Top tips for relationships
While I’m not usually one for adopting cringy introductions – or anything generally cringy for that matter – I wanted to share with you some amazing news. My boyfriend recently asked me to marry him, which now makes him my fiancé!
And since I’ve been flung into a season of preparing and planning for the wedding, I’ve also been doing a lot of reflecting. I’d love to share with you some top relationship tips that we have developed over the years we have been together:
Control kills trust
Owch. Starting out pretty heavy, I’m sorry about that. But it’s so true. A relationship truly flourishes when both people feel like they are free to be themselves.
That means it’s totally ok if he wants to spend time with his friends and doesn’t text you whilst he’s there. And it’s ok that she wants to have a sleepover, and call you tomorrow to catch up. When we realise that real love creates space for freedom, our relationships will be stronger and more emotionally healthy.
If you want to read more about this, I’d recommend Danny Silk’s book and podcasts called ‘Keep Your Love On’.
Celebrate your differences
My fiancé is very different to me, in a good way. He is fun and silly and doesn’t take things too seriously. It’s easy for him to trust God and have faith in the things God has promised us. He reminds me to keep my soul young, and to not grow old too quick. It sounds so mushy, but it’s true!
On the other hand, I am super organised and just have a God-given ability to get stuff done, which often means that I remind him of things he has forgotten.
We have learned that it is totally ok for us to work together as a team and to help one another succeed. It could be easy to become frustrated by his lack of organisation, but I believe God gave me that gift for a reason, and I can bring it to our marriage to enhance our daily lives. Likewise, it would be easy for him to be frustrated with my lack of silliness – and my inclination to sometimes be serious– but he pursues me and shows me that it’s liberating to be silly.
Being different is a gift from God, which means you both bring something valuable to the table which can enhance your relationship.
Commitment is key
Commitment is often discussed in marriage contexts, and rightly so. Commitment is a fundamental pillar in sustaining and enhancing marriages (or so I’m told!), but I’d even argue that commitment starts in the dating stages. It doesn’t just appear out of thin air, it’s something that is given to your boyfriend/girlfriend as a gift. A gift of your time, and a promise to stick by their side even when the going gets tough (trust me, it can be tough sometimes).
Commitment is birthed out of a mutual respect for one another, and I believe this is one of the reasons why my fiancé and I survived three years of dating long distance. When developing commitment in your relationship, start by asking God for direction and clarification about your relationship, and approach commitment –in dating – with the main aim of being faithful, respecting and honouring your boyfriend/girlfriend.
Once we finished sixth form, we travelled across Europe with a bunch of our friends. That was years ago now, but we look back at that time with such fond memories. Sometimes we laugh about the silly things we did with our friends, and all the things we saw. But we treasure those memories, and many other ones we have created over the years.
We love visiting places and seeing new things. Besides, these adventures hold more value in my heart than sitting on the sofa and eating dinner together does… be fun, laugh a lot, be spontaneous, get out there and see something new together!
Pray for each-other
I’ve found that a relationship that’s connected to God is more likely to succeed, than one that’s not connected to God. When we put God first, we are more equipped to serve each-other in love and develop healthy boundaries and freedom. When we know we are truly, wholeheartedly and unconditionally loved by Jesus, we’re able to love the person in-front of us wholeheartedly, with purity and respect.
Prayer is one of the ways we can connect to God together, and it’s an amazing tool for growing closer to God with your boyfriend/girlfriend.
Those are my top five tips to developing a healthy relationship that will succeed!
I am not a relationship expert, I don’t have a counselling degree or experience of guiding couples in this area, but I do have a fiancé and a real relationship that faces ups and downs. I think that pretty much qualifies me to share my wisdom, even though I find that our relationship grows and changes and evolves every day, as we both grow closer to God and our understanding of love develops.