Don’t you just hate it when you come home and your partner starts out the conversation with a complaint instead of a kiss or hug? How often do the comments sound like a political debate where you’re the opponent catching the mud the other one is slinging?
Perhaps you’d just like to turn down the volume on that person? If any of these ring true for you, read on.
To explore partner relationships, we need to start with the way we’re made. God did it. In Mark 10:6-9, ESV, Jesus says: “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”” So God designed humans for a committed relationship between male and female partners that would be for life – not until some person decides it should end.
What do we do with that information? We work really hard to follow the way we’re designed to be in marriage: committed for life, which every marriage vow promises. Other so called “committed relationships” without that kind of commitment fall short of the glory of God.
God says committed relationships are worth saving! But when the volume gets out of control, new tools are in order. A pastoral counselor is the first place to look, if you have access to one. Otherwise, here’s some tools.
- How to listen: Sit down in a calm place with your partner and take turns talking for about 3 minutes. When the first one finishes, the second reflects back, saying, “I heard you say …” Then let the first one say if the reflection is correct and if not, correct it. Then the second person gets a turn to do the talking, while the first listens and reflects back. Through this exercise, each of you may begin to find out what the other person really has on their mind. More sessions like this develop more understanding.
- How to love: Read the book, “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, taking the test at the end to discover your love language. Then invite your partner to read it. Share what you both found out about your love language. Do the actions for your partner that speak to that person’s love language — often.
When your partner starts to feel loved, then they will have the capacity to love someone else. Your job is not to expect the love back, but to love the other person with all your power. Hopefully, your partner will see the change in you and realize how you would be happier if they loved you according to your love language. When people are heard and loved, they speak in loving tones. Hence, the volume is turned down in the relationship.