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Is your partner a priority or convenience?

Choices are more important than you think. All too often couples sit back and accept that marriage is natural and will simply take care of itself. In fact, many falsely believe that the initial spark which kept the marriage exuberant and alive, is what makes or breaks a union. In other words, when that superficial spark subsides, the marriage disintegrates too. Right? Wrong!

The truth lies in the biblical verses of 1 Cor. 7:28; Eph 5:31 and Prov. 30:18-19, which clearly state that those who marry will face many troubles in life, that a marriage remains a mystery and that the love between a man and a woman remains an unfathomable concept.

The 4 cornerstones of a good marriage

Couples have the ability to create a better foundation for their marriage by selecting and implementing specific cornerstones, which is defined as ‘an important quality or feature on which a particular thing depends or is based.’ However, in order to implement these cornerstones, each individual will have to choose to commit themselves to their marriage – nobody can make this decision for you. It will take time and the success thereof is not determined by how quickly it is implemented, but rather how consistently they are applied. Do not attach an emotion to these cornerstones as it will influence the decision to implement them.

The first cornerstone that you will need is that of exclusivity. Another fitting word for this could be “priority”.

How do you show or prove exclusivity to each other? How do you make each other a priority?

Jimmy Evans identifies four ways to achieve this:

1. Sacrifices: Is there something which is pulling you further away from your partner or even taking the place of your partner? Maybe sport, work or friends? Sacrifice it to build exclusivity.
2. Time: Time that makes sense to you. Time that effectively and efficiently adds to your relationship. This is the time that is most valuable. You don’t get this time, you purposefully choose it. What time are you willing to sacrifice so that you get to spend time with your spouse?
3. Energy: Relationships are dependent on positive energy – the times when you are most focused. Marriages cannot function on leftover energy. Several couples believe that when they are married, they can survive on the time that is leftover at the end of the day. Set out specific times for your spouse when your energy levels are at their highest so that he/she too can experience your best times with you.
4. Attitude: Be positive about your relationship, do things that reinforce all the positive attributes in your relationship. Love can dwindle. Be each other’s back-up, make the choice to regularly celebrate your relationship – don’t wait for big days! Make every day a big day! Make your spouse feel special and let him/her know that you are thinking of them.

It is important to protect these choices of exclusivity through discipline – things that a couple choose to do regularly to the point that it almost becomes a routine. In a relationship acts such as date nights, weekends away, putting time aside as a couple are critical to ensuring that a marriage is built on a solid foundation and won’t crumble at the first impact of hardship.

Article by Kobus and Linda Pauw