Showing Admiration and Appreciation Allows Us to Thrive in Marriage
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I love asking older couples about their relationships, what has worked, what didn't, what created conflict, and what bound them together over a lifetime. I haven't encountered a single story of a perfect marriage; instead, I hear stories about struggles, addiction, infidelity, loss of children, bankruptcy, depression, mental illness, physical illness—you name it, some of these couples have walked through it.
No one has told me that marriage is easy. In fact, several older couples have told me that walking out of a marriage is sometimes the easier option. And yet, they smile at me with a bit of a twinkle in their eye and remind me that sometimes the best stuff in life is closely tied to the hard stuff in life.
Ultimately, I observe these couples to have a strong admiration and appreciation for each other. These elements, just like the relational building blocks of faith, trust, and respect, can help set the tone for a healthy marriage that endures.
Consider how we react when a friend does something kind for us; we often show appreciation for their actions. We admire our friends for who God has created them to be. Sometimes it's actually our admiration that draws us together in friendship. The same applies to a healthy marriage; when our relationship is built up by faith, friendship, and respect, we tend to admire our spouses and appreciate who they are and what they bring to the relationship.
A friend who is appreciated and admired thrives in friendship. Similarly, a husband or wife who is appreciated and admired can thrive in their marriage. Today, if you're noticing that things feel off in your marriage, perhaps take some time with your spouse and do a little "friendship check-in." Ask yourselves, "In what ways can we treat each other with mutual respect, show each other admiration and appreciation, and are we building our relationship on a foundation of faith?" These seemingly small questions might just be the bedrock for a strong marriage that lasts a lifetime.
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