Learning How to Have a Successful Relationship
Most people who are single would like to know how to develop a relationship that would lead to a happy marriage. While no one can guarantee a happy marriage there are factors that can help.
The bottom line is learn how to be sane, stable, and spiritual yourself and then seek another person who is also striving to be sane, stable, and spiritual. Two people who both are striving to be mentally, emotionally, and sacredly healthy will find ways to resolve conflicts, deal with change, and have realistic expectations.
Never marry a person to become a happy and/or holy person. Happiness and holiness are things we must have within our own souls developed through our own internal process in our relationship with God and ourselves. When we are hungry souls seeking some other human soul to meet our needs this becomes a “vampire” relationship in which we hope to suck our joy out of the other person.
This is codependency gone wild and idolizes the other person. Recognize however that the person that was yesterday’s idol can become today’s demon. Many times two people will try to do this at the same time and their relationship becomes “two ticks and no dog”.
Before you seek a serious married relationship with another person strive to become emotionally and spiritually mature yourself. This is a needed foundation for a sane, stable, and spiritual marriage.
It is better to marry a person who is at a similar stage of life than someone radically different.
The more you have in common the better. It is better for people to share the same religious beliefs, moral values, and world view.
People who are dedicated Christians should not marry agnostic atheists even if they feel very attracted to each them, since the potential of this becoming a root of conflict is very high and such a marriage would be for the Christian a violation of God’s will for their lives. God’s will is for Christians to marry Christians.
It is also significant that people are basically at the same level of emotional and spiritual maturity or this again can lead to a type of “codependency” in which one spouse is seen as a parent and the other as a child.
If the two people are “peers” in faith and maturity then this will allow them to grow in ways that are consistent. If one person is radically more stable than the other then it is likely that a “caretaker” relationship will develop in which one person will feel like a martyr always caring for the other and the other person not respected or needed.
Make sure that the person you would consider marrying is committed to a lifetime of investing to make the marriage healthy. Good marriages take work and daily maintenance. Three key areas are
• There needs to be a joyful desire to date each other every week of your lives together
• Daily time dedicated to talking about the good, bad, ugly, and dreams to the one you have chosen to be your best friend
• A well thought out method of conflict resolutions that aims at solving problems, not casting blame.
Part of the vows and commitment to marriage needs to be that both people will aim at improving themselves and the marriage in very organized and specific manner.
So what about “chemistry”? This is good but not a good indicator if a couple will have a good marriage. This physical attraction fades within six months of marriage in most cases.
What matters, more than anything else in a marriage, are the compassion, competence, and character of the person you marry.
Do both of you have the ability to forgive and give mercy to each other when wrong words, attitudes, and actions occur? The following verse is a key to a good relationship in marriage.
“Therefore receive one another, just as also Christ received you, to the glory of God.
Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote on this verse.
“God gives you Christ as the foundation of your marriage. ‘Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God’ (Romans 15:7). In a word, live together in the forgiveness of your sins, for without it no human fellowship, least of all a marriage, can survive. Don’t insist on your rights, don’t blame each other, don’t judge or condemn each other, don’t fault with each other, but accept each other as you are, and forgive each other every day from the bottom of your hearts”
So look for seek a relationship where the person knows the forgiveness of Christ so well that they can pass that forgiveness on to you and grow in your own knowledge of Christ’s forgiveness that you can forgive them as well.
Ultimately, it is grace alone that can make a marriage successful.