My husband and I just celebrated 39 years of marriage on June 18th! As we reflected back on our lives together, we have learned four things:
- God is not just good…He is truly amazing! His faithfulness and blessings to us have been more than we could have ever asked or imagined.
- If we both had not known Jesus as our Lord and Savior, I’m not sure we would have survived each other!!
- The Holy Spirit living in us has given us wisdom, guidance and direction; mercy to forgive, even when we don’t want to; and the grace to love each other through all things and at all times.
- MARRIAGE TAKES WORK! Marriage is a commitment. Loving your spouse has to become a daily lifestyle and should be your #1 priority (behind your relationship with Jesus Christ).
Let me say it again, your marriage requires DAILY nurturing. We will never master the art and skill of marital bliss, in other words, there will never be a graduation from the School of Marriage. Why? Because we will never totally understand the character, emotions, and needs of our spouse. Every day we do our best to understand the needs of our mate: emotional, spiritual, physiological, mental and physical. Change is inevitable, “Father Time” changes us all.
A strong marriage requires restructuring your entire life as you knew it before you walked down the aisle. Philippians 2:1-4 teaches on the principles of Selfless Living. “Having the same mind…being on one accord and doing nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather value others/your spouse above yourself…seeking the interest of others/your spouse first.” Strong couples recognize that “Life Long” will include some “Life Wrong” mistakes, mess-ups and events you wish you could delete from your lives. We all wish for do-overs at times. So glad God’s Word has taught us, “Above all else, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). Can we all say Amen and Hallelujah for that verse! Know that everything that happens is for your good, your growth and God’s glory. Committed couples learn and move on better rather than getting bitter, advancing in their matriculation in God’s School of Marital Studies.Jesus Christ is our Great Teacher on Love.
- Keep Jesus Christ at the center of your marriage. He is the glue that will hold you. “A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
- Follow Christ's example to seek God first about everything. Christ's forgiveness was endless. “Forgive as He has forgiven us.”
- Demonstrate love to your spouse. “Each of you must love his wife as he loves himself, and wives must respect her husband.” (Ephesians 4:32-33)
Many of you, like us, have found much to be thankful for in spite of some difficult times. As we looked back over our journey, the path was wrought with some bumps and rocks (sometimes boulders), U-turns, unexpected twists in the road, patches of drought, deserts and the coldness of ice storms where agreement was a foreign word at times. We faced low roads and high roads, but the joy of navigating this life together with the Lord guiding us has been more than we ever imagined 39 years ago. Now, as we reflect on His goodness to us, His presence with us, and His many answers to our prayers…our cup overflows!
On the day we said “I do,” we thought we had reached the pinnacle of Love’s highest heights, but we were wrong. Our love for each other has been strengthened as we stand on God’s Promises. Hand in hand we’ve faced and won many battles because we live and we believe that our love is stronger than death – many waters cannot quench its thirst (Song of Solomon 8:6-7).
This article originally appeared on July 5, 2016 and has been reposted in honor of Valentine's Day!