"My beloved is mine, and I am his; He pastures his flock among the lilies." Song of Solomon 2:16 (NASB)
Tomorrow our second son celebrates his marriage. In a world where marriage partners are changed like socks, I thought I would post some wise counsel for all those about to be married in the hopes they will remain married for ever. Our marriage has been envied over the years by people whose unions are not so joyous. We are often asked, "How do you do it?" I thought I would share with you the secret to our success today.
Be prepared- Marriage is a lot of work! Be prepared to put a lot of time and effort into making it a good one, because it won't "just happen." Remember, you are two sinners living under the same roof with all your own idiosyncrasies and personalities. There are times much grace is needed and times you will have to make heroic efforts to protect and preserve it. You will need to learn each other inside and out. This takes dedication and effort on each person's part.
Be transparent- A relationship that is shrouded in secrecy is not a relationship at all. We have no secrets, we tell each other every thing and I do mean every thing. We know each others massive screw ups of the past, thoughts, hopes, aspirations and idiosyncrasies. If one is sad or angry or fearful we tell the other.
Be honest- We don't lie to each other. Not even little lies. We don't omit the truth or tell parts of truth because that would destroy our trust. We love each other enough to say that something is wrong, ungodly, foolish or hurtful.
We are honest with our finances too. We don't spend money without the others knowledge, and when I mess up the bank account I tell him where I went wrong. My husband suggested I add to this post- we have a unified budget. We do not have his money and her money. What is his is mine and what is mine is his and it is all in the same bank account. We have seen the destruction caused by these separations in marriages.
Respect each other- There are ways of saying things that are true and hurtful and then there are ways of saying the same things that are true and kind. Respecting each other means that we think of how what we will say will be heard by the other.
We respect each others time, space and property. Everyone desires a little space or time alone occasionally and we give it willingly to each other.
Pray for each other. We come before the Lord and offer prayer for the sake of each other daily. We know each others cares and concerns, hopes and dreams and we bring them to God individually each day. At night before we close our eyes we pray together for our children and friends and our church.
Be romantic- We are forever nauseatingly romantic- We simply love to mush on each other. Our conversations are sprinkled with compliments, and "love you's." We have a secret code to tell each other we love one another while we are in public. We touch often, holding hands or putting arms around each other. We sit next to one another and touch all the time. We love to love on each other.
Be each others best friends. We certainly are! When we depart in the morning to our separate work spaces the over-riding desire is to return to one another as fast as we can. I believe we have become "one" in every sense of the word (Gen2). As is God's design, you cannot tell where one of us begins and the other ends.
We love to please each other. We practice the one-anothers of Scripture daily, putting each others preferences and desires ahead of our own, considering one another out of reverence for Christ (Phil 2).
We do not allow worldly influences in our bedroom. It is our sanctuary from the world and our place of rest. Our marriage bed is undefiled by pornography and sexual immorality.
We have fun together- actually, we make normal things of life fun when we can. If you were to follow us around you would see we act silly and say silly things to each other. We like to laugh and enjoy each others company. Our fun has not and does not come from spending money doing things, we just make normal things fun to do. We enjoy being together so much that shopping and driving around are a delight.
I kept this one for last, but by no means least- Jesus Christ is the center of our marriage. We desire to glorify Him through our marriage and so it makes all this stuff easy! It is not as much about us as it is about Him. While we fail and sin against each other from time to time there is always quick reconciliation. In fact, in all the years we have been together I can count on one hand the times we have had "a fight."
Our hope and prayer is that each of our children will have such a wonderful marriage. We have endeavored to provide a good example for them in hopes they will only make one trip down the aisle to their beloved. We pray the same for you.