By: Kermit Rowe, Encompass Relationship Facilitator
Time and time again, I sit in the coaching rooms of Encompass Connection Center as one of its relationship facilitators and work with struggling couples who find themselves wondering: “How did we ever get here?”
No one gets married to get divorced. One chooses “to become one” with another human being with the belief that life together with our perceived soulmate will be much better than without them. Yet the stresses of life, inevitable mistakes by both spouses and poor communication habits erode their relationship and weaken their love. How do they get back to where they started their holy matrimony?
Go back to the beginning and start with love. However, not love the way the world defines it. God says love is a decision. That decision leads to an action, which then brings the feeling. The world says love starts with the feeling (many times this feeling is lust,) instead of a decision. If you start the wrong way, you are more likely to end the wrong way.
So start recovering your love with a decision, a decision to recommit to love. Do whatever it takes to save your marriage. Start with love. This is a universal principle. It works to heal any relationship.
Case in point is the recent ReviveSpringfield week-long street prayer revival, held in Springfield Aug. 5-12. A total of 106 four-person teams went out all over our city and loved the people they encountered by praying for them. Every encounter started with the question “How can I pray for you?” It is a seeking question. It is a caring question. It is an empathetic question. It is a loving question.
The question leads to four pillars of ReviveSpringfield, which are impactful for any relationship. Love first. Then listen to the one you seek to love. Once you have loved, then listened, then you can discern properly. Discern how to love the person best. Discern how God would have you love that person. When you have loved first, then listened, then discerned, then you can respond well.
Love, listen, discern, then respond. Looks like a good recipe for reconciliation, for marriage or any relationship!
Are you ready to start with what started your marriage journey? Encompass Connection Center helps couples start with love. Learn how to create fulfilling, productive relationships for years to come. We offer a free relationship assessment to determine your relationship’s strengths and potential threats. For additional help, look into our RINGS Experience, which includes marriage strengthening exercises and a coaching model to help build real intimacy and growth skills. We'll also help you to break those destructive patterns that may negatively impact generations.
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.