Updated: Mar 17
We always hear that love is the foundation of any relationship and without it the relationship will not survive the storm. They are different definition of what love is but there is no simple guideline to teach you exactly how to show love and more importantly how to use love to build your relationship and strengthen your relationship during the bad times.
Language – the words which we use to express ourselves can determine the results we get from an event or conversation. Words are one of the most powerful and impactful things on earth. It can build, empower, strengthen, and motivate while also destroying nations, families, and bring a lot of chaos and years of pain. Our words are usually an expression of how we feel about ourselves, a person, or an event. When your relationship is in a sinking place your words should be thought about carefully and not base on how you feel. If you are feeling anger and resentment towards that person you will have to make a conscious decision to choose your words that reflects kindness, love, and compassion. This is what it means to be mature and being an adult. For example, your spouse may have committed an affair and for whatever reasons you choose to remain in the relationship, however, you are still wounded and in pain. Do not use defamatory words, do not name call, and not use blaming words. Rather than saying “you are so nasty, you never put away your clothes, I am tired of repeating myself” instead you can say “as per our last conversation you promise to start putting your dirty clothes in the laundry, I see that you are trying and I appreciate that, but you are still slipping sometimes by leaving them on the chair”. Your language and your tone show, kindness, compassion, empathy, and love; because even though the event annoys you, you express yourself to the person with maturity. This shows that you are considerate, which translates to love. Another example instead of saying “what stupidness you asking me” you can say “ I don’t like that question it is quite offensive towards me, and you explain how the question is an offense towards you.
When your relationship is on a downhill slope that is when we put on our lens of fear. When we wear the lens of fear, we are interpreting everything and seeing everything from a negative place. The imperfections that you once accepted from your partners now appear as a mountain and/or river and they are hard to accept. You become frustrated, angry, bitter, and resentful and it is hard to see any good. Even when they do something good or something you once like, you will still find a fault with what they do. Daily you feed this negative emotion and give it power over your life and relationship. By refusing to only see the worse in the person during this time will transmit as love to your partner and strengthen the bond between both of you and change the direction of the relationship to up. One strategy I share with clients to combat this phase is every day write down one good thing you like about your spouse or one good thing they did. This forces you to see the good in them which will eventually eradicate the way you view them and removing the lens of fear. Your spouse may not be as verbally expressive as you, instead of calling them a pushover or stupid, focus on their strengths they maybe are a logical thinker and they are good at implementing ideas that will contribute to the well-being of the relationship. Another example, you may ask your spouse to run an errand for you and they did not it. Instead of getting angry and start telling them how forgetful they are, or they do not value you. You can ask them what happen and why weren’t they able to fulfil the errand and accept the answer they give you as face value. Our response to an event or person determines our outcome. When a person knows that you are aware of their weakness and refuse to use it against them but instead focus on their strength and help them to transform their weakness into strength this depicts to them love, care, and compassion which will make the person gravitate towards you more. Also, refuse from advertising their weakness to everyone who will listen to you. This is the worst thing you can do to your relationship!
Proper Correction – We are not perfect creatures we are prone to making mistakes, additionally we were all design differently. When we are not in agreement with our partner most of us allow our emotions to lead. Consciously and unconsciously we want to hurt the person so that they can feel our pain as well. This is the worst approach you can take when you are seeking to build and strengthen your relationship with love. You must put your emotions aside and correct the person in a mature loving manner. Do not correct them amongst other persons, do not use accusing and harsh words when correcting them, do remind them of all the wrong they have done when correcting them, do not go and tell everyone about how the wrong the have done. Remember your response to an event leads to an outcome. If you correct them with love, they will respond positively which will yield to a result that brings harmony and peace in the home. The way to correct someone with love is using a soft and compassionate tone, talk about some of the good things the person has done, talk about the improvements they have made, then let the person know what they did wrong and how it made you feel and things they can do going forward to not repeat what they have done. For example, your spouse stays out late with friends and you really disapprove of it. You can say to them “ I appreciate you and respect you as my spouse, I know that you like hanging out with your friends daily and that is okay, however, I do not like when you come home so late at nights. I would appreciate it if you can come home at an earlier time. This way I can spend some more time with you and feel a bit safer having you around. It really makes me feel safe and uncomfortable when you are out that late." This shows the person that you respect them, especially if it is your husband/boyfriend that you are speaking to, you are respecting the person by making a request and not demanding them or trying to control them. This also shows them self-control that even though you are hurt and upset you can still put your feeling aside and respond in a positive manner. This will increase the positive energy and relationship.
Respect – Respect demonstrates high regard and consideration for someone. It shows that you are paying attention to someone and their emotions matter to you. There are many definitions about respect but there is no guide on how to show respect to someone especially your spouse. You first must respect your spouse a human being, then as a male or female, and as their role as husband or wife in your life. Respecting someone as human means that I understand that you have feelings and emotions and I should treat you with common care and manners. Respecting someone base on their gender means that I acknowledge that you are man or woman, I respect that we are both different people and respond differently to things because we of a different gender. Respecting your spouse means that I know your role in this partnership, I understand that you are not a commodity and I do not own you so I would try and control you or make demands of you but rather make requests. I also understand that we had different upbringings and we both analyze situations differently; and when you interpret something differently from the way I do I will not chastise you or try to make you feel bad about yourself. I also respect you enough to make mistakes, so as not to hinder you from the opportunity of gaining knowledge as a result of the learning curve. For example, your spouse friend wants to borrow $1,000.00, his friend is known to be irresponsible with money and doesn’t keep promises. you do not like to lend money because you grew up learning do not lend money and have also witness persons lending money and never receiving it back. Your husband/wife came from a home where they only see the good in persons and want to lend the money. You strongly disapprove of it and it makes you angry that your spouse is even considering lending the money because you already told him about what you think of this friend and he too also knows that his friend is irresponsible with money. Instead of shouting and degrading your spouse with harsh words, you can tell them; I do not agree with you lending money to Bill because, and you state your reasons why. You can also say if you want to lend the money let him sign a contract. After expressing your concerns your spouse lends Bill the money. Bill refuses to give back the money by the date they both had agreed to. Your husband comes to you frustrated and angry at Bill instead of telling him I told you so and calling him harsh name You can say, I am so sorry but I did warn you, however that is okay that is the past. Before you lend money, next time be very cautious and put some assurance in place to guarantee that you will get back your money. Your approach shows your spouse that you respect him and have love and compassion towards him. Your response also shows that you view him of very high status, and you respect them and their decision. When they came to you feeling bad about a decision you clearly warn them about you didn’t chastise him instead you showed them compassion, understanding, and forgiveness, which translate to respect.
Forgive & Forget
forgiveness is very vital in any relationship. It is an action that is required in any relationship. Most persons tend to separate forgiveness and forgetting. However, they are both one of the same. When you forgive someone, you are saying that I cancel the wrong you have done to me. I give up my resentment and hurt base on what you did to me and I refuse to nurse the pain that I am feeling. I also refuse to talk about what you did to me in a negative light and keep reminding you of how you have hurt me. When you forgive someone, you are telling them that I love you, I know you are imperfect, and I chose to accept you. I know that you have wronged me and cause me pain, but I choose to believe in you and understand that you are imperfect and are willing to try and improve your imperfections. I also understand that you are a different person from me, and you are not a robot where I can program you to act the exact way, I want you to. Forgiveness is one of the greatest acts of love. You forgive someone by letting go of the pain they brought to you, you refuse to nurse the pain of their wrongdoing, when your mind or events reminds you of the hurt the person inflicted on you, you will have to do some self-motivation. Tell yourself that you have forgiven that person, you have let go of the hurt and you understand everyone approaches to events are different and you no longer choose to hold unto this pain. This will strengthen your relationship/marriage and create an unbreakable bond.
Relationships are not perfect, and all partnerships have that time where things seem dark. You must remind yourself why you chose that person and accept that individuals with their flaws. Love can defeat any mountain and remove any obstacles that are hindering the growth of your marriage/relationship. By implementing the ways, I outlined above in your relationship will lead to a great positive direction for your relationship/marriage.