Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart (Proverbs 3:3 NIV).
Over the years, I’ve learned that love and faith are action words.
Love and faith are a commitment.
The Bible reminds us that love and faithfulness are so valuable that we should “bind them around our necks, write them on the tablet of our hearts” (Proverbs 3:3).
I’ve been fortunate to be a military spouse. It was difficult, but the lessons learned were invaluable.
Before retiring, my husband Tony spent twenty-four years in the military. We were in a consistent “fight” for relationships with God, each other, outsiders, and ourselves to stay close.
Though difficult, it’s achievable. Here are a few things we learned that we’d love to share:
1. Self-care: Take care of health, family, education, and career. Don’t neglect to go to the doctor, attend family events, invest, or plan educational and career goals.
2. Prioritize: Decide what’s important versus what seems urgent but doesn’t matter. There's always more to accomplish than time allows. Attempting to do everything and be everywhere causes burnout. Goal-setting and prioritizing help us to focus on those things that are impactful. impact.
3. Choose Optimism: Despite the circumstances of life, when we choose positivity over negativity, we continue to move forward. Positivity consistently attracts people and purpose, while pessimism drives them away.
4. Read: Whether we indulge in nonfiction, fiction, journals, blogs, or magazines, reading sharpens our minds and allows us to grow by exposing ourselves to diverse ideas, cultures, and people. This helps to keep us open-minded, well-rounded, and informed.
5. Embrace the art of Listening: Instead of hearing what others say, embrace listening with our hearts and ears. This helps us to understand (even if we disagree) different perspectives. This critical element of success sets us apart from a world that screams its position at its opponents, speaks over others, and only hears to be able to counter-argue.
6. Be Prepared: We should never lose the ability to think for ourselves. If we remember to consistently plan and see our way forward, it helps when unexpected things and challenges occur.
7. Embrace Change: Understanding that nothing lasts forever and change is inevitable gives us the freedom to personally adapt and change whenever necessary. Understanding that changes bring both good and bad helps us to learn that adversity is a part of life but so are extraordinary blessings!
8. Focus: When we concentrate on results versus business, we will accomplish what matters. Although good intentions are important, they’re irrelevant when positive results aren’t achieved.
9. Plan: The decisions we make today affect our lives tomorrow. Therefore, the sooner we plan for our future, the more purposeful we become. There are many things to consider in planning, such as health, career, finances, family, and vision.
10. Be Intentional: When we live our lives with intention, we carve out time to spend with God, family, and friends. We make “love” and “faith” action words that speak loudly and bring results.
Fighting for relationships is crucial for growing closer to God and to those we love. We cannot say we love when we neglect to nurture the relationships we say we value.
Overall, using our actions to build love and faith creates connections that are cemented and—cherished for a lifetime.
Dear Lord, help me treasure the gift of relationships with You, my family, and my friends. Please help me to actively pursue healthy, life-affirming partnerships with the people you would have me be knit together within the unity of love and faithfulness. Amen
Your turn: How do you fight for and nurture your relationships? Do you have any tips or stories to share? We’d love to hear from you!