I really like this word picture. It truly explains what it takes (and more) to create a relationship. Let’s begin with the greatest of all of these – “Love”.

There are many types of Love:

Indus – Infatuated, Playful Love. This is the fun-loving, easy-going love.

Storge– Compassionate Love. Caring for another in a friendship kind of love.

Eros– Intimacy, Emotion, and Attraction all in one.

Agape– Unconditional Love. This is the Love that God gives to us. This is the Love He encourages us to show others. This is the Love I strive to have with my Loved ones, my husband and children.

ALL of the descriptive words in the picture above are important.

Here’s a few keys to help give appreciation and value to your marriage relationship.

1. Agape Love

In a marriage it is imperative that you strive to have Agape (unconditional) Love. It is something that sometimes has to be practiced. When the stresses of life swirl around you as a couple you have to sometimes remind yourselves not only that you are “in love’, but that you must practice to be committed to have Unconditional Love.

When being extremely thoughtful in writing my vows to my husband I vowed to him that I would strive to love him unconditionally. We learned about unconditional love and how important it is in our marriage when we took a pre-marriage class. And over three decades later we are still practicing it.

  • Practicing forgiveness is a key element to unconditional love. We should forgive others as we want to be forgiven.
  • Make a vow to one another to practice unconditional love.
  • Prayer and mediation help focus us on learning to love unconditionally.

2. Listen

Wow! The is a HUGE key to a successful relationship with anyone. Sometimes we are so focused on other things or what we want to say (Hark!) that we have a tendency to not listen as well as our spouse would like us to.

This leads to a lot of frustration which can lead to contention in your relationship. When you listen it gives value to your spouse and value to your relationship.

  • Focus on what your spouse is saying. Make an effort not to be distracted.
  • Look in your spouse’s eyes.
  • If you’re on the phone turn down the radio, stop looking at the computer or the tv.

3. Communication

I know you have heard it said before…”Couples need to communicate”!

The reason why all marriage counselors and marriage books promote communication is because it is a BIG stress in a marriage relationship when the couples are not communicating and are not on the same page. A lot of couples are not even in the same book. Communication and listening go hand in hand.

  • Focus on what your spouse is saying.
  • Try to communicate in a calm matter, even when the situation you are communicating about is stressful.
  • Honor and Value your spouse and truly listen to what they are trying to communicate.
  • Ask questions if need be…However, Practice NOT interrupting.

4. Encouragement

This one is my favorites. Using encouraging words, phrases, fist bumps and high fives go a long way.

When encouraging your spouse focus on the type of encouragement that he or she wants to receive. In other words, study your spouse’s likes and dislikes; watch how and why they encourage others. When we are encouraged we are more motivated to repeat the behavior we were encouraged for.

As an author and a speaker, my husband knows that I enjoy it when he encourages me. There have been many times he has been my Ra-Ra Man to help motivate me to live out my purpose.

  • Remember “encourage” means to “inspire courage”, leading to LOTS OF POSITIVE STUFF!
  • Communicate LOVE though kind words. Try saying “I LOVE YOU” with an exclamation point!
  • Encourage words through ACTIONS. Think about something that will truly bless you spouse and do it often.

These are just a drop in the bucket full of suggestions for the marriage relationship. For more tips on securing your relationship, see my blog on Passion and Romance.