Marriage Lessons From 10 Fantastic Years of Marriage

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On May 20th, 2000, my wife and I were married in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

On that date, we had no idea what God had in store for us.  But God has blessed us tremendously.  Our friendship has strengthened, and we’ve added three wee ones to our humble family.  My wife is my best friend and the bonds or our friendship have only strengthened.  I cannot imagine life without my precious wife.

10 Marriage Lessons I’ve Learned

It is not good for man to be alone.

God came up with the idea of marriage.  After creating so many ‘good’ things, he found the first thing that was not good – the loneliness of man.  Once his creation was complete, (with the addition of woman) God finally called the creation very good.  All I can say is, “Thank you, God, for your infinite insight and the tremendous blessing of marital partnership.”

Good marriages don’t just happen.

My wife and I have had to work at our relationship (though much of it comes naturally).  My wife has forced herself to take up extra hours of work while I’ve been sick or busy, and I in turn have done my best to support her during her times of need. 

Someone once pointed out that Hollywood doesn’t highlight true love stories.  The stories where mommy cares for three kids (4 and under) while daddy travels half way around the world just to satisfy an entrance requirement with the US government (just like I’m doing today).  But, that is true love.  The deepest and the noblest form of love.  Love is born of effort, and marital bliss flows from committed resolve – not whimsical attraction.

Choose your spouse carefully – my wife is an amazing person.

While there might be a lot of fish in the sea, there are several types of fish I can’t stand.  I’m not sure if God custom makes spouses for us, but I’m sure that he makes us in such a way that certain people can uniquely compliment our personality strengths and weaknesses. 

I accidentally stumbled into my relationship with my wife.  We met in Canada and spent months emailing.  I never intended to date her (though I would have loved to), but I told my friends she was now my standard for other women.  If they didn’t match up, I wouldn’t date.  Well, by the grace of God, we were able to meet again.  I’m thankful I was picky because I ended up with a fantastic wife.

When dating, keep eyes wide open.  When married, keep your eyes half shut.

Marriage can be hard because of the sin of selfishness.  My wife is not a perfect person, but neither am I.  We are each called to bear with the weaknesses of the other.  When you are dating, it is the time to critically consider your spouse’s flaws.  However, once you’ve got the ring, it is time to do nothing but support your spouse.  She is who she is.  I am who I am.  And we’re learning to love each other in light of both our obvious flaws.

Put your spouse above other commitments.

There have been seasons in our marriage when I’ve been committed to other obligations over and above my wife.  There have also been times when I’ve said no to other obligations just so I can spend time with my wife.

Want to venture a guess when our marriage has been the strongest?  When you commit to your marriage, the dividends are irreplaceable. 

Traveling with people you love is better than traveling alone.

My wife and I have had the opportunity to go to some stunning places.  I’ve always wanted to travel, but the few times I went places by myself, it just wasn’t for me.  However, when you get go with your best friend the world is such an amazing place to explore. 

Date often, even after kids.

I know babysitters can be expensive.  But, I firmly believe investments in relationships will always bring a greater return than investments in the stock market.  Make your relationship a priority – even if something else is put to the side.  The last thing my wife and I want to do is look at each other in 10 years and wonder who that stranger is.  We currently go on a date about three times a month. 

Marriage is an amazing blessing from God.

I hate when people talk about marriage in negative terms.  Sure, there are some awful marriages.  There are failed expectations.  But, I think those don’t point to a problem with marriage – just how we’ve managed to damage something God gave us.  Think about it, have you known anyone who enjoyed going through a divorce?  Even if it was necessary under horrible circumstances, the process was not enjoyable. 

When you talk to people about marriage, don’t get stuck in the cultural vacuum that encourages you to say negative things about it.  Marriage is a blessing from God, not a good resource for demeaning jokes. 

Give more than you plan to take.

What?  That smacks in the face of North American culture.  We like to take.  But, Jesus showed us another way of living.  One where giving was elevated above taking. 

Marriage is not a give and take relationship.  It’s a give and give relationship. 

Always speak positive words about your spouse.

Early in our marriage, my wife asked me if I tell jokes about her to other guys.  I didn’t.  I quickly figured out that my wife doesn’t want to be the source of jokes – even when she is absent.  I’m a joker by nature (interestingly thought: people who know me find it interesting that I don’t write ‘funny’ posts more often) and everything is usually fair game.  I got slapped in high school regarding a joke that related to a girl’s weight – ouch.  However, in 10 years of marriage, I’ve never said anything negative about my wife in public.  If I do have any concerns, I express those directly to her – in private.  In fact, I’d encourage all of us to go one step further and commit to saying positive things about our spouse in public.

Well, there you have it.  After 10 years, you’d think I’d be able to come up with some better tips.  But, alas, this all I have to offer.

May God richly bless you and your spouse so that more and more couples can taste the joys of a satisfying Godly marriage. 

Can I ask a favor?  Please pray for us – especially my wife as I’ll be traveling over the next 10 days.  She will be staying here in PNG while I make a quick trip to Canada and the States.  We have three kids four and under so she has a big job ahead of her.  While I don’t know how she is going to do it, I know that she is an amazing woman so she will find the strength.  While I wish I could stay, but the US government requires me to make a trip back to the US at least once a year to keep my residency valid.

What marriage lessons have you learned?

Comments

  1. Marie says

    Congratulations to you and your wife! Thank you for sharing your wisdom about marriage. I am not married, but pray that I will be one day, and I hope it is as blessed and godly a marriage as yours. :-) Safe travels to you!

  2. says

    You are truly a blessed man! Congratulations! I’m only a couple of years behind you – we hit 8 years next month – and are adding our first child.

    I like the point you make above about “When dating, keep eyes wide open. When married, keep your eyes half shut.” If you want to have a happy marriage, it really is true. Make sure you’re marrying the right person, and that you’re equally yoked. Once you’re married, always assume the best about that person, and try to be as forgiving as possible – or you’re in trouble! :)

  3. says

    I’d also like to highlight the same line as Peter:

    When dating, keep eyes wide open. When married, keep your eyes half shut.

    That really stood out to me. In fact, I just shared on Facebook.

  4. says

    I shall be praying for you both! And I like the point about keeping your spouse above other commitments. I think that is extremely important. I know that I get snappy when it seems like I am/whats important to me is placed behind ministry, work, etc.

  5. says

    “Give more than you plan to take.”
    Another way of saying this is to give without an expectation of getting something in return, other than an expectation that what you give should help the other person and help the relationship :)

    “Always speak positive words about your spouse.”

    There is a concept in Chinese culture called mian zi (pronounced “me-anne zeuh”), otherwise known as “face”; the idea is that you should not bring shame upon others nor cause them embarrassment. It can sometimes be a bit stifling when taken too far, but in the context of close loved ones I think it is a valuable concept.

    Good stuff…

  6. Arthur @ FinancialBondage.org says

    very cool. most marriages today don’t make it 10 years. You’ve already hit a major milestone.

  7. says

    Congrats on 10 years…. You sound like an amazing and hard working couple.

    I don’t fully agree we need marital partnership or that man needs woman specifically. At least we do all need good friends around us. I have been in a partnership for 3 years and my partner is also my best friend, she is the best :).

  8. Connie says

    Craig,

    Congratulations on your 10th anniversary! Thanks for the marriage lessons. Even though hubby and I celebrated 27 years in January the reminding is always needed. “Prone to wander Lord I feel it…” Very wise words you’ve shared!

    I’m praying for you and your wife :) Safe traveling mercies for you and strength for her. We have 4 children and we educate them at home. They keep me on my toes but what blessings!

  9. says

    Here’s to the next 10 years! My marriage (12 1/2 years for me,) is the greatest blessing in my life. You have excellent points here.

    Blessings and travel mercies to you and strength and patience for your lovely wife while you’re away.

  10. Phil Bullock says

    Craig, You have been a great son-in-law and an awesome husband to my daughter!!! Thank you! Love you guys, Dad Bullock

  11. says

    Congratulations Craig!

    I love this quote of yours: “But, I firmly believe investments in relationships will always bring a greater return than investments in the stock market.”

    I tend to think so much about maximizing investment returns, but money ultimately is only a tool. Good relationships are what last and are more satisfying.

  12. says

    Congratulations to the two of you on this milestone anniversary. I agree with all your tips and we just celebrated 15 years earlier this month.

    You and your family are on my prayer list this week.

  13. says

    Craig, congratulations! Marriage is truly a blessing and I thank God everyday for my wife. It sounds like you have an awesome partner in life who can help you grow in your relationship with the Lord. I think dating while you’re married is important. It’s especially difficult when you have children, but is so important to make the time to spend with your spouse. I’ll also highlight your Biblical truth about how it’s not good for man to be alone. We need our spouses and also accountability from other Christian brothers. God bless you, your wife and your family!

  14. collien says

    you are a bunch of kids this has to do with 10 steps towards a good marriage,…
    My husband just died on july 12 2010 and i still have a long way to go;;;
    it should have been called only 5 steps not ten steps to marriage 1. never call each other names. 2.go threw life like it was your last days. 3.honor each other 4 thats with respect 5 never make each other mad if you go to bed at night he or she may step on your air hose then you say oh crap now what i do??? but this eyes half closed threw marriage is a buch of crap should be eyes wide at all times never use each other reason i wrote this i saw this on wise bread hmmmm thought it was interesting and then bam got here now time to go Im not a regiliouse person just spirital love one kinda thing your web site is ok its just this 10 step course has anyone step up and grow up just honor one in other help not dr. spock sights like this oh well…
    thanks

  15. tyler says

    Craig,
    I am a marriage therapist in idaho and i have to say that I think you hit the nail on the head. If couples would really apply the things you mentioned I would gratefully be out of a job.

    • says

      Tyler,
      Thanks for the work you do working with couples. Like many things in life, these principles are easy to discuss and hard to implement. Thus, I think you will be ‘in business’ for a long time :).

  16. Want to do ALL I can to make my marriage last forever says

    Hello Just found your site and I thank you for all of your useful tips. I will definately take them in to action. If you have any more tips or ideas how I could grow old with my husband please let me in. My husband and I met in a Recovery program in Espanola, NM so we have learned how to be a support system for one another. He knows all about me and I know all about him. At least I love to think that! I know we still have alot more to learn about each other but I gotta say I am willing and ready to learn more about the one I am in love with. You have taught me a valuable lesson. Never to say anything bad about marriage cuz people do use it for jokes in public. And as for saying bad things about him in public NO MORE PROMISE. NO excuses but it was a matter of venting. Youre right thoough he is who he is and I should always complement his weaknesses and his strengths. Thanks

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