A loving relationship should be a disciplined one. It may sound odd to think of love and discipline in tandem. One may think discipline is not possible with passion, or that discipline makes for a dull relationship. However, if one truly loves another, then discipline is required to do what’s best for that individual. This is the ability to control behavior. Some may call it willpower.
Self-discipline is a key for success in most every walk of life. The student must be on time to school, the employee must be on time for work. The house must be cleaned, the yard mowed. If self-discipline is applied to these areas, why not the most important area of ones life, the marital relationship?
It can be difficult to maintain loving relationships in life with wife, children and parents. These must be our first priority. Relationships can spread us too thin just as work, household or child rearing obligations can.
In order to maintain our most crucial bond, the one with our spouse, prioritize those relationships which are most important. If many demand attention, creative energy will be sapped for the one you love most. Prioritizing duties at work and at home comes naturally to some, but doing the same to relationships doesn’t come easy. It is, however, necessary for the growth of the marriage.
Say no to those persons who would use your energy for their purposes. Develop the wisdom to avoid those persons who always seem to need your help after work or want to stop off for a drink. Exceeding one’s energy does harm to those you’re trying to help and certainly does harm to yourself.
When there’s fun in a relationship, it is easy to enjoy and nurture it. Direct thoughts to the great times in your marriage, not the bad. Anticipate the evening’s “date.” This may give you the discipline to say no to the co-worker who needs your help. Anticipating fun with a spouse is energizing and a great motivator. Make a list of the things that motivate positive feelings toward your partner and train the brain to use them.
One must treat his or her own feelings with respect, listen to the inner voice, but these thoughts and feelings must be weighed and limited. Learn where your resistance is low and try to avoid situations where you might give in to temptation. Avoid useless battles with yourself by learning to say no to yourself as well as saying no to others.
Study personal strengths and weaknesses and what energizes and motivates you. Use these to produce the behaviors that enhance the relationship. Take responsibility for your own satisfaction. Find individual happiness and don’t depend on your spouse for personal fulfillment. This is selfish. True love is in the giving of love, not the receiving. Happiness comes from within.
Self-discipline involves living up to your own potential. Look honestly at yourself and make sure your personal actions and values are those you can be proud of. Place no blame on others.
Disappointment in yourself will lead to disappointment in your relationships. You can never be immune to temptation. Freedom to do as you will may have moments of excitement but are fleeting over time and will eventually destroy a relationship, not build one.