A lot of young people think that romance is enough to see their relationships through life’s struggles. Well, that would be an ideal concept if only the world works that way.
Promise rings for him and her are now a thing, symbolizing their dedication and commitment to one another. Wedding proposals are captured and posted on social media for the whole world to see. These are romantic and inspiring, but several studies suggest that 20% of couples divorce within the first five years. This number goes up by 12% within a decade. The current divorce rate in the U.S. is somewhere between 40 to 50%. With all this fixation on romance and love, why are we still getting these numbers? What makes a strong and meaningful marriage? There is plenty of material out there that talks about building happy marriages, but what does it take to stay together when things are not “happy” anymore?
Love and Respect: The Crazy Cycle
In the book, Love and Respect, by Dr. Eggerichs, he talks about how marriage is a give-and-take relationship giving her the love she desires and him the respect he needs. It is a vicious losing cycle when done wrong, but can be delightfully blissful when done right.
The man who is respected by his wife reciprocates with love and tenderness. The woman who feels loved by her husband tends to respect him and his leadership because she trusts him. Now, when a husband fails to pay attention to his woman and gives her the love she needs, the woman feels taken for granted and ends up being needy and embittered.
If the woman is embittered, she fails to give her man the respect he desires thinking no man who takes her for granted deserves her respect. Again, it’s a vicious losing cycle. For the men reading this, note that respect cannot be demanded. If you have that mindset then you’re in for a disappointment. It is not drawn through coercion or intimidation. It is earned the hard way.
Treat your wife with the respect you expect to get. Make sure to let her know and feel how valued, treasured, and loved she is. Tell her you love her. Show it to her. Serve at home. Provide loving leadership. Always keep your promises. Build your dreams together but help her achieve her’s, too. It’s small things like these that matter to her.
For the ladies, be your man’s number one cheerleader. Always be there to support him especially when he’s weak, but is too proud to admit it. Don’t complain about him to your friends. Learn to pick your battles and don’t sweat the small stuff. Tell him how strong he is as a person and that you appreciate all his hard work. Go easy with the things you say. Plan your future with him as he builds and establishes himself as a person. These things communicate to him that you believe in him and that’s the most important thing to him.
While this concept involves plenty of generalizations, the truths provided by this over-arching idea is timeless and mostly practical. Marriage is never easy, but if both are willing to work hard and build it right, it’s all worth it.