Love? Companionship? Sex? Money? Some unmet need?
Maybe it was to start a family. A desire for children (or push for grandchildren) is a common reason a man and woman decide to join in holy matrimony.
Or maybe you desired to create shared experiences so you had someone to share your story with and look back at pictures some day and reminisce about your experiences together.
Regardless of why you got married, one fact remains: you are now in a relationship. Congratulations.
Now might be a good time to understand exactly what that means.
The Value of Relationships
As a differentiating value, Relationships mean a state of connectedness between people. It can also mean association or kinship.
In a marriage, it’s the first part that really matters – connectedness. And connectedness is about relating in a way that increases your influence (for good, not evil).
If you can effectively connect with your spouse, there is a much stronger likelihood that you’ll have a healthy relationship for many years. However, if you feel that you no longer connect very well, I encourage you to read the post Learning to connect with your spouse all over again.
Our ability to connect with our spouse is a critical component to creating a positive and rewarding relationship. And like any other useful skill, it requires continual effort to preserve the relationship.
The Meaning of Preservation
Consider the word preservation. We preserve food, art, film, books, buildings, etc. The purpose of such preservation is to prevent decay, eroding, and those elements that would ultimately destroy what we cherish today.
In many cases, preservation is done simply by duplication (e.g. film industry). The idea is that if you duplicate a movie or a book, you have a backup, and now it’s considered preserved.
In marriage, we often simply duplicate our same old efforts – give flowers on Valentines Day, take our spouse out to dinner on their birthday, and give them socks for Christmas, etc. While somewhat useful, this is not the best way to preserve your marriage.
If relationships are about connectedness, then preserving the connection is what matters. We need to fight the elements that could harm connectedness. This includes preventing the growth of detachment; retarding those things that cause degradation; and inhibiting deterioration of the original.
4 Ways to Preserve Your Relationship
In an effort to help you protect the value of your relationship, here are 4 ways to preserve it.
- Store important memories. Keep a record of positive experiences you and your spouse have had together. This can be done through putting pictures in a photo album, keeping specific items of memorabilia, or scrap booking. Remember to pull these out on occasion to review and reminisce – together.
- Establish regular reviews. Deliberately set aside time on a regular basis to discuss what’s going well, what’s not going well, what you are enjoying most, what you’re not enjoying, what you would like to improve and what you would like to change. In the corporate world, regular reviews have proven to be an effective way to preserve happy employees. This tool works equally well in other types of relationships, including marriage.
- Add some salt, sugar or spice. Just as salt (to draw out moisture) and sugar (to crystalize) are two popular methods in preserving foods, so are physical touch and intimacy an important part of preserving a marriage. If things are getting a bit boring, spice it up and try something different. Consider going on a trip, or starting a new activity or venture together.
- Focus on others. There is no shortage of people in need or causes waiting for your support. Sometimes the best way to preserve a relationship is give it a new focus. Apply your combined energies to a worthy cause, something you and your spouse can support 100%. Not only will you make a difference in the lives of others, you just might leave a legacy you can both be proud of.
What other ways can help preserve the relationship with your spouse?
How can the value of relationship benefit your marriage?
Today’s value was selected from the “Effectiveness-Influence” category, based on the e-book Developing Your Differentiating Value.