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?