Dating: I remember when I first met my wife, and we started to spend time together to get to know one another. Each moment was of value, as I got to know her, I was intrigued by likes, dislikes, her life story etc. I remember talking for hours on end, spending the day together and also spending time in the evening just talking on the phone. In the beginning of most relationships there is always that zeal and excitement of the unknown and newness of the getting to know someone new. Marriage: Getting married was the beginning of a life together, the first chapter being written. The excitement was still there, the newness of starting a home together, work, and children all came into the scene. The dreams and high hopes for the future seemed so attainable. We loved each other and the family and that is all that mattered. The Seasons of Marriage: As time passed the realities of life started to set in, the things we used to ignore habits, quirks, annoyances were now unavoidable. Financial pressures were in high gear. The blessings of the good choices and the consequences of the poor ones were evident. The pressures of child rearing also began to bring stress as well as a changed our relationship. The time that we considered to be so precious now had to be divided between one, then two, then three, well you get the picture children. The thoughts began to consume our minds, such as how do we improve our situation, where should we live, is it a good or bad area, how are the school districts. All of these things to focus on, while still getting to know one another and cultivate our relationship as man and wife. Cohabitation The meaning of cohabitation is “to live together as or as if a married couple”. From personal experience as well as from a number of years of meeting and talking with couples this is a hurdle that every relationship will have to get over. With all the pressures that couples are confronted with it is understandable to see how couples end up here. To better explain let me give you two examples. The first couple started off completely in love, and when the realities of life hit they became so consumed with responsibilities and pressures they began to neglect their relationship. Thus, they haven’t been married for long but they have begun down the path of eroding communication and relationship. Before they realize it their relationship is divided. Our second example is that of the empty nester’s who have been married 20-30 years, their kids have moved on and they are no confronted with the reality that they are back to square on. They have lived a life together but because spending all the time cultivating carriers, children and the like. They have arrived in a place where they don’t really know one another anymore. Due to the lack of cultivation in the relationship the love has been obscured. Both scenario’s are very real and common. Rebuilding For some who are battling with a broken relationship they understand real well what has been noted. For others, their relationships may be great and healthy. The revelation for all is that we all have to continually keep an eye on, assess, and cultivate our relationships. Beginning with our relationship with God and then our spouses. This is where rebuilding must begin, the examination of oneself. Ask yourself the hard questions, “Where is my relationship with God? How is my relationship with my spouse? Do I love her more today that I did yesterday and does she know it? Have I shown her in a way that she can acknowledge?” As the answers to these questions begin to produce results it’s up to the examiner to make the necessary adjustment. Don’t fall into the pitfall of changing your spouse but prioritize changing yourself. Now you may ask how? Begin by becoming a student of the Word, what God says about marriage in context. Secondly, pursue knowledge on the topic, there are so many resources, and assessments available to people today. Lastly, prioritize “communication”. Don’t assume that things are great; talk about it. Structurally Sound My heart is heavy, when I hear the stories and statements, “My spouse belittles me”, “I do detest them, and I really never loved them”, “I don’t even know them anymore” etc. The divorce rate is climbing day by day. A home needs a solid foundation to be sound; it needs a routine of upkeep to withstand the elements. Our relationships are no different, let’s change the statistics and begin to examine our relationships and with God’s help we will have healthy marriages. This Life lesson was revelation to me a number of years ago and my prayer is that it will revolutionize yours today.