Today is our 18th wedding anniversary! I am thankful to GOD for those 18 years and especially the last 2. Marriage is to have and hold from that day forward (for us, that would be June 12, 1999), for better or worse; richer or poorer; sickness and health; honor, cherish, obey…and everything in between. Our union has seen the extremes of all the vows. It has not been a bed of roses for 18 years, but it has been a daily decision to have and hold from that day forward, and it still is in God’s hands.
I got married at 22, and now at age 40 – there are some things I have learned, but marriage is a 24/7 lesson in a class that I’m making every effort to pass with flying colors. 18 lessons…
- You got married because you loved the person. Love them unconditionally even on the days when you don’t LIKE them, love them ANYWAY. Remember you love them when they’re behaving in an unlovable manner. Bring to the forefront why you stood before God and witnesses and love them through it.
- Pay attention! Don’t leave each other uncovered. It gives the devil an open door to walk right in and take up residency in your relationship. You’ll look around and wonder what happened here and what happened is you let the enemy in, but you have the power to evict him out of your life and he can’t stay when you do.
- TALK TO EACH OTHER! It can be as routine as “how was your day” to more serious topics, but don’t let every conversation be a moment of contention. Don’t go into every conversation prepared for battle. Be genuinely interested in what your spouse has to say and what they have going on, not just waiting your turn to overtake the conversation. If they can’t tell you about their day, they surely aren’t going to come to you when there’s a real issue.
- Friendship is key. If you find your friendship is fading in the abyss of life, find a way to get your friend back. Go out and do something, laugh, play a game, whatever it takes. You’re their friend first before any of their crew.
- It is OK if you aren’t just alike. It is OK to not like all the same things. Being married doesn’t mean you have to be up under each other ALL the time. Gred day! You both need things to do that is just for you and again that’s OK.
- Your relationship is YOUR relationship. Comparing yourself to others is a recipe for resentment and contempt to set in; HOWEVER, you don’t know what is going on in someone else’s relationship. Tend to yours and yours alone.
- What GOD has joined together, let no man put asunder. Don’t be that man or woman. Sometimes we sabotage our own good thing. #thatisall
- Ladies, if your spouse is leading as God has commanded; loving you as Christ loved the church; close your mouth and LET HIM LEAD, ya hear. Submission is not a bad word. I thought it was and by no means was any man gonna tell me what to do, but that was immature thinking and lack of understanding of God’s word. You are partners, but he is the head.
- Choose your battles. You don’t have to give your two cents and harp on every little thing your spouse does. Some things are just how they are. Unless it’s gonna cause true detriment to your relationship, let them be great. Is it REALLY that serious? I doubt it.
- No one is perfect, but God made someone who is perfect FOR YOU. No, he or she may not be who you would have carved out for yourself but we aren’t God. He knows best!
- At the end of the day, can you live without them? Only you can answer that. When it’s worth it, fight all you can and let God handle what you can’t.
- Psalm 127:3 says that children are a heritage of the Lord, but you didn’t marry your child. Your spouse comes first after God. Being the best husband and wife to each other you can be will only help your role as parents.
- Hear what isn’t spoken as much as what is. Spouses, in an effort to keep the peace, may not always say exactly what’s on their mind. This could escalate into resentment and being closed off. Make every effort to truly be in sync with your spouse’s feelings and don’t make them feel as if what they think and feel doesn’t matter to you.
- Expand your horizons. No, you don’t have to like each and everything your spouse enjoys, but TRY to do something with them that they enjoy. It shows you’re attentive to them and really love them enough to put your opinions aside and just revel in their company, which brings me to #15.
- It’s NOT all about YOU. I’m spoiled. I admit it, but I had to learn a hard lesson about being self-absorbed at times. You don’t have to be the center of the world to be his or her heart. You don’t have to be announced each time you enter the living room to be seen. Your marriage is greater than both of you because someone is always watching – friends, family, your children. People take the sacredness of marriage as a joke, so couples are needed who can stand up for marriage – the good, the bad and the ugly.
- That is YOUR spouse and YOUR marriage. Anyone who isn’t you or your spouse needs to mind their business. “They” are listening and so is the enemy. Don’t give out the bullets to the gun that could be used to kill your relationship. If you must speak, be careful that whoever has your best interest at heart. You don’t need an amen corner to foolishness, nor do you need people all in the “what they’d do” and “what they’d say” and “what they wouldn’t take” club.
- When times gets rough, recall your why. A smile, hug, kiss go a long way. Kiss and make up and stop acting up.
- In all things, give thanks. God granted you all the time you’ve been with this individual and people change, but the essence of why you said yes and then I do are still the same. Keep learning and loving and STAY TOGETHER!