I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about marriage. I mean, who gets married thinking, “Yeah, I’m going to get married and, when I get tired of my spouse, I’m going to divorce them?” No one gets married plans on getting divorced. They don’t plan on failing. But, why, then, do they?
Matthew 19:4-6: Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
Let me start at the beginning of my relationship with Scott. He and I met at church on Easter Sunday in March 1989, went on our first date two weeks later, and were engaged five weeks after that. We married in December of the same year. Needless to say, we didn’t waste any time. Scott and I used to joke, but were also very serious, about the fact that divorce wasn’t an option. We refused to give that any credence in our marriage. Now, that isn’t to say we haven’t had some rocky times, but never knocked down, drag out fights. Mostly, we’ve been very good communicators. We started that when we were dating. We talked A LOT! We became friends before we became lovers. When you aren’t feeling that loving feeling (cue the Top Gun you lost that loving feeling serenade!), your friendship is what’s going to keep it together. You don’t want to find down-the-road that you’re married to your roommate. You need to be married to your best friend.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-2: Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
About seven years after we married, we went for counseling. After having Tim, I started to place a lot of my time and effort on him, basically neglecting my husband. This is bad, in my humble opinion. We probable spent over a year in counseling together. Some of the stuff was Counseling 101. “When you ___, I feel ___ and other communication basics. It helped us open the door to conversation and show us the tools we needed to keep the line of communication open. Even if you feel like you married the wrong person, God wants your marriage to be successful. You need to work on your marriage. If that means going to counseling, speaking with another supportive couple, or a religious leader that can help you work through your problems, then you need to go. You need to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to make your marriage a successful one.
1 Peter 4:8: Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.
One of the things that I share with the nearly or the newly married is that being married takes a lot of work. If you fail to work on your marriage, it will fail. Your job is to communicate. Talk to each other. Discuss things. Consider your spouse’s opinion for even the simplest things; the things that you don’t think matter. Discuss money. Ask your spouse’s opinion. Our spouses want to feel needed. They want to feel valuable to you. When things are going bad, be the bigger person and extend the hand of truce. If you can be kind to your spouse, your spouse will eventually start wanting to be kind to you. It’s not easy, but, if you want to make your marriage work, you need to do things that aren’t easy. If you’re not sure where to start, read the Love Chapter, 1 Corinthians 13 to find out what you can do.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7: Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
What advice would you give a nearly or newly married couple?