A strong marriage requires a foundation and unbreakable, sturdy support. We would like to think that love is all a marriage needs in order to be strong and last forever, but the truth is, love is just not enough. Building a marriage requires a foundation and then pillars. The pillars can only stand when it is deeply rooted in the foundation. The pillars are what gives the marriage support and keeps it balanced. Let’s look at the 4 pillars needed:
Pillar 1 Trust—trust doesn’t just mean being faithful to your partner, it also means trusting your partner’s decisions and judgement. This also doesn’t mean that your partner always knows what is right or what is best for the marriage. Trust in marriage means believing in his/her integrity, trusting your partner’s love for you and that they will seek to improve themselves for their own growth as well as the growth of the relationship. Conflicts are frequent and intense because of the lack of trust in the marriage. When you feel you cannot trust your partner to provide or that you cannot trust him/her with your vulnerability, you become agitated, fearful and uncertain about his/her love for you.
Pillar 2 Respect has so many layers and unfortunately respect does not always start during the foundation process which makes it very difficult when it needs to be a pillar. If your spouse doesn’t respect you during the dating phase of the relationship, he/she will certainly struggle with respecting you after marriage. Respect should be required. Respect should be noticed and should be spelled out and discussed in the very beginning. Your idea of respect may be very different from your spouses. Having the discussion early in the relationship sets the tone and roots the pillar so that it provides balance.
Pillar 3 Security—fear in a relationship comes from a lack of security and safety. Despite of what you think or have been told about your responsibility to your partner, you are responsible to providing a secure and safe emotional connection to your partner. What this means is that, games should not be tolerated or allowed, teasing and provoking your partner to jealously is cruel and initiates dis-trust. When you do not trust your partner to be around someone of the opposite sex, why? What has happened that has sparked the feelings of low security? When you do not feel secure with your partner when they are not around you, take inventory of what has happened in your relationship that is making you feel insecure.
Pillar 4 Attachment-emotional attachment is a problem in many relationships especially after being married several years. Emotional attachment means being there for your partner in an emotional way. Be present with them in whatever they are experiencing or have experienced in life. Couples will start to distant themselves when someone is not feeling heard, understood, or wanted. Stay connected by having “relationship talks”, discussing difficult subjects, and sitting with each other in their pain.