In Good Faith

Question:  In the “Month of Love,” what is your best advice for strengthening a relationship?

Eric Sandras - Christian

Eric Sandras, Ph.D.— Author of four books, “Dr. E” leads The Sanctuary Church in the heart of Old Colorado City and teaches graduate courses in human sexuality, counseling and psychology.

One would think having a Ph.D. in family relations and being a counselor, human sexuality professor and married for 32 years would make this question easier to answer than slicing a wedding cake. Yet it causes me to pause. To be strengthened, something must be exercised and allowed to feel stress without injury. Strong relationships find a way to work through struggle without harming the other. Regardless of the type of relationship you want to strengthen, avoiding difficult conversations and forgiveness will actually weaken connection over time. The path of least resistance seldom yields the long-term health we desire in relationships. Don’t expect no work and all play to end well. In other words: You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Ahriana Platten - New Thought - Unity

Dr. Ahriana Platten is founder-executive director of In Good Faith, leads Unity Spiritual Center and speaks around the country on the topics of interfaith and intercultural understanding.

Give more of your time and attention to love. The pace at which we move through life is mind-boggling. It’s not unusual to work from early morning to mid or even late evening in order to achieve success in our highly competitive world. We can become so focused on the money we need for the life we want that the life we want slips out of our focus. That life, by the way, usually involves someone to love and someone who loves us. If you already have someone to love, then my advice is to give more time and energy to celebrating the love you share. We are so much happier when we share a hug, say “I love you,” and look lovingly into each other’s eyes.

Arnie Bass - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Arnie Bass is a bishop at Sunset Mesa Ward in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Colorado Springs. He has served in positions of both spiritual and administrative responsibility since 1991.

Give of your time and talents. Cards, flowers, trinkets and dinners out are often the go-to gifts and activities to express our love and devotion to our sweetheart. However, the gift of our time, engaged in activities we know our love especially enjoys, can be more uniting than our money spent on expensive gifts or a fancy dinner. On the other hand, a special meal planned, cooked and served at home on a tablecloth with candles, will garner many kudos even if every dish does not turn out perfectly. The time it takes to pull it off will speak loudly of our caring and commitment. And make the card or gift instead of buying it. They will for certain keep and cherish it.

Bryan Garner - Ceremonial Magician

Rev. Bryan Garner is a published author, Ninjutsu instructor, lecturer and western ceremonial magician. He is currently pursuing ordination into the Apostolic Gnostic Priesthood of the Apostolic Johannite Church.

A phenomenal way to strengthen a relationship is to plan trips and initiate new experiences together. Perhaps try visiting a new place or begin a new hobby that you would both enjoy. Spend quality time together away from social media and other distractions. Perhaps you and your partner can step away from your normal routines and begin something new together. Explore new possibilities in your relationship by discussing your goals and where your partner fits into them. Be open to what your partner’s dreams entail, especially when trying something new, even if it does not initially interest you. Creating new memories with just the two of you can be the best “gifts” either of you could give to each other.

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