Two Keys to Staying in Love
Steve and Marissa dated for two years before heading off to college together. They were deeply in love, or thought they were, but as they began to feel the pressure of classes, homework, jobs, and being away from their families, something happened. They started fighting more and found themselves withdrawing from each other. As the months passed, they both began to wonder if maybe they’d made a mistake. Maybe the other person wasn’t right for them after all.
Do you think that’s true—that if people grow apart, they aren’t right for each other? Or do you think it’s possible for two people to be “distracted” by life and start to believe lies about their relationship?
Here are two keys to keeping your focus and staying in love with your partner:
1. Listen to Their Heart
In order for your relationship to grow, you need to give it your time. One of the greatest gifts you can give your loved one is the opportunity to speak from the heart as you listen.
We live in a busy culture, where using time wisely can be an issue. Most of us can’t even sit down with our friends to eat a meal or watch a movie without repeatedly checking our phones. We are distracted.
If you’re having trouble finding time for your significant other, sit down and make time. Be purposeful about it. You could even schedule time with them the way you would schedule time for anything: studying for a test, going to the gym, preparing your presentation for speech class. The point is to spend focused time with them, sharing the deep places of your hearts.
2. Understand What You Are Feeling
Just a few days ago, I was talking with some couples about what can happen when we don’t recognize what we’re feeling. Why are we angry? Why are we disappointed? Why are we thinking bad thoughts about ourselves—or assuming the person we care for is thinking bad things about us? When we realize we’re responding in a negative way, we need to step back and figure out why.
Understanding your emotions can be difficult. Many times we don’t know how we really feel or why we feel that way. I’ve noticed that men especially struggle with this, as they’re often taught from a young age not to share their hearts. They’re told not to cry or be vulnerable, that they need to “man up,” etc. Many women struggle with the same thing, though often in different ways.
Are you dating someone who has trouble expressing their heart? A good conversation has the power to help your significant other determine what is happening and why they feel that way. Pray together beforehand, so the conversation goes well and produces good results.
The Main Thing
The secret here is to allow yourself to be vulnerable—with yourself, with your loved one, and with God. He can help you know what you feel and why, and He will hold your hand as you and your partner keep moving forward.
Be willing to step into deeper understanding with your partner, even if it means being vulnerable, so the two of you can grow closer and more emotionally healthy.
As you do these things, you’ll find it easier to walk in truth. You’ll be better prepared to avoid “false stories” about each other—lies that won’t help you or your relationship with this person you love.