I keep reading about and hearing about marriages breaking up, and not just in Hollywood. All the talk about divorce and broken homes breaks my heart. I hurt for the children, I hurt for the husbands, I hurt for the wives, I hurt for the grandparents, I hurt! I wish everyone had a great relationship. I pray that people will learn that marriage is not always about having positive emotions. I wish every couple understood that successful marriages take work. Recently, we celebrated my in-laws’ Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary. They will tell you that 50 years together did not come without adversity. Any couple, who is honest will admit to hardships in their relationships. But how? How do couples in today’s culture make marriage last?
I am going to share a few “tricks.” These are not new, but they work. They are working for my
parents, my in-laws, and for Amy and me (we will celebrate our 24th Wedding Anniversary on August 12, 2013). Here are some of the things we do to make our marriage work.
- Communicate: We talk with each other. WITH not TO. “With” indicates that both of us engage in the conversation. We both share and we both listen. For me that means, closing the book, turning away from the TV or whatever else might have my attention and focusing on Amy.
- Be Together: We work in the house together, we work outside in the garden together. We cook together, watch TV/Movies together. We are fortunate to have occupations that allow us to help each other in many ways. I could not be the minister I am without her. She will tell you that she could not do all she does for her children at school without my help and support.
- Support: Togetherness and communication imply support. I mention support separately because support takes effort. It would be easy to excuse myself from supporting Amy because of my schedule and she could do the same. Support takes sacrifice on the part of both to help each other.
- Love: As the presenter said when I was still in high school, “Love is not a feeling you feel when you feel like you’ve never felt before. That could be a kidney stone.” Love is more than an emotion that makes you feel warm-fuzzies. Love is an action that places the well-being and happiness of another person before your own. Love says by word and deed, I value you above all others.
- Exclusivity: Your relationship with your spouse is priority one. This relationship supersedes ALL other human relationships. This relationship is more important than the one with your parents. Your marriage relationship is more vital than work or work related meetings. Your marriage relationship existed before your children entered this world and if you want it to continue, it comes before your relationship with your children. Marriage vows commonly include phrasing similar to this, “I vow to keep myself for you and for you alone . . .” That is a promise of exclusivity.
There are more but these a form a good foundation.