Relationship Builders (Part 2) – How To Build Relationships With People
19 March 2016 Saturday Service – Kong Hee & Sun Ho
The language of love is universal. Everyone’s looking for love. Marriage is the most difficult and complex relationship.
1 Corinthians 7:33 But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife.
If you’re married, you should care for your spouse.
How to have a happy marriage
It is inevitable to quarrel, fight, be upset and be hurt. Most couples mess up during conflicts, even when they love each other, even when they are both Christians.
So, what is the secret weapon? Repair attempts.
Repair attempt is any statement/action that prevent negativity from escalating out of control.
Different couples have different repair attempts. It has little to do with the ability to express yourselves, but to do with the state of the couple’s friendship. It makes the difference if the marriage is hell or heaven.
When couples are good friends, it’s natural to know what to say or do. A happy or sad marriage is determined by how good the couple is at executing repair attempts.
Positive thoughts should overwhelm negative ones. Marriage is beyond communication, sex and money. It’s normal for husband and wife to have different temperaments and personalities, but if they are good friends within the marriage, they can be happy and satisfied.
Happy marriage is built on strong friendship. Perfect marriage is not about not having quarrels or being in perfect agreement. The foundation of love is friendship. Friendship is what makes marriage happy or unhappy.
Proverbs 27:17 (CEB) As iron sharpens iron, so friends sharpen each other’s faces.
Friction is good. God uses friendship to make us better people. In a marriage, it is important to have deep friendship. This is defined as “respect and mutual enjoyment of each other’s company.”
This is built on little things done for and with each other day in and day out. It doesn’t have to be lavish things. What fans the flames of romance is friendship! The real secret is to keep turning toward each other daily.
“A strong relationship requires choosing to love each other even when in those moments you struggle to like each other.”
It is turning to your spouse even when you feel like they are being hostile and difficult. It is to force yourself to turn to each other even when you are angry. Do not shut each other off.
John 15:15 (NIV) I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
Friends share details of their lives to one another. The more we are aware of each other, the better we become. We must be intimately familiar with each other’s hopes/dreams/idiosyncracies etc. If we do not know one another, how do we love one another?
Knowledge is power. The more we know about each other, the stronger we become better in dealing with conflict.
Updating each other is also important in the friendship. When you marry, you marry a friend. Each need to be updated with the latest thoughts, feelings and every ongoing lifelong process. But once in awhile, couple will need a major update at transition periods eg. parenthood, new job, relocation.
Take for example parenting.
A baby brings big change in a marriage. In a study that was done, it was found that 1/3 of the wives surveyed were happy with the change. They found fulfilment, felt appreciated and felt supported – as the husband transitioned with the wife together in this change.
For the husbands, you cannot expect to have your wife back. You have to enter into the same season with her and do it as a team. Couples need to invest into respect and affection.
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves
Romans 12:10 (NLT) Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
Another important aspect is to always show empathy. When your wife complains, just listen. Showing empathy must precede solutions.
How do you do that?
- Show genuine interest
- Empathise with situation
- Say things like “Oh no…”
- Show signs of affection eg. hug her
- Wait for appropriate time to offer solution
Lastly, do this exercise. Choose 3 attributes that is characteristic of your partner, attributes that made you fall in love with him/her. Share it with him/her and always remind yourself, especially in times of conflict, why you chose him/her, why you love him/her.