As a wife whose marriage is broken by infidelity, I oftentimes find myself wondering how marriages last. Is there ever a criteria or a standard in loving, in managing lasting relationships?
There are times when I observe couples and try to understand how they could make things work despite the differences and the struggles. Even as I try to create a checklist in my mind, I cannot arrive at a standard list of what a relationship needs to last.
Is it about feeling in love all the time?
We know so well that feelings change. One day, you find yourself madly in love and then one day, you lose that spark. We should be reminded that it in case our feelings towards our partner change, it is more on deciding to act in love as a result of staying true to your commitment, and feelings will, hopefully, change.
Is it the amount of effort you pour into a relationship?
There are many people who work really hard and even devote their lives to their partners and still, at one point, they find their relationship ruined. Of course efforts matter. But who can say that the more effort you give, the longer the relationship will last?
Is it the length of time you spend together before marriage?
There are these short courtship durations whose relationships become stronger after marriage. I have also known of many who have been in serious relationship for five, ten, even twenty years. Many relationships with great foundation of and trust last and gets stronger as years pass, but there are still some that end up in separation. I was in a nine-year relationship with my husband and I have not even seen him since he left. So length may not be the standard.
Is it the looks?
Many of us fall into the trap of choosing based on physical features. I will be a hypocrite if I say looks do not count, but I will also be lying if I say that it should be of utmost priority. This is perhaps one of the reasons why I stopped using those dating apps- I did not want to base my choices of men to date on what is appealing to the eye. We all know looks may change, at times, drastically. I have been a victim of a damaged relationship at a time of an illness that changed how I looked. When I got sick, my whole body got swollen. I looked entirely different and later found my marriage falling apart. I did not end up the choice. Now that I am well, will this make him return? I do not think so. So, it is not the looks; it should never be the looks.
Is it enough that you are a Christian?
I have known so well many who have been going to Church and reading the bible but commit adultery or other things that stain trust. Perhaps their faith and life in Christ are not it their fullest yet to be able to apply Jesus’ relationship principles. But then, who are we to judge?
So, is there ever a standard or a measure for a strong, lasting love?
For me, with all the joys and pains in loving, I would say that it is the quality of the person that we are, that quality shaped by living with God. If you find yourself in a quality relationship where both you and your partner are of great character, who value love, respect, integrity, and mercy. Then just maybe, you can make things work. If ever things fail, your strong character and faith in the Lord will enable you to stand up, learn, and move on.
Life has its ways of surprising us. These bumps in our relationships may either break us or make us stronger. Remember, that it is the quality of person that we, are as a consequence of our faith and obedience to the Lord that will make us wiser, stronger, and more compassionate in managing lasting relationships or in recovering from any hurt and then deciding to love again.