Beating 50 Percent is a marriage ministry founded by Audrey and Jeremy Roloff. Together, they encourage couples to give more than 50% in their marriages. Their mission is to cultivate covenant marriages that strive to be better than average. 

In January, Audrey and Jeremy shared they were encouraged by premarital counselors to set healthy boundaries in their relationship. They creatively called these boundaries the “black and whites” of their marriage.

In today’s news, many celebrity couples are calling it quits. Divorce announcements have the power to leave fans devastated and discouraged. It causes impressionable fans to wonder: Does true love even exist?!

 So, Stephanie and I wanted to team up to flip the script on this somber narrative and redefine #relationshipgoals!

Together, we hope to create a healthier conversation about dating and marriage by sharing a few of our “black and whites.” Maybe some of them will sound familiar to you?  

Stephanie & Patrick

A brief backstory, since I’m new here:

My boyfriend and I have been friends for three years and almosttt dating for A YEAR! Katrina and Jeremy have confidently shared it’s a blessing to find someone who shares your faith, values, and interests;Pat and I wholeheartedly echo their beliefs! 

As promised, here are a few of our “black and whites” that have helped us strive for a “better than average” relationship: 

  1. ALWAYS SPEAK KINDLY

Whether it’s in person or in private, we promise to always speak kindly. We say “I love you” often, greet each other with affection, and say “thank you” for the little things. We don’t complain about or insult each other in public or private. Kindness and compassion go a long way! 

  1. NEVER STOP DATING

Pat and I love a good date night, especially when we can clink our wine glasses over a bread basket. Together, we’ve created our own chocolate, explored wineries, and attended our favorite musical. Pat declared early on, “Steph, I never want to stop dating you.”  Be committed to making the “honeymoon phase” last a lifetime! 

  1. DON’T COMPARE THE RELATIONSHIP 

Full transparency, it’s not always easy to deal with your partner’s past. To help us be mindful of this, we promised to never compare each other to someone else’s partner OR our previous partners. So, I would never say, “My ex always bought me flowers for my birthday. Why don’t you ever buy me flowers?!” This language insinuates that I wish Pat could be like someone else, or that he is not good enough. Be focused on your partner– they are wonderfully made! 

Katrina & Jeremy

For those of you that don’t know Jeremy and I: We have been friends since we were 16! We tried dating a few times during and after college but it didn’t stick until Jeremy finished grad school – and now we have now been married for almooost a year. 

I am in complete agreement with all that Steph shared – it is an absolute joy to tackle life with the person who sees life through the same lens as you! 

Jeremy and I share a growth mindset, which spills over and drives our relationship. Much like Steph and Pat, we have ground rules that are in place to help strengthen our marriage. Being married is the fastest and easiest way to expose our flaws, and we never want to become complacent or critical towards one another. 

Jeremy and I love learning from other couples, counselors and mentors. The guidelines we have in place to grow our relationship are based on our own experience, as well as the experiences of those wiser than us. 

  1. COMMUNICATE (EVEN IF IT HURTS)

One difficult conversation now is always better than a painful argument later. If you don’t tackle issues as they come up it will lead to passive aggression & passive aggression has no place in a relationship. Communicating in a tactful and loving way does – and this includes arguments. During arguments, only discuss one item at a time – do not unleash multiple wrongs you have been waiting to call your partner out on. If you were hurt or bothered by a previous circumstance, that issue should have been addressed when it came up. Stick to the issue at hand. And please remember your partner cannot read your mind – so don’t put that expectation on them. 

  1. LOSE YOUR EXPECTATIONS 

We scroll social media and see the highlight reel of other people’s engagement rings, babies, dogs, and houses – we draw an automatic comparison to our own life and set unrealistic expectations for our partner based on an edited photo. Smash those expectations. Your partner is not perfect, they will fail you. Not because they are a bad person, but because they are not Jesus – it’s inevitable that they will let you down at some point. Love keeps no record of wrongs. Loving your partner wholeheartedly means putting aside your scoreboard and joyfully finding ways to add value to your relationship. Sometimes you will have to carry more weight than you originally anticipated in order to best serve your marriage for a season. The key to truly falling in love with a person and your journey together is releasing them from the chains of your preconceived expectations. Learn to joyfully embrace where life plants you and how you are called to live it together. I promise it will never be what you think. 

  1. WORK FOR IT   

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Treat your partner with the same love, respect, and compassion you want to be treated with. If you pour sarcasm, name calling, and negativity into your relationship, what do you expect to get out? You must do the work. A true relationship or marriage will be the most difficult and rewarding job you will ever have in your lifetime – I wholeheartedly believe that. The honeymoon stage ends for those who lose sight of the true joy it is to work through life with someone. If you love someone, lift them up, and humble yourself enough to apologize when you bring them down. Make the choice to work hard – love your partner with honor and joy every single day. 

While we are not claiming to be all-knowing relationship gurus, we do believe in implementing healthy boundaries! 

Jesus always calls us for more — more honor, more love, and more compassion. Honoring and loving someone at your full capacity takes work. You only get out of it what you put in – passive aggression, keeping score, comparison, and disrespect are key ingredients to a sour relationship. 

Question to consider: What are some of the “black and whites” you have in your relationship? We’d love to hear from you! 

#relationshipgoals #beating50percent #healthyboundaries

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