Marriage is not something to enter into without serious consideration. A marriage needs to be cultivated and tendered from the ground up if you want it to last a lifetime. A marriage needs a strong foundation built on love and respect. These two elements will not only help your marriage grow, but provide a lasting foundation.
Start with Love-
The seeds to a lasting and strong marriage start with love. If love is not the roots of your marriage, then the foundation on which it is built can disintegrate. Marriages should not be built on mutual attraction alone, but four love “seeds” that will insure a strong, healthy beginning and an everlasting foundation.
- Listen: Listening is one of the most difficult communication skills in a marriage. Everyone wants to talk, but not everyone wants to listen. A strong marriage has to be built on a strong foundation and without the ability to listen to your spouse, your marriage will fail. In a marriage, there are two people with emotionally charged feelings and usually one person always thinks they are right. In a healthy marriage built on love, both of you cannot be right, but that does not mean you cannot voice an opinion. However, the key to voicing your opinion is listening to what your spouse has to say. If you do not listen, then communication fails and if communication fails, the marriage fails. To grow your marriage from the ground up with love, put on your listening ears. Don't just hear what you spouse says, but listen to what your spouse is trying to communicate. If you learn to really listen, then you plant the seeds of love.
- Overcome: Overcoming obstacles throughout your marriage will be a challenge, but for your marriage to keep a strong foundation built with the seeds of love, you have to try to get past any obstacles that puts your marriage at risk. A lot of marriages are at risk because of the foundation, but yours does not have to be one of them. When a problem arises, handle then, not later. If you let s problem simmer, then your marriage will start to crumble. You must learn to overcome obstacles instead of sweeping them under the proverbial rug. The challenge is tough, but with patience, practice, and persistence, any obstacle your marriage faces can be overcome. If you learn to overcome obstacles, then love will grow into something lasting.
- Value: For a marriage to be built on a strong foundation, you must value your spouses opinion as well as your spouse. When you discard or disrespect your spouse, you are not showing love. Love is what begins your marriage and when you value your spouse, the foundation of your marriage grows strong. To grow your marriage from the ground up with love, value your spouse. Don't treat your spouse with dishonor or disrespect, but value what your spouse has to say and most importantly, for there to be a strong foundation, value your spouse. Show your spouse how much you love them by valuing them as a person not as an object. If you learn to value your spouse, then the seeds of love will grow.
- Encourage: The last seed of love is encouragement. Encouraging your spouse everyday not only builds them up, but helps you grow in the marriage. Little things you say or do matter when your spouse is discouraged. You don't have to buy a dozen roses or cook a fancy dinner, just be there when things go wrong or your spouse is having a bad day. Marriage is all about encouragement. Encouragement helps keep the foundation strong and healthy. All your spouse wants is a kind word or a loving gesture when they feel stressed out or hurt. If you learn to encourage your spouse, then the seeds of love your planted will continue to flourish.
Finish with Respect-
When you plant the seeds of love at the start of your marriage, then you have to finish with respect. If there is no respect in your marriage, then there is no love. Marriages must include these seven respect “seeds” in order to continue to flourish and survive.
- Realize: In a marriage, you have to realize that there are two people. A marriage cannot be one-sided. When you grow your foundation in love, you realize it isn't just you anymore. The things you did before you got married should not be part of the marriage. You have to realize for a marriage to survive, old habits have to die. Old habits are like weeds that grow between the cracks of a strong foundation, they will destroy it. Realizing if you want your marriage to grow, old habits have to go will help your marriage flourish and survive. If you don't realize old habits will suffocate your marriage, then there is no respect. When a marriage has no seeds of respect, then it is built on lies. Plant the seeds of respect by realizing it takes effort to make your marriage grow.
- Equip: A marriage has to be equipped with the right tools to help it grow in respect. If you are not equipped to handle to small stuff, then you cannot handle the bigger problems. Growing a marriage from the ground up takes more than just the right “seeds”, it takes the right tools. There are three tools every marriage needs to help it grow: patience, time, and cooperation. When a marriage is brand new, patience is a much needed tool to help till the soil. If your are impatient with your spouse, feelings get hurt and marriages suffer. Sometimes it may be difficult to have patience, but this tool will help grow your marriage into a strong foundation that will last. The best way to use patience to to start with the little things. Little things don't matter in a marriage if you use patience to be understanding. Once you master the little things, patience will come easy when bigger problems arise. Use patience as a tool to help build the foundation of respect in your marriage, not destroy it.
- Sacrifice: In all marriages there must be sacrifice. It is not easy to give up something, but you must in order for your marriage to survive. When you get married, you give up being single. This is a huge sacrifice because you are used to having or doing things your way. However, you made a sacrifice to be committed to another person. In your marriage, you sacrifice a part of yourself daily, whether it is working to take care of your family or taking care of a sick spouse. Regardless of what you had before, you have to make sacrifices to grow respect in your marriage.
- Patience: Patience is one the most important respect “seeds” of marriage. If you don't have patience,then you don't have a strong foundation. In a marriage you cannot be quick to judge or quick to anger. Be patience and love will grow. Listen to your spouse before judging their actions. It is easier to get angry than be understanding. If you practice patience, then you can turn anger away. Look into the heart of your spouse before judging their actions. If you look deep into the heart of your spouse, you will find love. The love you have for your spouse will help your patience grow. Learn from your spouse before judging their actions. If your spouse practices patience, then you can too. Patience is how you earn respect and give respect. It is what makes your marriage strong.
- Trust: When trust is missing from your marriage so is respect. A marriage has to be built on mutual trust. If one person does not trust the other, then the marriage cannot grow and flourish. Trust is not easy to gain, but it must be earned. Always be open and honest with your spouse. Never lie or disrespect your spouse. Trust does not have to be planted and forgotten. If you want trust, give trust. If you want respect, give respect. Trusting your spouse is how your marriage will grow from the ground up. It takes trust to build a strong foundation filled with respect.
- Communicate: Communication is another important “seed” of respect in a marriage. If there is no open communication, then there is no respect. If there is no respect, then there cannot be a strong foundation. Listen to your spouse, not just hear. Talk to your spouse, not just speak. Be there for your spouse, not just pretend. Listening, talking, and being there are important “seeds' of communication which will help grow respect and a strong foundation for the marriage.
- Enjoy: Enjoy everyday together. This helps continue to build the foundation of your marriage. It also helps build respect for each other. If you spend time enjoying each others company, you discover new things about your spouse. Take the time to ask about their day. Take a walk together. It does not matter what you do, but how you do it. Make an effort to enjoy each other so you can respect each other.
Love and respect will help grow your marriage from the ground up, but it takes the “seeds” and “tools” to help it flourish. A strong marriage has to have love where you listen to each other, overcome obstacles, value each other, and encourage one another everyday. A growing marriage has to have respect where you realize there is more than one person in the marriage, be equipped with the right tools to help your marriage grow, make sacrifices, practice patience daily, enjoy each others company, communicate by listening, talking, and being there, and trusting each other no matter the circumstance