Type the word ‘love’ into your Google search engine, and you will find a whopping 4,770,000,000 results appearing (that’s four billion, seven hundred and seventy million for those who are unsure … lol). We are crazy about love. There are more TV shows than ever before, dedicated to the theme of love and relationships: How to get in one, out of one, find the special one, and be the right one!
It isn’t just the TV shows about love that we devour; we love the songs, too. Romantic songs and songs about relationships can move us to tears (whether of joy or sadness), and cause us to reminisce about what is or has been. One of the top selling songs of all time was Whitney Houston’s hit, ‘I Will Always Love You’. It spent 14 weeks at number one on the US Billboard charts. But our ability to ‘always love’ that special person doesn’t seem to have as much staying power in everyday life as it does in the songs.
We may be intoxicated by the notion of love, and the concept of relationships is an ever-desirable thing to attain, but the divorce and separation statistics are singing quite a different tune. In 2013, 42% of marriages ended in divorce (ONS, 2013) and 66% divorces were filed by the wives (men, take note). Whilst there has been a slight decline in the last two years, it still remains a fairly constant statistic of women who are doing the filing.
I personally come from a family that is peppered with separation and divorce. So I am no stranger to these statistics, and yet they still feel heavy and make me feel troubled. Every time I hear of yet another separation or breakdown of a long-term relationship, I am curious about the ‘why’ and ‘how’. Why does it start off so well and how does ‘irrevocable breakdown’ occur?
We live in distinctly controversial times when a phrase has been coined for a first marriage that lasts less than five years and has produced no children.
‘Starter marriage’ is that phrase, and this seems to have been accepted wholesale as a modern phenomenon. Interesting again is the fact that, according to research, second marriages have a higher rate of success than first-time marriages (Benson, 2013).
As an alternative to marriage, people in their droves are opting for co-habitation as a model for long-term relationships. In 2012, 5.9 million people were co-habiting in the UK (double the1996 figure). This unprecedented increase makes cohabitation the fastest growing family type in the UK. So, totally contrary to Beyoncé’s floor-filler, some of you ladies are stating that he doesn’t have to put a ring on it after all. #isthiscrazyinlove?
What does it take, then, to love – truly, madly and deeply?
Lack of communication is cited as the number one cause of marital/relationship breakdown. As a trainer in public speaking, I am well aware of the data that shows that more is conveyed non-verbally than is even spoken. The Bible tells us that the tongue has the power of life and death in it.
I want to share two brief tips for the wives; for the husbands; for the girlfriends, and for the boyfriends.
- Disrespecting or bad-mouthing your husband is not clever, cool or amusing.
- If you are angry, allow yourself the opportunity to calm down before you broach the issue.
- Listen to your wife. I mean really listen and pay attention.
- Make a concerted effort to look good and stay healthy for your wife.
- Don’t ‘perform’ the role of a wife when he still has you in ‘audition mode’.
- Be honest and share your long-term expectations for the relationship.
- Take the time to work out what qualities you are looking for in a partner.
- Be honest and transparent about your expectations for the relationship.
Love is an intrinsic part of our make-up. It’s the reason everything seems so much better when we are truly, madly and deeply in love. It has been proven that cuddling actually releases natural painkillers into the body, known as oxytocin.
Love is the means by which we connect and relate to others. Did you know that two people in love, when they gaze into each other’s eyes, cause their heartbeats to actually synchronise!!!
There is no greater love than God’s. The beginning, the middle and the end of Him is all love. Let us lean more on His model, and endeavour to love each other – truly, madly and deeply for eternity.
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