This month, my wife and I celebrate 19 years of marriage. Here are a few things I have learned about marriage:
- Pray together to stay together. Pray for and with each other daily. Some couples find it weird or awkward to pray together. You must overcome the weirdness. Prayer helps create a bond between you both. You grow together spiritually. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. Talk, call, text, email. Lear to express your feelings. Lack of communication stifles marriages. This also requires the need to listen. Not to simply hear, but to listen to what the other is saying. It is better to over-communicate, than to under-communicate. Secrets are the foundation of trouble.
- Leave and cleave. Be careful how much friends and family involvement you allow. Have each other’s backs. Do not attack, slander your spouse to your family, friends, or online.
4. Handle finances together. Budget together. Handle finances well. Financial infidelity leads to problems. Debt can destroy your marriage.
5. Respect each other. Calling each other names, sarcasm and derogatory statements can destroy your spouse. Be patient and caring. Be the C.E.O. (Chief Encouraging Officer) for each other.
6. Forgive each other. You will offend and disappoint each other. Apologize when wrong. Don’t be stubborn. Saying I’m sorry is a sign of strength not weakness. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32
7. Spend time together. Your time together must be a priority. Love is spelled T-I-M-E. Spend quality time with the person you love. Date your mate. Keep the fire burning through dates. Enjoy each other’s company. Put the smartphones down. Disconnect to reconnect.
8. Be faithful. There will always someone more handsome/beautiful than your spouse. Be faithful to your spouse. Go on dates. Keep your love fresh and growing.
9. Love is decision. Love is not just a feeling. You will wake up one day saying, “What did I do?” You married that person, that’s what you did. Decide to stay in love, even when the going gets tough.
10. Think in twos. Involve each other in all decision-making efforts. Check with your spouse first, before agreeing to something.
11. Right company. Surround yourselves with other couples and mentors who encourage, challenge, and support your marriage. There are many forces working against your marriage. Build a hedge of protection around your marriage through your support network.
12. Testimony. Let you marriage be a testimony to your children, family, friends, church, and community. Set an example so that many want to have a marriage like yours. Your children are watching you. Do this marriage thing right!