Getting married is a huge step for many couples and to unconditionally love your partner, you need to know what it takes for relationships to last.
Showing unconditional love in a long-lasting marriage or relationship sounds easy, but any successful couple will tell you that it takes more than just loving your partner to ensure you stay together.
In order to have a healthy relationship that evolves into being able to offer and receive unconditional love, it’s important that both members of the couple have a few things in common.
I remember how much I wanted to be married when I was a young boy. I remember praying to God to provide me with a great wife and allow us to have sons. I wanted to be married so badly that every woman I dated was a potential candidate.
I had no interest in casual dating, I wanted a life partner.
I finally found the woman for me and for the past 43 years, I’ve thanked God daily for the wonderful wife I believe He prepared just for me.
Many people do not believe that God designs just one person for them, and that may be true, but my wife Charlotte and I believe that if two people with the same commitment and desire fall in love, they will be the perfect mate for each other and their marriage can thrive.
I believe one of the main problems with most newlyweds is that each partner enters marriage with a separate road map and a different set of directions for their married life.
These differences are things like assumptions about roles, expectations about how to spend time and money, beliefs about child-raising, not to mention the inherited mental, physical and spiritual baggage each person carries.
There are three extremely important factors in a lasting relationship that provides true unconditional love:
1. Have similar beliefs
It’s important to recognise the crucial factor that helps assure a couple of a successful marriage – that is faith and belief about life and career.
I’ve had people tell me that you don’t have to hold the same beliefs to have a successful marriage. While I agree with that to some extent, it goes deeper than most think.
Today, with a divorce rate of between 40 and 50%, it is vital for couples to learn and grow together not apart. We are conditioned to believe that our partner should make us happy about everything, which is far from reality.
Couples that are happy and continually show their love for each other have similar beliefs about who they are, what goals they are seeking, and how the other receives love.
I speak from personal experience and what I’ve read and heard from the couples I’ve interviewed and coached over the years.
I’ve never found one couple who exhibited unconditional love, who didn’t have beliefs that benefited them both. They were on the same wavelength, so to speak!
2. Set goals
Most people today do not set goals for their life and career. Most will say they know what they want but never write it down and measure their progress regularly.
Mark McCormick, the author of What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School, asked the graduating class of Harvard Business School one question, “How many of you set goals?”
He found that 84% said they did not have any goals, 13% said they have goals but not in writing, and 3% said they have written goals.
Mark followed that class for 10 years. After 10 years, the results he discovered were interesting. The 13% who said they had goals but didn’t write them down were earning twice as much as the 84% that had no goals. However, the 3% who had written goals were earning ten times more than the other 97%.
If money is one of the major problems in marriages today, and I believe it is, then goals must be set and measured continually. And, by the way, those goals must be beneficial for both individuals in the relationship.
3. Practice effective communication
To be successful in any relationship, communication must be understood and practised. Your success will rise and fall in direct proportion to your communication skills with your spouse as well as those around you.
Too many couples take communications for granted. Yet, taking the time to improve your communication skills will benefit you greatly in achieving your goals and reaching your destiny in life.
I have learned a great deal about communication in the past 20 or 30 years, but most people still do not realise the power of communication and how it can propel you into your destiny.
I have learned valuable principles by reading studies and listening to men and women who have documented evidence on the tremendous power of communication. I have put into practice principles that allow me to do more than I ever dreamed possible by knowing how to communicate the right message to my spouse and to myself.
We now know, from many studies by some of the great educational institutions around the world, that communication is not just words. Research shows that when two people meet and communicate, what actually influences one or the other to change the way they feel or act is more than mere words.
In human communication, we find that words represent only 7% of what actually influences someone to change how they feel or act toward something.
Greater than words is our voice quality. Voice quality represents 38% of what actually influences someone to change the way they feel or act.
What is voice quality? Voice quality includes the tone, timbre, volume, or speed with which we speak. This is really nothing new because we have known for years that it’s not what you say when you communicate, but how you say it that determines the result.
However, what most influences a person to change the way they feel or act is physiology – how we use our physical body. Physiology represents 55% of what actually influences someone to change.
Facial expression, muscular tension, gesture and posture are part of physiology.
Have you ever made a statement to someone who responded, “Sure”, but simultaneously rolled their eyes and their voice went from low to high? What were they communicating to you? That it will never happen. Why? Their words were right, but their voice, gestures and body language didn’t match.
Behavioural scientists say that our communication must be congruent if it is to be believable, which means that all three – words, voice and physiology – must match.
When they all agree, you hold the power to influence others to change the way they feel and act. This is especially important when communicating with your spouse.
When you say, “I love you”, you must do it with all communication methods. Saying the words while lying on the couch watching television and eating popcorn will not be received as a true statement. However, looking them in the eye while holding their hand and saying “I love you” will get you a positive response.
There are many other factors and important relationship advice to discuss but every couple who decides to marry should put these three to work immediately. Your ability and desire to express unconditional love will grow.
Donny Ingram is an author, motivational speaker, trainer, and founder of Ingram Management Group. For the last 28 years, he has worked in sales and marketing as well as training and development for both government and corporate America.
By: Donny Ingram
Donny Ingram is an author, motivational speaker, trainer, and founder of Ingram Management Group. For the last twenty-eight years, he has worked in sales & marketing as well as training and development for both government and corporate America.