The quality of our relationships will to a very great extent determine our quality of life! How fulfilled and happy we are in life is determined mainly by how fulfilled and happy we are in our relationships.

God created man (and woman) to be in relationships with Him and with a significant other and He placed them in a universe where everything exists in relation to something else! God Himself exists within the Trinity - a mysterious relationship - but the fact that our God is a Relational God makes Him unique! Each one of us was created with a deep need to be understood and loved by at least one other person.

We all know history's course of events after the fall. Relationships between God and man and man and woman were broken. From that point up to Christ's crucifixion, resurrection, ascension and right to the end of the Bible, God's plan was the RESTORATION of RELATIONSHIPS - our relationships with Him as well as our human relationships so that we could experience life to the fullest and bring Him pleasure.

It is sad that we often loose sight of these facts with the result that we become so busy 'living life' and surviving that we push aside the most important aspect of our existence. We invest a lot of money and time in the financial markets and other activities while we omit investing in our marriage and family relationships!

How do you develop your marriage relationships?

* At the core of a fulfilling marriage relationship lies unselfish love which leads to positive and edifying communication.

* Meaningful communication is impossible if we don't spend quality time together (quality time = quantity time). This is true for both marriage and parenting.

* Meaningful communication requires UNDERSTANDING. Understanding comes as we start dropping our masks and being open with our partners - this can only take place when there is unconditional acceptance of each other!

* To understand one another we have to learn how to listen without the filters of prejudice and preconceived notions. "Because I love you I want to hear your truth".

* It is also important to talk in such a way that our listeners will be able to hear a clear, constructive message. "Because I love you I want to tell you my truth" Always ask yourself the question, "Will what I want to say build or break the relationship?"

*Without mutual forgiveness when we mess up and reverse the order of James' admonition "to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry" (James 1:19), relationships cannot function properly. Ruth Graham, Billy's wife said "a good marriage is a union of two forgivers".

A mutually fulfilling marriage is possible if we keep the above mentioned in mind and if we are serious about our commitment towards each other. Erase the "D"-word - DIVORCE - from your vocabulary! Remember - 'quitting is a long-term solution to a short-term problem".

No relationship can flourish if there is fear that either one of the partners will consider leaving the other if things get tough. It is only when there is trust that there can be openness. It is only when we are open with each other that we can grow in intimacy.

Because our God is concerned about our relationships He did not leave us to struggle on our own. Through Jesus Christ He not only made it possible for us to have an intimate relationship with Him, but He also gave us His Spirit to empower us to act differently and to experience fulfilling relationships in our marriages and families!
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