December 9, 2023

Keys to a Successful Relationship and/or Marriage

Prior to getting married, Julie and I attended a session of pre-marital counseling.  I am ashamed to say neither of us remembers much from that time.  I think there was the “which animal do you see the other as” type of question.  Julie saw me as a dog – loyal, best friend and happy and I seem to remember seeing her as a cat – quiet, cuddly and having a mind of her own.  Although we don’t recall as much as we would like from that session, we did learn some key words and phrases that stuck.

The keys to a Successful Relationship, Marriage or Friendship lay in 5 words or phrases.  Julie and I do remember them today like we heard them yesterday.  We have taken time to practice this throughout our marriage.  These principles are now being extended to our children and I currently teach them to the couples I see in my private practice.  They are:

1)     Please – The word please automatically expresses appreciation, respect, and moves toward an attitude of gratitude.

2)     Thank You – Thank you is important in all aspects of the relationship.  In a wonderful way it shows that you do not take each other for granted.

3)     I’m Sorry – When you have wronged or hurt them saying “I’m sorry” gives way to healing and forgiveness.

4)     I Forgive You – Forgiveness allows one to “let go” without having to forget.  Un-forgiveness gives way to bitterness.  Bitterness gives way to the resentment that not only affects the relationship with whom we have not forgiven, but spills over into other relationships as well. (L. Smedes, The Art of Forgiving)

5)     I Love You – Often times we assume that the people we love already know that we love them.  To hear “I love you” said aloud is the confirmation behind our actions of love.

Going forward, how will you treat your loved one, friend or colleague?