It’s a delicate balance to learn how to exist in harmony within a marriage relationship. I believe every individual enters marriage with a full array of expectations of what that relationship will be like. We might envision nice talks or quality time together, or caring embraces and looking into one another’s eyes. We might think that we will have the help that we need, or that we might be a valuable help to the other and we will have the same goals in mind for our future, our family and our finances. That togetherness looks and feels so different to each person.

But as we journey a little while, we began to realize that the ideal situation that we envision is entirely different from the hopeful expectations, or demands that our spouses have. And of course the greatest problem is that these are never fully understood, expressed, and agreed upon beforehand, and probably most always unstated. The desire still remains, none-the-less to experience true love and meaningful bonds of affection with one another.

What I have come to understand is that we are better when we give love to the other in both major ways and small ways, rather than try to find ways to receive it ourselves. When we don’t look for something in return, we are better off. If the added good measures come to us in some other way, then they are received with much gratitude and amazement, and with humble appreciation, rather than unsatisfied expectations. When we focus on giving extensions of God’s love shown for us to the other person, our needs are miraculously met and our joy full every time.

One of the best ways to keep the healthy boundaries that are needed is to respect the other person wholeheartedly and show the same kindness and courtesy to that individual that you would show to any other special or important person to whom you would want to show honor and appreciation. When we show a genuine warm regard for others, we will give them proper attention and honor, because they are important and what they have to say is important, and we will listen to their ideas, suggestions, or conversation topics without expressing disinterest, insincerity, or rudeness. Love is both patient and accommodating, and is respectfully kind to others—all others! When we do this, we know that we will have done the right thing, and for that we can feel glad and good; making the most of every opportunity to listen with respect.

Prayer: “Father, thank you for the men who are our husbands. Help us, oh God, in every way to listen to them with honor and respect. Help them, oh God, to be filled with your wisdom, grace and courage. Father, we ask that you would fill their mouths and their minds and hearts with divine inspirations and solutions for the things that concern them, us, and our families and households. Help them, oh God, to be filled with the knowledge of your will, and to carry out your good and holy purposes here on this earth, and help us to be supporters of the good work, and co-heirs of your grace and salvation together; and may we both stand before you on the great and glorious day of the Lord and hear well done, thy good and faithful servants, enter into the joys of the Lord forever. We give you thanks, and ask these things in Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Article Written by: Debbie Harper, Ph.D.