5 Keys to a Thriving Relationship

Patience, trust and commitment to truth will help keep your love strong, even during tough times.

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- Posted on Feb 16, 2021

A happy couple embracing; Getty Images

Recently, my wife and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary. I have come to realize the old maxim is true, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” Although this year's anniversary plans had to be drastically altered, we were grateful to have each other, as we experienced the momentous occasion of becoming parents during a pandemic. While no one could have predicted this swift interruption to our normalcy, we are all learning how to ride the waves of this new journey, trusting in God despite it all.

It is during these turbulent times that I have become anchored in a passage of scripture written by the Apostle Paul. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 he wrote: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs."

Growing up, I’ve heard these words on all kinds of occasions—particularly weddings—but they struck me differently being quarantined at home during the pandemic.

What does "not keeping a record of wrong" look like when you and your spouse are locked inside 24/7, seven days a week without much respite or recreation? How do we deal with one another during a global crisis with no end in sight? What are some best practices and ways to create “space” for each other when everything appears to be falling apart?

While I don’t have all the answers to these questions, I do believe it’s important to begin with a renewed sense of commitment.

In a world of counterfeit relationships, and superficial friendships, commitment has become a word many have altogether abandoned. However, my wife and I made several simple commitments that have guided us during this season and will continue to be a foundation for our marriage and our lives.

First, we have always committed to truth. For us, the Word of God is the guiding truth in our home and it alone shapes our decisions, behaviors and treatment of each other. We have committed to a Christ-centered relationship where we honor each other and don’t shy away from sharing our vulnerabilities, disappointments, and frustrations.

Secondly, we commit to transparency. From the first day we met until this very moment, my wife and I talk about anything and everything! Nothing is off-limits in our home. This has brought much peace into our hearts, as we share life’s highs and lows.

Third, we commit to trusting each other. We have decided that in our relationship, there is trust in thought, word and deed. My wife was the first young lady I met who didn’t have her phone locked when we went on dates. We believe that trust is sacred, and in a culture of chaos, loyalty matters.

Fourthly, we made an intentional commitment to stay united while being tested. This one was major! All of us have been tested this year. Since we’ve been together, we have lost relatives, lost money—and everything in between. However, we resolved that it would always be us versus a problem and never us as the problem. This resilience has been critical this year.

Finally, we have committed to transformation. Slowly, we began to realize that we aren’t the same people we were a year ago or even when we first met. During the pandemic, my wife became a mother, earned a graduate degree and launched a business. I am also managing multiple things. Still we’re committed to the process of learning, unlearning—and re-learning things about each other at every critical juncture in our journey. I have discovered that growth is intentional. It requires a commitment to lifelong learning. For example, we recently decided to binge-watch a show that we both can enjoy every night; this increases our desire to simply hang out and share a much-needed laugh. In fact, we never go a day without sharing a heartfelt laugh no matter how difficult the day may have been.

We have resolved that this is a partnership and not a battleship.  In times like these, it is the patience of love that has enabled us to move from surviving to thriving.

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