It is marriage season! Friday nights and Saturday's are already full of wedding celebrations in our town. Later this summer, our son will bring his own lovely young woman into our family and we will be officially empty nesters. We have talked a lot about this phase of life. Many marriages blow apart when the children are gone and the couple realizes they have nothing left in common. We are confident we will be among those who stay together until death parts us.
Our marriage has been envied over the years by people whose unions are not so joyous. We are often asked how we do it, and I thought today I would share with you the secrets to our success.
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 love each other enough to speak the truth even when it will be painful to hear.
We are honest with our finances. We don't spend money without the other person's knowledge. On the rare occasion that 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.
We 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 other's time, space and property. Everyone desires a little space or time alone occasionally and we give it willingly to each other.
We forgive each other. As sinners, we sometimes hurt one another. Some of those wounds have been deep! We live forgiving lives, understanding that God in Christ has forgiven us as undeserving as we are. The least we can do is to forgive with the measure with which we have been forgiven.
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.
We love to please each other. We practice the one another's of Scripture daily, putting each others preferences and desires ahead of our own, considering one another out of reverence for Christ.
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 those types of things.
We are each other's best friends. There is no one else we would rather spend time with than each other. 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 activities, we just make normal things fun to do. We enjoy being together so much that shopping and driving around are a delight. We have date night every week. It's not fancy, it's not expensive, it's time we spend together as a couple. We made it a habit when we first began dating and have kept up the practice for all of our married life.
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." This is not because we are so great...(I am quick tempered and opinionated, and he has his faults too)...it is because of Christ. We believe He honors our desire to make Him the center of our marriage and our lives.
If you make these things a part of your marriage, I think you will begin to see a dividend immediately. Love, honor, honesty, forgiveness, affection, and service all wrapped around Jesus Christ. It's a wonderful life!