Most people (whether they realize it or not) will spend more time researching what new car or pair of shoes to buy than preparing for a lifelong journey with a spouse. Marriage is one of the most important decisions a person being can make, second only to choosing Christ as Lord and Savior. That’s why it’s so important to do your homework when it comes to getting married.

Are You Settling For Less?

When it comes to marriage, it’s not that unlike buying a car in some ways. You can settle for mediocrity, or pay the price for something great.

Value is the key to human drive. We determine the value of something based off the perception of its worth. Another way of saying it is: the value of anything is the amount of life we are willing to exchange for it.

If we don’t value what successful relationships require before we commit, we are playing a dangerous game of Russian Roulette with the future of our lives.

Know Yourself First

Knowing yourself is an important facet of relationships success. We cannot give to someone what we do not possess within ourselves. While the process of learning and understanding is a lifelong journey, there are four foundational pillars that make up the state of our being:

  1. Mental
  2. Emotional
  3. Spiritual
  4. Physical

Our personal awareness of the level of health we possess in each area is vital to our success in life and relationships. The sum of true health and wholeness is the combination of all four areas working together.

Shape Your Growth

With each of the areas listed above, you can either encourage your growth or hinder it. Each pillar is directly connected to the others, so an imbalance in one area will affect the others. A stable, committed, honorable and loving person maintains their overall wholeness as a person. These are the best candidates for serious, long-term relationships.

Here are some tips for focusing on positive growth in each of the four areas of your well-being:

  • Mental wholeness: It is common to build relationships by observing and conforming to social/cultural norms and referring to relationships modeled and observed by us from adolescence. But relying on those experiences alone are rarely enough to sustain lasting relationships; the divorce rates in our country prove that fact. Being ignorant of what it will take to succeed before committing is like walking blind folded through a mine field and hoping you don’t blow up. Be intentional about the relationship you want to achieve. Read books, watch videos or attend to develop relational intelligence. Areas of development can include psychological differences between men and women, romance and intimacy, common need differences, communication and styles, resolving conflict, etc. Make a continual and intentional effort to learn and understand what it takes to develop a strong marriage.
  • Emotional wholeness: How we manage our fear, versus our level of love, determines the quality of connection we experience in our relationships. Fear always creates disconnection and behavior that promote it. Love creates unity, peace and connection. A lot of irrational fear could be avoided by understanding our emotional wiring. Focus your efforts on learning and employing tools that promote love. Emotional wholeness happens when we confront the fears that strangle our love. The key to beating fear is found in the willingness to confront it and refusal to live dominated by it.
  • Spiritual wholeness: Spiritual wholeness is the amount of positive energy versus negative energy within us. What we feast our minds on, and expose our hearts to, sets the tone for our energy. You have probably experienced the intangible effect of this energy. Have you ever been somewhere, standing near a complete stranger, and although they had no outward expression or angry behavior, you felt as though they were angry? Or have you ever been around someone, and just felt like they beamed with life? Fill yourself with positive, life-giving thoughts, words and feelings to increase your positive energy and attract people to you.
  • Physical wholeness: Having a healthy lifestyle produces the necessary energy to stay active, look good and feel good. Most of us are familiar with the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle. We have less energy, feel tired, sick or depressed. A physically healthy lifestyle can lead to happier relationships through a longer life, improved energy and a positive outlook.

The kids that do their homework always ahead of the ones who don’t. Intentionally invest in your personal and relational development and you’ll be better prepared to enjoy lasting love through marriage.

You may also be interested in 3 Warning Signs That Your Significant Other Isn’t Marriage Material

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