Our story is one that begins in love and continues in love. This time of year for many is a season where we celebrate not only our friendships, but our romantic relationships. Flowers, heart-shaped balloons, chocolates, hugs, and kisses rule the atmosphere. Anyone can get swept up in the feel-good vibes and the sugar rushes, but what is really the foundation of our relationships?

Pastor Rich and DawnCheré Wilkerson pose 10 Critical Questions Every Person In a Relationship Should Ask:

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1. Who completes you?

A common mistake that happens to many people is that they buy into the lie that another person should complete them. Our surrounding culture boldly enforces that lie, as the songs we listen to and movies we watch portray the idea that another person should complete us. Subscribing to this mindset is destined to set you up for disappointment, as the only one who can sustainably meet your needs is Christ Jesus.

Does that mean your spouse or significant other doesn’t play a critical role in your life? No, absolutely not, God’s purpose for your spouse is to use them as an instrument to add value to your life and complement the gifts that He has already placed within you. By design, our significant other was meant to compliment us, not complete us.

2. Is love a feeling or a choice?

Feelings come and go. We don’t always “feel” like forgiving just like we don’t always “feel” like going to work. Bills don’t pay themselves, so we make a choice to show up everyday. In the same sense, relationships don’t fix themselves, so we make a choice to love even when we don’t want to.

We can’t control what happens to us, or what our partner does or says, but we can control how we react. Every day we have choice to love and forgive one another just like Christ loved and forgave us first. When we are far from his heart out of love, He draws near to us.

3. What is in the past that is keeping you from moving forward?

Whether you want to admit it or not, we all have baggage. Sure, some people have a few more suitcases lying around than others, but we all have made choices in our lives, or have been involved in situations, that still cause us pain. Often times, we suppress this pain until we get into a heated argument, then we throw it in face of those we love, only to worsen the situation, and cause a deeper divide.

The better alternative to this is to simply allow the Lord deal with your hurt, instead of holding on to your resentment. By holding on to the past, you are not hurting the person who hurt you, but instead you are hurting yourself.

We simply can’t move forward if we are constantly looking back.

4. When you can’t change them is that surprising to you?

A classic mistake that many individuals make is thinking that they can change their partner, and getting upset when no progress is made. Instead of getting aggravated at your partner for changing, be a catalyst for change. Examine yourself, and take an inventory of what you can change in yourself to be a better spouse, and watch how God works through that. Be the person that you want your partner to be like.

5. How do you speak to the one you love?

It’s not only about WHAT you say but HOW you say it. Often times the frustration can overcome our appreciation for the other person. Our words create an environment. Don’t be stingy with words of affirmation and compliments. Remember to create an atmosphere of love and respect with the way you speak.

6. Do you want a good relationship or a great one?

Good is the enemy of great. Having a great relationship starts with casting a vision for your relationship. Once that vision is established, you have now set boundaries and parameters to help you reach that vision together.

Casting a vision for your relationship is much simpler than it sounds. Start by choosing a few words that represent the culture you want to build within your household. Then, be intentional about doing things that reinforce the type of culture and relationship you are striving for. Remember, culture is either established by default, or built by design.

7. Why is your goal to be right?

Being right is overrated. Sure, it strokes our ego, but is the cost associated worth it? The pursuit of always being right will limit our growth and drive us to a point where the only voice we listen is our own. We run the risk of not only shutting out our partner and those who love us but also the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Our goal is not to always be right but to walk in the right direction.

8. Where do you have the most fun?

Relationships aren’t “strictly business,” you need to ensure you and your partner are being intentional about making time for fun. Find activities that you both enjoy doing together, and do them! We get it, we all lead busy lives, but having fun with your partner ensures that you not only LOVE your partner, but that you also LIKE your partner.

9. Are you most focus on what you “get” or what you “give”?

It’s interesting to see how many Christians see the benefits of giving in the context of finances, but miss the mark in their relationships. It’s time for a paradigm shift. We need to start thinking of how we can add value to our partner’s life, instead of counting the ways that they are not fulfilling the needs in our life. This simple shift in perspective will radically change the landscape of your relationship for the better.

A good place to start is by identifying your partners love language, and generously doing things that speak to your partners love language. There are 5 primary love languages:

· Words of Affirmation
· Acts of Service
· Physical Touch
· Receiving Gifts
· Quality Time

Knowing your partner’s love language (as well as your own) is essential to being a giver in the relationship. Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages, will help you and your partner identify these.

10. Have you decided your first priority?

Our first priority is to Jesus, and it is important to always keep that in mind. When both partners make it a priority to trust and follow Him and His word, they will always find a firm foundation of common ground to stand on.

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