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13November2018

Intimacy4us

Staying in love with your partner

To fall in love is easy . . . Staying in love, however, is not an easy feat and a lot harder than you may think. Is it possible for two people to fall in love and stay with each other?

Relationships expert, writer and speaker, Andy Stanley, explains in his popular DVD series Staying in love how you can achieve the impossible. Andy teaches you how in a simple, comfortable and humorous manner an example of how a marriage should be and cannot be based on that of the people around us nor the media.

This DVD series is comprised of four parts of about 40 minutes each with the titles. The Juno-dilemma, a new example to follow and to feel it in a multi-choice marriage. The DVD also has group sessions with questions that are ideal for small groups or additional personal study.

The Juno-dilemma
Andy kicks-off the session by referring to the movie Juno. The movie is about a teenage girl who gets pregnant and then has to decide what to do. She initially goes to an abortion clinic and then decides she no longer wants to go ahead with it. Her parents are divorced and she lives with her father and stepmother in a middle-class neighbourhood. She eventually decides to give birth and to give the baby to an adoptive family. Thereafter she meets the family who desperately want to adopt her baby but realises there is problems between the couple. Her relationship with her own family is disastrous, her relationship with her boyfriend is disastrous and the relationship between the couple who want to adopt her baby is disastrous.

In the movie she has a wonderful discussion with her father and asks him a question that Andy believes is very though provoking.

“I guess I wonder if people for good . . . like people in love. Dad, I just need to know if it is possible for two people to stay happy together forever.”

What a good question! Many people believe that it is possible for them, despite what they see around them, or what happened as in previous relationships or marriage or what happened in your parent’s marriage, there is something in each of us that believe it is possible. To be honest, we believe it is possible for us. You grab hold of straws hoping that you will be able to stay together somehow. People will look at you and think: “Wow, look how old they are and yet they’re still so in love.” You believe that it is a possibility for you, despite what society and previous relationships have told you. Andy believes it a small part of God within you that makes you believe this. We believe we will be able to complete our marriage together.

Easier & Harder
It is absolutely possible to stay in love, but it’s not likely. He states that the only prerequisite needed to fall in love is a pulse rate. “Some people are even in love with people they don’t know. People on television. She might read the news, but you are in love with her,” explains Andy.

In the USA there are roughly 1 500 websites where you can meet people. Through media and social networks it has never been easier to fall in love. But the flipside of the coin is also there: it’s never been harder as in today’s era to stay in love. There is something in all of us that wants to meet that special person, and to live our lives to the end with this person. We don’t just want to be in a relationship. We don’t want to just survive the years. We want to be in love and stay in love with each other.

We start a relationship with a backlog
The problem is that very few people see around them people that have been together for several years and are still madly in love. Fe people have also experienced a healthy, romantic relationship. That, which we have clung unto as examples, is what makes our situation so difficult. It makes it almost impossible to achieve this ideal. There are rules regarding relationships that glare us in the face, and still it is these exact rules we learn to follow.

You may have often heard: “Do to others as you would like others to do to you” But instead we choose to do to others what others do to us. Do to you others depending on your mood. You do to others to make them see things through your point of view. You do to others until you tear them down to do things in your way. You often see couples who have been together for several years but they don’t love each other. Their relationship is not something you want.

Another thing that makes it hard for us is what you experienced when you were growing-up. A few people came together and comprised a list of things that children need to grow up in a caring environment, to leave adolescence and become an adult with the necessary tools to get involved in healthy and stable relationships. They have found that being emotionally equipped to partake in long-term relationships, a child needs to be raised in a home you have to grow-where you receive respect, encouragement, comfort, security, support, acceptance, blessing, appreciation, attention and love. You have to receive these things above in bulk, without someone leaving the family.

A stronghold around the neck
If this is needed over a long period of time to get involved in long-term relationships as adults, what is the chance of being completely equipped to do all these things? Especially if you meet someone that also haven’t received such an upbringing. The result for many people is that they look for someone who can offer them all these traits. I then fall in love with you and now that we’re in love, I wonder if you respect me, offer me encouragement, comfort security etc. Or are you just cute and have a good job? Because when are first in love with each other, it changes from just a high around the neck to a throttle. Give me love, comfort and security! I have to get it! Because I got into this relationship with some things that were lacking. I am malnourished in terms of love and affection and am going to squeeze it out of you are going to squeeze it out of me.

Another important factor is an absent father figure. Almost 40% of children that are born in the USA are born without a father figure. There will be no stable father figure with male influences. One can argue about it as much as you like, but these children will struggle in life. It is not their fault that is the unfortunate reality. That which our children experienced and that with which we are equipped with as examples, still makes us inadequately equipped.

Be the right person
Another problem today is that we have an extremely low pain threshold. Something doesn’t even have to hurt us before let loose on the reaction. As soon as something is uncomfortable for us, we just step away from it. The days have long gone by when saying “Yes” in a church means a real “yes” and that I will keep trying to go on. Whether I like it or not. The message that we get each day around us is if you’re not happy, then you’re with the wrong person. You chose wrong. Then they want to start over again. They believe that if you just keep looking you will find the right person. Everyone feels that they have to choose the right person. Instead of starting to become the right person yourself!

Male love a verb
In all that chaos 2 000 years ago, Jesus spoke. He gives us the basic tool for a relationship/ Accept Jesus’ teachings. John 13:34 says, “I give you a new command: You must love each other! Just like I had loved you, you must love each other too.” Jesus makes love a verb. If Jesus asked you: ‘Do you love her?” you may answer: ‘Well, I always loved her . . .” You wait till you get the feeling instead of maintaining it. The foundation must be to make love a verb.

Andy says in his DVD the tongue-in-cheek big secret around the verb is as follows: “The more you make love a verb. The more you’ll make love . . .”

“You must love each other . . .” The verse doesn’t atop here. “Just as I had loved you.” Don’t follow the example of society around you. Not even necessarily that of your parents. You don’t need to learn to fall in love, (if you have a pulse, you know how), but you must learn how to stay in love with you partner.

You first!
You must tell your partner every day: “You are my priority!” Marriage partners must submit themselves to each other – there has to be mutual prioritising taking place. You must tell your partner: “Even though you don’t make me your priority, I am making you my priority.” You must both tell each other every day: “You first!” Make sure that once you have chosen the right person, that you do the right thing. Choose each day to love that person.

By LIZE GROENEWALD