Everyone desires a healthy relationship, but not everyone works towards achieving it. Achieving a healthy relationship is a responsibility that lies on the shoulder of both parties involved. If someone asks you what are the things that can contribute to a strong and fulfilling relationship, you may probably have a lot to say in order to make your point. You can make good points by saying, love each other, build trust, never try to cheat, be honest and so on. However, I have seen men telling me that they have tried all these things out in their relationship and yet things did not work out well. But that’s ok, here are the things that can help you build a strong marital relationship.
IMPROVE YOUR OVERLOOKING.
Good sense makes a man slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offence. Proverbs 19:11 [RSV]
Healthy relationships are not conflict free, but they are conflict resolving. That is, there is no offence free relationship. Any relationship whatsoever, whether parents to children, husband to wife, fiancé to fiancée or whatever, there’s a place of offence. If you try as much as you can, not to offend anybody, people will offend you. While your silence is an answer to somebody, it can be an insult to another person. In your attempt to please two you can end up offending ten. Even when you don’t really mean to, the way you talk can be taken as offensive. Get this right, we live in a world surrounded by people who makes everyday life a bad or good experience. Therefore, you will without doubt be offended especially by what some people choose to do. Therefore, relationship at any level is never a conflict free affair. The only problem is that we fight to win and have points and the desired victory, instead of fighting for solutions. We need to understand that relationship combines different people with different experience, different level of exposure, norms and potentials. Our relationships must go and grow through these differences if we are going to preserve our friendship relationships constantly and continually.
In addition, true love does not exempt offences but it overlooks. Hence, it is one of the ways by which love is tested and proved. You cannot really say how much you love a man until he offends you and you find a place to forgive him and forget it. True love is demonstrated on the ground of forgiveness and overlooking. Even when it hurts so badly, love forgives and overlooks an offence. If you are going to build a strong and enviable relationship, you had better learn to at least overlook and forgive offences. You cannot continue to fuse and fume over every issue. You cannot make a lasting relationship if you kick up a fuss anytime your partner hurts your feelings. Take it or leave it, big issues are not the destroyers of our relationships but little foxes, little mistakes, little excuses, complains, bitterness, anger and resentment.
Let me go back to where we started. It says, “Good sense makes a man slow to anger, but it is his glory to overlook an offence”. Itdid not say that good sense makes a man not to get angry. If I tell you that you should never get angry, you would ever hear that one half-baked truth. It only says apply good sense when you are offended, when you get angry or hurt. Good sense is the application of your discretion when sizzle frizzles in your relationship. That is, your ability to handle issues when things are about to get out of hands. Your sense of judgment, reactions and actions must at least make sense. It is easier to be right and end up being wrong. You must apply your senses and think fast before things grow worse.
I remember when I started my courtship years back. The joy, excitement and the passion at the start of our relationship was hot like fire. You know that during the initial stages of a romantic relationship, there is often more emphasis on emotions – especially those of love, intimacy and passion- rather than the physical union and intimacy. We would always feel like seeing each other daily. We had time for phone calls, text messages, presents, cards, dating and whatever you can think about. We really love each other. However, the first four weeks of our marriage was like hell on earth. Everyday brings different challenges, disagreement and conflicts. I asked myself if I really married the same woman I used to know. Is this not the same woman I called my queen? However, I learnt my lessons by understanding that our differences are the major platforms for disagreement. So, how do I handle this? Otherwise the bend will eventually break. Nevertheless, we were able to handle issues when we realized that some issues are meant to be overlooked.
Trying to slow down sometimes and think of what to do can give you an opportunity to know how to handle issues maturely. Your spouse may see things from another perspective different from yours. But how will you understand his points when you are not careful to observe them. When you are not patient, it does not take eternity to spoil what you have spent your years building. Good sense gives you the ability to control your temper, calm down and decide the proper approach. Good sense makes a man slow to anger, but it is his glory to overlook an offence”. Consider the concluding part of that scripture. It is your glory to overlook an offence. It means, after you have carefully observed the situation at hand, you end up being celebrated for your judgment. You may even realize that it is not an issue that should bring disagreement. Sometimes silence can be the best answer when noise fills the air.
Do you know that building a house is not as costly as maintaining it. Building is the ultimate, but maintenance is immediate, forever and continual. The same is applicable to our relationship. Finding someone you love is not as difficult as keeping what you find. Maintaining relationship is a work on its own. A work in progress. You can manage and build an enviable relationship when you realize that some mistakes, errors, and issues must be overlooked. It may be difficult but it is a task that must be carried out. It can only be difficult when you want to win. That is why you may criticize and blame until your anger begins to burn more and more. To overlook an offence does not make you stupid. It is your glory and respect when you take such steps. It is an honor of a wise man.
In addition, love is an outward expression of an inward impression. The outward expression here is what you sacrifice in order to prove your love to your spouse. The wrong you are able to make right. The mistakes you are able to overlook, the unbearable you are able to bear, and the unacceptable you may likely accept. The inward impression there is your true love that you can never trade for anger, resentment, malice and unforgiveness. Love that cannot be denied because of offences. This love impression is there to convince you that the action that provokes your anger is not intentional. Therefore, you must disregard the mistakes and move on. Overlooking is disregarding an action that displeases your personal opinion and upsets you. Disregard here means to treat the matter as unimportant or unintentional.
Take this for example; your partner is a talking type. While he cracks jokes with you he embarrassed you in the presence of your friends. Do you then react immediately in the public in order to show your displeasure? No. At times, there are opportunities to talk but there is no words and when there are enough to say, there is no time for it. Therefore, you will create time to discuss that issue later. Even when others respond by saying that it is embarrassing, you must shun their opinion and treat it as a joke. Just say, he really didn’t mean it. Learning to disregard faults can preserve the future and build a healthy relationship.
However, true love does not dissimulate your real feelings and enthusiasm. It does not mean you can’t get angry. Remember, you are yourself you cannot be someone else. You cannot hide your reactions and anger you must only control them. Uncontrollable anger will have effect on your relationship. The scripture says, “Disregarding another person’s faults preserves love; telling about them separate close friends”. Proverbs 17:9. This means that it is easier for close friends to separate if there is no disregarding or overlooking in their love life.
How can you do this? Control your temper.
Do you think the bible teaches that we should not get angry? No. It only says …in your anger do not sin. Ephesians 4:26. i.e. If you are angry be sure it is not a sinful anger. Don’t give the devil a foothold in your relationship. A bad temper is not something to be proud of, but to be prayed over. When you blow your top, you just reveal your content says one man. And which of us hasn’t done that and regretted it?
Let me be more sincere here. I am not saying that you have to overlook everything. No. Will a man overlook infidelity, dishonest practices, cheat and maltreatment? No, of course not. That is already beyond boundaries, but such acts must be handled differently, which we may be able to discuss here. But on this aspect of overlooking, note this points.
- Misdirected anger may open doors to an attack on your relationship. The unexpected will always happen but handling requires wisdom.
- Bad temper will make you loose too much. It will becloud your sense of judgment. And if all you have is a hammer in your hand, then every problem looks like a nail to you. Therefore, you are ready to crucify your spouse.
- The greatest sacrifice you can make in your relationship is to forgive. Forgiveness brings peace, strong bond and unity. Always find a place to forgive in your heart.
- Try not to keep issues too long. When things get out of hands, summon courage and come together with your partner to settle it. Don’t delay in settling misunderstanding.
- When you are wrong, don’t be indecisive to apologize. Even when your apology won’t undo the wrong you have done, it will amend the situation. “Sorry” is a five character word, but it has power to amend things when we are ready to make good use of it. Do that when it is necessary. “Sorry” is a universal language that has the power to amend situation. The power only lies in the hand of whoever will make use of it wisely. So, the question is when last have you make good use of it?
- Practice patient, it is an enduring doctor; it will always win and find it way to the top. Learn how to tolerate each other. Be patient with each other, because this is a necessary ingredient and recipe for love spices.
- Take time to study your partner to know what he wants from you. We offend ourselves mostly because we don’t really know what the other guy like or dislike.