Agreement in Relationships
6 Steps to Preserving Agreement in a Relationship
*Although these principles are written for those in intimate relationships, they are applicable for the nurturing of any kind of relationship.
1. Make allowance for each other’s faults.
Couples must understand that each individual is a work in progress. This means that they are bound to slip and make mistakes that would hurt as time goes on. This doesn’t translate to mean that the person is a bad person. Also, there are times when innocent actions by one person in a relationship are misconstrued by the other party. When there is room for errors, there will be fewer opportunities for quarrels.
2. Be quick to forgive.
“The Lord forgave [us], so [we] must forgive others”This is not to be confused to mean forgive because Christ forgave us. Rather we are to forgive just like Christ forgave. This is the essence of love. Romans 5:8 says that God demonstrated His love this way; while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. All we had to do was ask for forgiveness with all sincerity and we got it.Forgiveness is a choice we make not necessarily because it is deserved, but because it is the right thing to do. Forgiveness helps release you from a trap of Satan.
Couples must train themselves to forgive the actions of an offending partner. You may probably be thinking this opens you up to be taken advantage of. That is a valid thought, however I have found over time that the principles of God’s Word don’t have negative side effects. If you embrace this attitude, you will be protected by God, as well as protected from the damage of unforgiveness which is a major spiritual condition, and it ultimately makes for a healthier relationship. Many times people who say they have forgiven subconsciously try to inflict punishment on the person who has offended, almost as if there has to be some form of penance. When Christ forgave us it was free, no strings attached!
3. Wear a consciousness of love (1 Cor. 13:4-8, AMP).
God’s love is the binding glue for any successful relationship. God’s love is not an emotional feeling but a choice to act to empower the other person for good. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (I especially like the Amplified rendering) is a through outline of the attributes of love. Every believer has this capacity for agape. Romans 5:5 says the love of God has been poured in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. For you to keep the agreement in your relationship, you must continually choose act in line with God’s love. Understand that your actions must not be dependent on the actions of the other person, neither should it be with a purpose to get something from the other (this is manipulation). Love gives.
4. Let the peace of God reign in your heart, and live in peace.
In times of life’s crisis or in the relationship, you have to make a choice to give peace the opportunity to rule. Inner conflict can compromise agreement. When we are conflicted within, we have a tendency to withdraw. Agreement requires openness. Issues must be properly resolved; there must be fairness and open communication. Hurts and misunderstandings must be expressed in a non confrontational way, expectations must be clear from both parties. There must be genuine repentance for wrong actions, and on the flip side quick forgiveness. Both parties must hold each other accountable.
Never give room for negative thoughts. Thoughts are seed that grow, and then form our attitudes (the way we think and act). If peace is to reign in your heart and in your home, let your thoughts be focused on things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, filled wit virtue and that are praiseworthy (Phil.4:8).
5. Be thankful to God for each other, and appreciate one another always!
We all have a need for affirmation. Many times it is easy for partners in a relaitonship to stop affirming one another as they did previously at the early stages of a relationship. Words are powerful in cultivating any relationship. Appreciating your partner not only affirms him or her, it also helps you create a sense of value for the other person. Likewise your appreciation towards God for your partner acknowledges the fact that you are giving God permission in your relationship. When you focus on the positive things about your partner and you thank God for them, you are giving God the permission to perfect the other things that may be not so perfect.
The truth is that no matter how bad the situation may look in your marriage, there is always one good thing you can identify and affirm. The moment you focus on that one thing, you will see something else. There is always a flickering light in every darkness, if you focus on that light, it will eventually light up the room.
6. Sharpen your partner.
I have learned that couples grow apart many times because one partner grows faster than the other, and because fellowship requires congeniality there becomes a distance between the parties. To avoid this, partners must constantly expose themselves to the same learning environment, and constantly make sure they are edifying the other.
Keep the Word in your heart as a deposit, and use it in counsel and instruction for the development of the other person. It is important to know that though you are allowed to make corrections, you must be speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). This means that your words must be framed in a way that falls in line with 1 Cor.13:4-8. Many times in communicating what’s true, people are rude, unmannerly and unkind. Though you may be speaking the truth of God’s Word, you are breaking another fundamental principle which is love. However a relationship that focusses on adding value to the other person will be strengthened in agreement because the essence of covenant is to bless the other person.
Share with people on how they can preserve agreement in relationships.