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In this brand new marriage course (comprised of six sections), presented exclusively by marriage experts Kobus and Linda Pauw for INTIEM, teaches you how to view your marriage with a new set of eyes, a renewed mind and a revived being . . .

SECTION 1: Does your partner feel exclusive?

There is this warped perception that a marriage has to always be full of sunshine and roses. We are taught as children about fairy tales that tell us that when the prince and princess come together in the end, “they live happily every after”.

Choices are more important than you think. Many people believe that the marriage must keep itself going, and when the spark dissipates, it means that the marriage isn’t working anymore. Wrong.

The truth however, is in fact found in 1 Cor 7:28, Eph 5:31-32 and Prov 30:18-19, namely that a marriage brings with it afflictions, that the marriage is mysterious and that the love between a man and a woman can’t be understood.

Lay your foundation

Couples can form a better foundation in a marriage by choosing certain values and apply them by laying certain fundamental cornerstones.

In the run-up to 2015 we would like to identify these cornerstones and challenge couples to give attention to these and to actually see their relationships changing.

However, be aware of the fact that, in order to implement these cornerstones, a choice from both parties is required. It will take time and the success thereof does not lie in the quick solution approach, but in the constant application thereof, without it being attached to emotions (which influences the choice to implement it).

The first cornerstone you need, is that of exclusivity. The other word for it can also be priority.

To explain this choice a little bit easier, we would like to make the following analogy: If he gets married to his sweetie pie, the hunt is over and his subconscious mind says that he can now sit back comfortably because he got what he wanted. The problem with this analogy is that the hunter doesn’t want to end up with a stuffed companion, but with one who has her own needs and expectations. One who wants the continuous experience that she is still worth being chased. The same analogy goes for the woman as much as it does for the man – however, the man can may identify with it a lot easier. The important point to remember is that neither of you should take each other for granted. On a daily basis, choose to place each other in that position.

How do you prove exclusivity to each other?

Jimmy Evans offers the following four ways to achieve this:

1. Sacrifices: Is there something about your partner that pulls you away from them or takes the place of your partner? Here you can take a look at sport, work and friends. Sacrifice it and ultimately build on your exclusivity.

2. Time: Time that makes sense for your partner. Time that efficiently builds on your relationship. It is time that you redeem. You don’t get this time, it is chosen. What time are you prepared to give so that you can spend time with your partner?

3. Energy: Relationships need positive energy – the times when you are the most focused. Marital relationships can’t function on leftover energy. Several couples think that when they are married, they can survive on the time left over at the end of the day. Put special time aside for your partner wherein the energy levels are high so that your partner can feel like he or she is getting your best time.

4. Attitude: Be positive about your relationship, do things that bring out the positives in your relationship again. Love is something that can dry-up. Back each other up, make the choice to regularly celebrate your relationship – don’t wait for big days. Make each day a big day. Make your partner feel special and let him or her know what you think of him or her.

It is important to protect these choices of exclusivity through discipline – things that couples choose to often do and almost form a routine. In a relationship its things such as date nights, weekends away, specific times set aside just for the couple.

It can be that these couples also have weekly conversations on the following three questions: “What did I do this week that that you really liked? What did I do this week that you did not like? How can I change what you did not like in such a manner that it is positive for you as opposed to you viewing it as something negative?”

The most important thing to realise about prioritising and exclusivity, is that it comes down to choices. Choose your partner, choose your marriage and keep your relationship one of the topics that are regularly discussed.

Don’t miss out on Section 2 of the Marriage Course.

Article by Kobus and Linda Pauw