My wife and I celebrate 16 years of marriage on April 24, 2015. It is amazing to think how fast the time is flying. Here are a few things we do to strengthen our family relationship
Prayer works. I believe God hears and responds. If you have a strained relationship, pray. If your relationships are going sour, pray. Do not leave the success of your relationships to chance. God wants to be involved, and to be the center of your marriage, family, friendships. Will you trust Him with your situation?
My wife enjoys talking. I have learned that at the end of the day, she likes to tell me how her hold day went. She often, she does not expect me to solve anything, but to just listen. I often get in trouble when I respond by saying, “My day was fine.” She expects me to explain the facts in more detail. I have learned to look for moments in the day that I can share with her at the end of the day. We tend to discuss everything from family, politics, work, life, and so forth. She does not quite enjoy my sports conversations, though. I believe that good communication keeps any relationship running smoothly.
3. Date nights.
Right before our tenth wedding anniversary, I was invited to do a marriage seminar at a couples’ conference. I was petrified. I did not think I had anything to teach people about marriage. However, as I prepared for the conference, I realized I had learned some important “marriage trade secrets.” One of the points I made was that taking your spouse on dates keeps the romantic fire ablaze. However, I was not doing that. I took my own medicine, and started taking my wife on dates. Most Mondays, we do not go to work, so we drop the children off at school, and then we go to watch a movie, or spend time at the beach. These moments have sustained our marriage.
Most people are too stubborn to ask for forgiveness when they have erred. Others are too stubborn to accept someone else’s pleas for forgiveness. Such stubbornness can lead to bitterness and, eventually, hatred. No relationship can survive bitterness and hatred. I tend to be stubborn. I try to explain myself out of situations, without apologizing. As I get older, I am learning that this invalidates the feelings of others. I am learning it is better to make amends sooner than later. Most times, I end up saying, “Sorry” anyway. Why not say it before I lose much? A successful relationship is one that it is made up of people who know that humans err, and humans need to forgive each other to maintain the relationships.
5. Life together.
A few years ago, I was running on fumes. I was emotionally tired. Yet, I took pride in showing people my packed calendar. I boasted about the vacations I never took. My pride and identity was in my work. I ended up in the emergency room. The doctor prescribed rest, among other things! Since then, every January, my wife and I plan our four weeks of vacation. We purchased a camper. Two weeks out of the year, we go camping, as a family. We take all our vacations together. I believe our relationships will continue to grow stronger as we spend quality time together. I know many couples who take vacations separately. There are some couples or families that dread spending one or two holidays together, as they always end up fighting. I am grateful for my relationships.