When my husband and I were first married, we were each guilty of allowing other people to have too much influence in our lives. We hadn’t yet learned how to protect our bond from outsiders. Two years into our relationship, we were reaping the negative consequences of those poor decisions. Consequently, we found it difficult to find each other in the midst of the hurt and blame we were putting on each other. But the breakthrough happened, when in a moment of vulnerability and humility, we put down our walls and took responsibility for our own bad choices, seeing how they had hurt the other one. “I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?” We each said it—and meant it. These simple words brought huge breakthrough. Here are two relationship tips to immediately upgrade your marriage.
The importance of forgiveness is a lesson we have learned over and over again. It is not so important to be right; it is more important to protect and preserve the relationship and connection. Since then, we have learned that the sooner we can say “I’m sorry”, even if I don’t feel like I did anything wrong, maybe it was just a wrong attitude or reaction, or maybe it’s just that I’m sorry that we are disconnected and angry with one another right now, the sooner reconciliation happens. I’ve learned to become willing to humble myself for the sake of our relationship. Forgiveness sometimes starts with a conscious act of the will to choose it, but then moves to the heart, where it becomes true forgiveness. If you still feel resentful or angry about something, ask yourself if you’ve really forgiven. Often we can upgrade our relationship just by searching for any area where we can forgive from an even deeper place in our hearts.
2. Seek to serve rather than be served.
Often, we want what we want, and sometimes we feel entitled to our spouse serving us. While it’s necessary for a healthy relationship to go both ways, one way to immediately improve your relationship is to stop thinking about what he doesn’t do for you and what you wish he would do, and start thinking about what he wishes you would do for him. And then do those things. Do them because you love him and want him to feel loved. Do little things for him that will brighten his day. Write him a love note and slip it into his hand before he leaves for work. Buy him the special food he loves. Plan a birthday surprise for him so that he can feel appreciated not just by you but also by the others in his life. If he’s a ‘words of affirmation’ guy, ask his friends and family to write him a letter describing what they admire about him. In this way, you will find that true joy and satisfaction comes from giving, and you will be surprised at how he starts responding in return.
Readers, what things have you found to be successful in upgrading your relationship? Take a minute to comment below.
Cassandra Soars has published various national magazine articles on a wide range of topics, including life in Mozambique, Africa, where she lived for five years. Her first book Love Like Fire: The Story of Heidi Baker is available on Amazon.