I was unable to write this blog last week because I was celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary with my husband. Over the last 3 years I have hesitated to write much about marriage since I am far from an expert. However, in looking back, there are some things that have worked for us that you may find useful as well.
Surround yourself with like-minded people. We were a part of an engaged group, then newly married group, then a young families group at our church for the first 10 years of our married life. Older more experienced couples led, mentored and taught these groups. What we learned, what was modeled for us, and the accountability within these groups was invaluable.
Have friends who support you, your marriage and your spouse. Strive whenever possible to look for the positive in your spouse and share the positive about your spouse to the people around you. We should be their biggest fan not their biggest critic! Invest in friends who will encourage you to stay when the going gets tough and not help you create an exit plan.
Put God first, your spouse second and your children third. I believe that these are the priorities God wants for us. Loving, knowing and serving my Savior should be the most important thing in my life. I hope (God willing) to enjoy at least 50 years with my husband. We will raise our kids for 20. Putting my children before my husband does a disservice to everyone involved.
We need to leave and cleave. We spent our first 3 years of marriage in Los Angeles. This was many states and two time-zones away from our family of origin. Extended family is important, but my first priority needs to be to the family I have created with my husband.
Date your spouse. Regularly at every age and stage. Whether you have children or not. Go for a walk, have a coffee date, swap childcare, try something new together. It doesn’t have to cost much but it does need to occur on a regular basis.
Keep common interests. In the beginning you had a common interest that drew you together – church, school, a job, sport or hobby. As time passes those interests may diverge. The key is in finding and sharing new interests together.
Invite God into your marriage bed. Seriously. God designed sex as a gift intended for one man and one women within the bounds of marriage. When things are not going as they should or as you hope in this area pray about it. Discuss it with your spouse. Seek Christian resources.
And last, but not least, decide together that divorce is not an option. Do not even entertain the thought. Commit to working through the tough stuff. Seek professional Christian counseling as needed. Ask trusted friends and family to pray for healing if that is what your marriage needs.
Please know that I have outlined sweeping generalities about things that have worked for us, for our specific marriage and relationship. I know that some of what I have shared will not hold true for you and that you may disagree with some of what I have written. In the end, please know that God is for marriage and that He will partner with you to provide whatever your marriage needs.
Precious Father – thank you for the gift of marriage. May you be the center of our homes. Please strengthen and protect us Lord as we strive to build marriages that are holy and pleasing in your sight. Amen.