How to move from indifference to love in your relationship

happy couple

Spouses should acknowledge and appreciate their diversity while being careful about relational unity.

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As one couple barely settled in their seats in my office, one could see a display of emotion that was getting ready to burst. Once I gave them time to speak, it was accusation and counter-accusation that rang the air. My office was soon a war zone. How could such a marriage of 26 years begin to appreciate what they enjoyed in the relationship despite the challenges?

So, I asked the wife, what are you celebrating in your relationship? Her anger was quick. "Nothing, pastor, nothing!" This couple had a lovely house they had built, each with their car and the children educated—all from a joint effort. The issue of the man losing his job, which was followed by indebtedness and infidelity, had blinded this couple. Remorse could not do it.

Complaints about what is missing and not taking place have become the order of the day. Most of this leads to conflict on issues such as the lack of good communication, lack of financial support and the absence of intimacy. Coupled with a lack of sound conflict management, many spouses end up clouded in a cycle of blame and accusation.

This does nothing but erodes their love bank. From the presenting issues in marriages and relationships today, I believe that couples need to prioritise celebrating their victories, albeit small ones, as they invest more into their relationships. 

This is what they need to do if they expect to make an equal harvest from their relationship. In addition, the failure to realise the amount of work required to make a garden productive should inform us of the investment we need to make in our relationships.

Pending issues

First, couples should make it their sin to guard areas that quickly and maybe already agreed upon. What are the things both of you decide on. These need celebration because they provide fuel for the cold days. Increasing the common areas of agreement will happen by making deliberate efforts to add to the number of things they agree on while identifying their areas of indifference.

Separating the two helps a couple determine the strategy needed to deal with pending issues while still enjoying those that are working well. This is how we reduce the number of things we argue about in the relationship. This will help families agree on a schedule or plan with clear priorities. Ask yourselves, "Where is the family headed" help paint the picture of the marriage a couple wants to see.

Second, spouses must not only identify what works and does not work. Spouses need to ask themselves, "How will we make the painting a reality. This is what forms the road map for marriage.

Defining and prioritising issues that need to be achieved together helps goals to be set and the necessary sacrifices to be determined. In turn, a couple fighting for what they want without fighting each other is a possibility because they will seek the same end.

Third, spouses should acknowledge and appreciate their diversity while being careful about relational unity. This will call each spouse listening to each other's dreams and looking for ways to harmonise the dreams, acknowledging each other's views and avoiding trivialising their partner's views because opinions of an issue by either spouse matter.

This must go hand in hand with the need to remind oneself of guarding those areas that both agree on. It is important not to let failure and differences continue to be the coal fueling the fire of indifference.

Last but not least, there is a need for relationships partners to cultivate an environment of honest dialogue that promotes understanding. Therefore, using emotional intelligence in communication is a must. Study the emotional responses of your spouse and become a master of using this knowledge to react appropriately.

When we are ignorant of how our communication affects others, we become blind to their feelings. Listening communicates value and belonging. Therefore, establishing a Godly and enduring communication culture should be every spouse' aim.

Remembering to cover each other's backs and choosing not to embarrass each other is an excellent tactic in managing responses. This will include honouring the feelings, wishes, opinions of your partner. Looking for the good in each other helps us grow together through the challenges we face.

Instead, we need to acknowledge guilt to discover that there is a need to forgive each other. This means admitting that an offence has been committed or that your partner is offended by what happened. Do not pass the buck or the blame. Either spouse must embrace forgiveness and learn to take responsibility.

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