Happy Anniversary to my husband, David, of 21 years! 21 years of doing life together! Two kids, two guide dogs, four pound puppies, one unofficially adopted son, four homes and four ministry positions. 7,665 days of loving, learning, living, growing, sharing, and laughing! Every moment of our life together, the good, the bad and the ugly, has brought us to here, where we are today and it’s right where I want to be!
One of our favorite things to do in ministry is pre-marriage counseling. We love meeting with young couples who are ready to take that step into marriage. We understand that the “big day” is super important. The ceremony is planned down to the second. Tape is placed on the floor so everyone stands in the exact right spot so the photographer can get the best angle for the most perfect portraits. The reception is planned in the same way, so every detail is perfectly executed! And absolutely, this is how it should be, it’s their wedding day! It’s supposed to be wonderful, beautiful and all they ever dreamed it could be. In spite of all that wedding bliss, our favorite part is spending time with couples before the “big day” to prepare and plan for the “Happily Ever After.” This is where the reality of life happens. Our hope is that if we can share just a little of our journey, what we have learned and to share what the Word of God says, it will make for a stronger foundation that will support their marriage so it can be more than they ever dreamed!
Here are 5 quick marriage tips:
- God, He’s got to be a part of it. After-all, he created and ordained marriage. It was His idea. All you need to know about marriage, relationships, love, life, covenant, family, conflict resolution, money, sex, raising kids, happiness, it’s all in the Word. Let God be a priority in your daily life, allowing Him to help you become the best spouse you can be.
- You’ve heard this before. Communication in marriage is vital. You have to talk with one another. Learn to communicate well to one another. This means you need to learn how your spouse communicates, because sometimes misunderstandings are simply because your communication styles are different. And remember, you must learn to listen!!
- Keep it between the two of you. I recently heard someone ask the question, “Who is your first call?” When something really great happens or when you just really need to talk, who is your ‘first call? For most of us, before we get married, our first call is a parent, a sibling or a best friend. And naturally, as it should be, that “first call” transitions to the one we fall deeply and madly in love with. He or she becomes our “first call.” But let me caution you, when your spouse is the one who just frustrated you or just doesn’t understand you, don’t revert to your first call being a parent, sibling or best friend. Don’t ever allow yourself to talk negatively about your spouse to others. In many cases what happens is you and your spouse come together, solve your disagreement and make up and all is well. Your parent, sibling, best friend or whoever doesn’t get to be part of this process and their opinion and thoughts toward your spouse can become jaded. The reality is there will be disagreements, disappointments and misunderstandings and lots of making up! This is part of marriage and it’s part of uniting you together as one. Now, let me be clear, I am speaking here of those day to day misunderstandings and issues that happen to all of us. When it comes to a total disconnect as a couple, infidelity, safety or situations you can’t overcome as a couple, seek out trusted counsel.
- Recognize and embrace your differences. The reality is you are 2 different people, raised by different parents, in different homes. You were each raised with different traditions, different ways of doing life. And you are two different genders, uniquely created by God. You will process things differently, one way is not necessarily the right or wrong way, it’s just different. If we as couples will recognize our differences and embrace them, learn from them, then together we begin to become one and our marriages are strengthened.
- Don’t let money come between the two of you! Money is a part of life. We need it to survive. Make a decision together that you will not allow money or the lack of money to affect the strength of your marriage. There will be times when a bowl of ramen noodles and re-runs on public television are all you’ve got for a date night. Money will come and go, sometimes you’ll have more than enough and sometimes you’ll be short. It’s like the old 70’s song by Loggins and Messina, Even though we ain’t got money, I’m so in love with you honey…..everything’s gonna be alright.”
I guess this is the part of this article where I tell you how great my husband is and how much I love him and can’t live without him. I’ll save you the mushy stuff, he knows he’s “Still the One,”because I fell “Head Over Feet”a long time ago, so “Let’s Hear It for the Boy!” Alright, alright, I’ll quit, I might have just gone a little over board! Love will do that to you though, it makes you a little crazy….”Crazy for You!”
If your wedding day is fast approaching or you are just starting out, our favorite book to use is “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts.”We have been using this book and the accompanying workbooks for several years and we love them!