North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose 

    Between your busy schedule, “to-do” lists, and friends requesting time, it’s easy for your closest relationships to be put on the back burner. It’s unfortunate, because so much is riding on the strength of your support network. When a spouse and children fill in the gaps to help you accomplish your many tasks, spending quality time with them should be a top priority. In fact, this priority should be second only to your time spent alone with God.    In all my 20 years of counseling couples, I’ve discovered that there’s no “magic formula” or “one-size-fits-all” for making a relationship work. Different circumstances and personality differences require very specific characteristics for each relationship to succeed over time.

    Consider the following poem and the reality of relationships:

“They say a wife and husband,

Bit by bit,

Can rear between themselves a mighty wall,

So thick they cannot speak with ease through it,

Nor can they see across it, it stands so tall.

Its nearness frightens them, but each alone

Is powerless to tear its bulk away; and each

Dejected wishes he had known

For such a wall, some magic thing to say.

So let us build with master art, my dear,

A bridge of love between your life and mine,

A bridge of tenderness, and very near,

A bridge of understanding, strong and fine,

Till we have formed so many lovely ties,

There never will be room for walls to rise.

    There are some traits each relationship should not go without. And a good assessment of your current relationship, whether you’re married or not, can help you improve on it. I believe all relationships, like an automobile, needs to be tuned-up if they’re expected to last. So, with that thought the following 7 characteristics will almost guarantee success to any romantic relationship:

    Be honest with your feelings. Be careful not to mask your true feelings just for the sake of pleasing the other. Once you understand one another’s love language, you can better communicate and share creative and productive ideas with each other. Let one another know what you find romantic and play off it.

    Laugh often and laugh together. Playing together can be just as important as working together. Learn to laugh and have fun as much as you can and as much as your daily schedule permits.

    Set realistic expectations about your partner. You need to be realistic about what defines your relationship, but you need to be realistic with romance too. Otherwise, you’ll be disappointed when those expectations aren’t met. Realize romantic gestures don’t have to be all the time, but need to be frequent enough to keep each other satisfied. If you want higher expectations, set them together and stop comparing yourself to other couples.

    Express and voice appreciation. It’s in our human nature to crave appreciation. Even the smallest amount can go a long way. A wife once said, “My husband doesn’t have to be the best at anything, but I sure want him to appreciate me!” Recognize when they try and reward the effort.

    Set aside one-on-one time for each other; when you and your partner don’t spend enough quality time with one another, it’s only natural that you will grow apart in time. Spend time sharing your thoughts, ideas, and activities in a way that makes you both happy.

    Understand that love can be expressed in different ways. Everyone has a unique way of showing their love. The key is understanding what that expression looks like. Once you understand one another’s love language, you will better understand each other’s perspective.

    Don’t forget to say, “I love you.” Although it’s used often, when sincere, it’s very effective and resets or reinforces the love meter. Tell each other how much you mean to one another in order to feel closer and bring out your romantic sides.

    To summarize, make the most of the simple, everyday moments with your love ones, especially your spouse. Giving them the gift of your time will ignite their passion and in-turn will get your motor-running because they’ll want to love you with appreciation and thanks.

• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s a teacher, U.S. Army Chaplain, and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York Community. His most recent book is titled: “How the Race Was Won: A Coming of Age Story About Running”. He can be reached by email:



Posted by on Feb 14 2016. Filed under Church News, Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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