No government subcommittee envisioned it.
No social organization developed it.
Marriage was conceived and born in the mind of God.”
~ Max Lucado
This past weekend I attended a 50th wedding anniversary celebration where a couple from church renewed their wedding vows followed by a nice dinner at a local hotel.
As we watched this lovely couple pledge their faith and renew their commitment to one another and their families, I kept thinking about the examples they set for others. They have servants’ hearts for God, others and each other. Married 50 years, and they continue to go on trips together, show affection toward one another and model Jesus in the skin.
I didn’t need to ask about their secret of a successful marriage because I knew–when they recited their first vows in 1962, they didn’t repeat words. They made a promise to one another and to God. They put others before themselves. They maintained a strong faith in their household. He is so considerate of her, and I’ve never heard her speak a negative word about him. They have raised four children together and continue to model Jesus in the skin for their grandchildren. I know they’ve had their problems, but they don’t put them on display for public viewing.
In today’s society, marriage gets a bad rap and is often proclaimed as an archaic institution. Many people are blinded by infatuation and lust and rush into marriage before taking the time to consider making a promise for a lifetime. Check out the tabloids and you’ll see headlines of marriages lasting hours. Why is celebrating 50 years a momentous milestone instead of a norm?
I believe it’s a combination of 4 Cs: choice, commitment, compromise and communication.
- Marriage is a choice. We live in a society where marriage is a choice unless you grew up in a culture where your future spouse is chosen for you. The majority of us met our spouses, fell in love, and chose to spend our lives together. Sometimes people put more thought into buying a car than into their marriage.
- Marriage is a commitment. Many people put their own wants, needs and desires first–before God and before their intended or current spouses. Putting yourself below God and the needs of your spouse doesn’t mean you should be a doormat or your spouse’s slave. Putting God and others before yourself is a Biblical command that applies to marriage and to life.
- Marriage is a compromise. Maintaining a strong and healthy marriage takes work, consideration and compromise. God instructed the husband to be the leader in the home, but the wife is his support. Making decisions together and reaching compromises shows your ability to work together.
- Marriage is about communication. I believe this is the biggest obstacle married couples need to overcome–failure to communicate. Yes, it’s tough talking to your spouse about certain subjects, but if you’re willing to rant to your friends about the things that bug you, why can’t you talk to the one you promised to love, honor and cherish for the rest of your life? And, by the way, I’m so guilty at this, but getting better. We all have those lies that echo in our heads, and those lies flare up when the need to talk with our spouses about the big things arises. Whether it’s money, parenting styles or even drawing attention to an issue that drives you nuts, you need to talk about it. Otherwise, resentment builds a wall between the two of you. Before you handle those tough issues, pray about it, seek wise counsel from a trusted individual such as your pastor, then go to your spouse when you have his or her full attention, and ask, “Hey, can we talk?” Be sure to begin your conversation with you instead of directing the blame on your spouse. For example, “I have concerns about the way our budget is being handled.” instead of “You’re doing a crappy job of making the house payment on time.” Speak to your spouse in love and focus on the positive.
I completely understand marriages do fall apart despite a spouse’s or a couple’s best efforts to keep it together. I believe there are solid reasons for dissolving a marriage, but that’s a different blog post.
Each marriage is different, and your relationships are unique. Comparing your relationship to someone else’s is like comparing your kids. Pray for your spouse daily. Ask for God’s anointing on your marriage. Support and encourage your spouse to be the best he or she can be. Together, you can strive for that 50th anniversary milestone.
Your turn: What’s the best piece of marital advice you’ve been given? What advice would you share with a newlywed couple?
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