Good relationships don’t just happen. I am six days away from my 10th wedding anniversary, and I can tell you I’ve never been more in love with my wife. When I attended Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family Institute, they always spoke about this peculiar research which said that true oneness takes at least 14 years. After the last decade, I am a witness to the fact that it gets better over time. Good relationships happen to people who learn how to make love last.
Marriage is a covenant. In ancient times covenants weren’t made; they were cut. A sacrifice was made and the blood of an animal sealed the relational bond. Covenant is under attack because it reflects God’s nature and desire to create security in relationships through sacrifice. Covenant is not a hot cultural topic to God. It’s his plan for redeeming the Earth. The counterattack coming from God’s enemy makes it easy to believe division and divorce is actually the path with less pain, but it’s not. Even as you’re reading this, you know of many marriages and many relationships are standing at a crossroads; maybe even your own. Let me give you five ideas to help you make love last when you want to let love go. Remember true love comes to those who stay; so stay with it.
When you’re at the crossroads, try to…
1. Look both ways. As with any intersection, we tell our children to look both ways so they are not blindsided by the oncoming traffic. The same is true of relationships. Make sure you play the movie to the end. I think you’ll discover that both paths are full of strain and hurt. It has been said that relationships are simple and strain; pleasure and pain. So true, so very true.
2. Listen to faith and not fear. Fear will tell you to run and hide while faith will tell you to stand and fight. Sometimes all it takes is a little positive resistance to breakthrough the current barriers to a great relationship. Positive resistance crosses the busy intersection with great expectation that not only will you make it, but you will make it with time to spare. Faith makes you fight. Fear makes you fall.
3. Learn from others journey’s. Bring a third-party into the conversation. It’s not easy to be married. It’s certainly not easy to make clear decision when you’ve been disillusioned by the hurt, frustration and pain for so long. When that happens it’s time to wave the white flag of surrender and let someone help you. I have found this to be exactly what my wife and I needed in difficult days. The objectivity of another couple is priceless.
4. Lead courageously. This could fall either to the male or female gender, however I’m still old-fashioned enough that I believe this truth. If a man will lead a woman will follow. Can I get an amen from the women reading this? When standing at the crossroads, it’s time to take your woman by the hand and lead her safely through the dangers of transition. It’s not easy, but it’s your duty.
5. Love through the hurt. Love equals sacrifice. Sometimes the greatest sacrifice we make is when we raise the knife to the throat of pride and execute its influence. Humility will be able to see the hurt in others and love (sacrifice) for that person, even in the midst of their own pain. There will come a time when you want to give up. Trust me. In that moment, pride will say: “you deserve better” but humility will say: “they deserve better.” Listen carefully and you will discover the voice of your Heavenly Father calling you to act like he would act: Love.
Of course, none of this is easy. Crossroads are never easy. But like my friend Robert Frost says, if you take the road less traveled, it shall make all the difference. Here’s to making love last. Who’s with me?
Founder MULTIPLi International – a church planting initiative