Heart, Hope and Skills for a healthy couple relationship

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In our training as Marriage Coaches, Marian & I learnt about the importance of the three ingredients of heart, hope and skills for healthy couple relationships. We’ve found it important to keep working in all three areas to grow in our own relationship. And in our work as ‘Marriage Coaches’, we encourage and help couples to nurture each of these ingredients in their personal lives and as they approach the relationship.  At times it can become necessary to work with one partner by themselves.

Heart without hope is short-lived goodwill. Either one partner, or both, has a teachable and humble heart, but lack hope in God or each other. So much water is under the bridge of their relationship that they can’t imagine it ever being different in the future.

Heart without skills is humble ignorance. A good analogy is an athlete who has a strong, competitive heart, and willingness to learn, but loses in competition because his raw talent and desire hasn’t been shaped for expression through sport-specific skills.

Hope without heart or skills is an unachievable dream. This combination is comparable to fantasy. The couple imagines what their marriage can be, but lacks the heart to persist in learning, and therefore lacks the skill to make any of their efforts successful.

Skill without heart is manipulation. All the knowledge in the world is useless unless applied with love.  Our partners know when our heart is behind the use of a skill such as active listening, and when we are just doing the skill without sincerity and humility.

Skill without hope is useless knowledge. Some couples want to learn skills, but refuse to allow for a miracle from God.  It is difficult to be motivated to try new approaches if you refuse hope in the first place.

Which ingredient do you need to strengthen in your relationship as a couple: heart, hope or skill?

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Becoming honest in prayer

Very often when we talk of prayer, we think of polite conversation with God – saying the right words, the right formulas, in a certain tone of voice and so on. But prayer in the Bible is anything, but that. Just read the Book of Psalms for example, which is full of raw emotion expressed to God as prayer. This is because an important aspect of engaging with God from the heart in prayer, is learning to be honest with what’s coming up in our hearts. In today’s Bible reading, we find another example of honesty in prayer and hear how it’s also the place where we can find intimacy with God.

The longings of our heart

We’re all aware from time to time, of the deep longings of our heart – for love, significance, recognition, a sense of worth, belonging, freedom and so on. But what many of us are not aware of, are the ways in which the Bible speaks about this area. And how it’s such a crucial area of our hearts to which we need to pay attention, if we want to develop an intimate relationship with God.

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