Respectful relationships – Have you ever had your feelings hurt by your loved one and decided to suffer silently? Perhaps you held back from addressing the issue in order not to “rock the boat” or cause conflict? This very thing happened to me last night. I knew something was wrong in my Godly relationships. I knew that intimacy had been broken. But whose fault was it that it had become broken, and how could we get it back?
Respectful Relationships and Silent Suffering
For many of us, the normal reaction in such situations is to blame the other and patiently await their apology. We suffer silently, justifying ourselves, while awaiting the other to realize his/her guilt and come back to us, seeking forgiveness and reconciliation. The problem with this approach is that it makes us just as guilty, in terms of respectful relationships, as the one who committed the original offense.
The Dishonesty of Silence
The truth about respectful relationships is that intimacy requires honesty with our partner, and honesty means having the trust to freely share our feelings. For this reason, hiding our feelings from our loved one is as much an act of dishonesty as directly lying to him/her. Such reactions are usually symptoms of a lack of trust and damage our Godly relationships. In most cases, we are not honest because we do not trust him/her to hear us and respond in love.
Practicing Honesty in Respectful Relationships
It is only when we are truly honest with each other, that intimacy can flourish and blossom in our Godly relationships. When we share our feelings, and are heard by the other, intimacy is the direct result. In order to build intimacy, we have to encourage open trust and honest communication in our Godly relationships. This begins by sharing our true feelings with our loved one, trusting that he/she will hear us and respond in love.
Respectful Relationship and Love Reunited
In my case, I had the wisdom to wake up and tell my spouse how I was feeling. I honestly shared my hurt, opening myself to her. In response, my wife heard my feelings and shared her feelings to me. In truth, she did not even realize that she had hurt me. Coming together in honesty, we were able to hear each other, see the situation through each other’s eyes and find healing and intimacy once again.
Building Intimacy Through Honesty
Intimacy with our partner is one of the foundations of Godly relationships, and honest communication between partners, in the context of openness, love and forgiveness is the pathway to true intimacy. For this reason, practicing honesty is one of the keys to building a strong Godly relationship with the loved one in our life.
Husbands and Wives and Becoming One in Marriage
Marriage is a respectful relationship where two people share one household and are joined closely together. For the marriage to be healthy, the couple needs to maintain some personal interests. In her book, How to Live with a Man, (Elwin Street Limited, 2005), Jennifer Worick describes some of the areas couples may need to work on.
Marriage and the Blending of Two Lives
After wedding vows are said and the honeymoon is over, the process of merging lives begins in earnest. This usually involves the following areas:
- career aspirations
The process can be more challenging than expected, especially if one partner has no natural interest in something the other is passionate about.
Allow Freedom to Pursue Hobbies and Friendships in Marriage
When people only concentrate on each other in marriage, respectful relationships will soon become stifled and stale. It is essential that husbands and wives allow each other time to pursue hobbies, interests and friendships. At the same time, it is good to show some interest in what they do and learn the basics of their favorite sport or pastime so they can hold an intelligent conversation about it. The key to success is finding the right balance.
Learn what Marriage Partners Expect and Enjoy
Part of the process of becoming one is learning what a spouse expects in certain areas of marriage and also what they enjoy.
Expectations are often established by experience as a child. The way parents related to each other and the way tasks were handled in the home is absorbed subconsciously and then projected onto a spouse as an expectation. When backgrounds are different in many ways, this can be a point of friction for many married couples. With discussion and an effort to understand each other, most partners can compromise and come up with a new way that suits their personalities and circumstances. The important thing is to remain loving and flexible.
Spouses learn what each other likes by talking and communicating. This applies to every aspect of life and includes food, entertainment, vacations and finances. Marriage is a journey of discovery and even couples that talk freely will find it takes a lifetime to fully understand their partner. If the process is treated as an adventure, it can be exciting and fulfilling.
Marriage is a process of two people becoming one. A home is shared and couples learn how to live with and understand each other. This is a journey that takes communication and understanding but the results are well worth the effort.