Shandra Lee. With Heart Wide Open. A Miracle In The Making.

7 essentials for building a great relationship

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“Much of life involves routine. If you’re still interested in each other while standing in line together at the post office, then you’ve got a good thing.” I’ve recently found myself in uncharted, unexpected territory….dating….seriously. By now, I’ve usually long since moved on (or the ‘he’ moves on just as quickly when he discovers my “old fashioned” values & Faith) , but here we are 9 months in and this man is still here. Who knew!? Just to be clear, in case his family, or mine, is reading ;), stay calm-we haven’t talked marriage, we ARE having fun getting to know each other as new creations- in the right place at the right time.

We’ve had very different lives, lots of happiness, hopes mingled with the loss and hurts of Life. Until recently we each hauled around a lot of mutual baggage. I’ll tell you more about this and him, soon. As is God’s gracious way, the questions we wrestle with (ok, I, Shandra, tortures herself with) HE drops in our laps a few days later. Perhaps you have relational wrestlings- er- wonderings, too? “Many situations arise where the path forward isn’t clear and couples need to communicate to figure things out.” Pray together & communicate…repeat. The best advice ever. SLWH

The Foundational Traits of Every Great Couple By Marcus Brotherton June 23, 2015

Marcus Brotherton

“When I was single, I couldn’t imagine a prospective spouse with big old spindly second toes.

Before you laugh, take a good look at your own list of non-negotiables.

Today, after 17 years of marriage, I could care less about half the items that once seemed so important.

If you’re looking for a marriage partner, then consider these foundational traits of great couples:

Healthy Communication

Talking is one of the most important activities spouses ever do. Many situations arise where the path forward isn’t clear, and spouses need to communicate to figure things out.

You don’t need be fabulous conversationalists. You just need to be able to wrestle through issues together honestly and come to solutions.

Much of life involves routine. If you’re still interested in each other while standing in line together at the post office, then you’ve got a good thing.

Part of communication is “fielding” your marriage partner. That’s baseball imagery meaning you catch and handle anything that comes your direction. Say one person is highly extroverted and talks all day long—the other person needs to learn to handle this communication style without being worn out.

Or perhaps one spouse likes talking about deep subjects. The other spouse doesn’t need to be the same, but must learn to field this.

The Same Spiritual Track

You want to be “equally yoked” (2 Corinthians 6:14).

Mixed marriages sometimes work, but it’s surprising how many areas of life it spirituality affects: Holidays. Raising children. Ethical issues. Managing stress. Choosing entertainment. Whether and where to attend church. What books you read. How your character develops over time.

When a married couple isn’t on the same spiritual wavelength, it’s hard for each person to share what’s important at the core.

A Basis of Genuine Friendship

Can you spend a day together and not be annoyed with each other at the end?

Before marriage, plan a strategic date doing something routine and unexciting. Mail a package together. Shop for deodorant. Do dishes. Why?

Because it’s easy to go on exciting dates: concerts, movies, roller coasters. But if you only have times of excitement, then it’s too easy to be enamored with the activity rather than the person.

Much of life involves routine. If you’re still interested in each other while standing in line together at the post office, then you’ve got a good thing.

Mutual Understanding

Any person contributes to a tone in an environment. You want to understand the tone set by your future spouse.

Maybe the person you’re dating is bookish and introverted and loves staying home nights or going for long wilderness walks. That tone will affect everything from career to parenting styles to the home atmosphere to where you vacation together.

Or maybe your prospective spouse is driven, always running, intense, a tone some people love. Others don’t.

You and your spouse don’t need to have an identical tone. My wife was raised with Texas and California in her roots. Her family of origin was demonstrative in everything—from how they expressed affection to how they disagreed.

I was raised with reserved, polite, apologizing Canada in my roots. We kept our emotions to ourselves, thank you very much.

We needed to work out issues of tone together.

Enduring Physical Attraction

Sometimes people seek the feeling of electricity in a potential spouse. Or they want the best looking person in the room. But neither is important over the long haul.

If you always expect your spouse to be the most attractive person in sight, then that puts a lot of stress on you both. Plus, after you’re married, others will come into your life who appear attractive to you or your spouse, and you’ll both want to be able to handle those feelings without damaging your marriage.

Physical attraction comes and goes. It can change with aging, accidents or disease. If your spouse becomes wrinkled (expect it), blemished, heavier or even disfigured as time goes on, then you still want to be in love and committed to that person. Physical attraction is on the list, but it must be held loosely.

If you idealize a specific build, height, hair color or body type, then rethink what you’re actually looking for.

Alignment in Character and Integrity

Sometimes, young women are attracted to “bad boys.” Sometimes young men are attracted to “wild girls.”

Dating a dangerous person might prove fun for a while (or not). But ask yourself, is this really the person I want to be with forever?

If you always expect your spouse to be the most attractive person in sight, then that puts a lot of stress on you both.

What you want in a marriage partner is a person of integrity, compassion, kindness and hope.

Watch how the person you date interacts with others. Is she rude to the checkout clerk? Does he lie? Is she consistently angry? Does he snap at you or put you down?

A Willingness to Commit

When you look at the person you’re dating, can see yourselves married? Are you satisfied and content with this picture?

Sometimes, satisfaction springs from a definite decision. Sometimes, it’s a feeling that develops in your gut.

I dated a young woman in my twenties who added up great on paper, but I always seemed to be talking myself into the relationship. We eventually broke up. I didn’t have the will to commit to her, and I knew she deserved that in a marriage partner.

When it came to dating the woman who became my wife, I never needed to talk myself into the decision. I had the will to commit to her almost instantly.

She, however, needed to wrestle through whether to marry me, and it took two years. When she did come to the decision, it was real, deep and unwavering.

That’s OK. Sometimes a person will become attracted to another person at a slower pace. The attraction is strong, it just takes longer to build.” Mark Batterson

If you’d like a chuckle on today’s dating scene hop over here:

The Social Scene

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