Choose the Right Path is a companion to our post Get a Clear Vision. There we talked about the need for a common goal or vision for any two people in a relationship to have. Having a common goal, something that you are both working towards, fosters unity and kinship. It forms a little community of two. Being on the same page about something important brings our hearts and purposes together as one. A common purpose also helps us to overcome the little things that can irritate or divide a friendship or marriage.
** Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established ** from Proverbs 4:26 helps us to clarify what we mean by Getting a Clear Vision. Once we choose or recognize our common purpose, it is necessary to lay out a plan to accomplish it.
For example, if our common goal is to pay off the mortgage quickly, each partner needs to make a financial commitment to the mortgage. A certain percentage of their individual or combined salary will go to paying off that debt. That decision will also require some vigilance over the money left in the rest of the budget and how it is divided and spent. Monitoring the budget carefully is a clear step towards being mortgage free and achieving that common goal.
If our common purpose is to volunteer together at a soup kitchen or teaching underprivileged children how to read, there needs to be some discussion about schedules, how many hours a week you both can help, and where will you volunteer? There are always details that have to be worked out.
If our purpose is to have our relationship last a lifetime there will also be details that need to be discussed. *Pondering the path of our feet* could be one of them. Are there some activities or places that we frequent that might need to be curtailed in order to achieve the goal of an enduring relationship? We also need to consider the reality that our ‘feet’ follow our heart. Are our feet telling us that our heart is not as committed as we think? Do our ‘feet’ take us closer to our partner and our common goal or are they talking us farther away?
Could there be some other relationships or interests that are hindering the unity needed for a long term relationship? How much time should the two of you be spending together? Are both of you okay with the other one having a night out with friends or coworkers? Are there outside relationships that are better terminated in order to achieve the higher goal of an enduring relationship with your partner? Where do each of you want to be on the priority list for time spent together? How much time should be devoted to work and how much to the relationship? Clear communication and honesty about these thoughts need to be discussed.
*Let all thy ways be established*. Having honest conversations on a regular basis will help to establish a stronger relationship and increase our focus on our higher purpose. It is a good idea to schedule a regular time to talk over the overall goal as well as the details on how to live it out from day to day.
In a marriage or in any relationship, communication is key! There are many things to discuss and it is important to be a good listener. Any good conversation is about learning to listen first and talking second. Be sure to give both parties time to express their needs and opinions without feeling like they are being ignored or dismissed or used. One person cannot be the only one making the decisions or the only one allowed or interested in expressing their needs.
Some things that should also be discussed are the delicate subjects. This may involve what kind of interaction each party has with those around them. Do they spend too much time with other people and ignore the one they made a commitment to? Do others receive more consideration and kindness than your relationship with them does? Do the behavior or the activities of one partner threaten the security of the other partner? How can both parties be assured that they are equal partners in this project? Is one of you putting in 100% towards the goal and the other one is undermining it or only making a small effort?
To Choose the Right Path for any relationship, each party needs to be fully involved. Sometimes, the process will reveal that one of you is not as committed as the other. That doesn’t mean that the relationship is doomed. But it may mean that you need some outside help. A good counselor can help you both find more common ground and better ways of communicating your needs.
Choosing the Right Path and laying out every step of it will help any relationship stand on more solid ground. Remember that clear and honest communication is key to showing respect and true commitment in any relationship.