Recognizes and responds to the other person’s needs so that he/she can help their partner attain their needs. They may ask, "Are you feeling ______ because you are needing _______?" They value the other person's needs and care about meeting them. They also may ask, "What would you like me to do for you?"
PHOTO CAPTION: A rare photo of Rachel and I at our marriage ceremony.