“I don’t want to have a good marriage, I want to have a great marriage!” declared a naïve, love-stricken, but determined 19 year-old young woman. That young woman was me! Today marks our 30th year of marriage, and I can honestly say that I have a GREAT marriage.
As I write, I think of all the new engagements in our church; I think of my three young adult children who are dating and considering marriage; and I think of all the marriages of friends around the world.
My heart longs for you to have a great marriage, too!
So, how did it happen? How did our marriage get to be so great?
I wish I could say that it just happened. But, it didn’t. It required certain choices every day of our 30 years. This might not sound so romantic, but the reward is worth it.
Here are a few of the choices we made:
- We chose to follow God’s design for marriage. God specifically describes His instructions for marriage in His Word. He has our best interest in mind, and it is to our advantage when we follow.
- We chose to never use the “D” word. We made the decision before we were married to never use the word “divorce.” In a great marriage, the word has no redeeming value.
- We chose to date each other. Our dates took different forms throughout the years from nice restaurants, to simple desserts when the resources were low, to romantic get-away weekends.
- We chose to love each in words and action. We speak kindly and intentionally act in love toward one another. We build up; we don’t tear down.
- We chose to forgive each other. My husband mused the other day, “We don’t really do things to one another that we have to forgive.” Interesting… When we are really “loving” each other, there isn’t much “forgiving” that we have to do.
- We chose to respect and support each other’s ideas and dreams. As two unique and completely opposite people by personality and gifting, we can easily squelch the other. But, we choose to be a safe place for each other to explore and pursue new endeavors.
- We chose to pull together when times got tough. We have had our share of pain like every married couple. We have faced the loss of an unborn child, challenges with our children, cross-cultural living, the loss of a job, financial instability and more… At our toughest moments, we hold on to each other and often say, “It’s you and me against the world.”
On our 5th anniversary my husband wrote and sang me a song entitled 5 Years Down 55 to Go! The joke was that after 60 years, we would reconsider. Well, we are halfway, baby, and I know that when we get to 60, I will want to marry you all over again!
What choices have you made or will you make to have a great marriage?