I have the honor of co-officiating a wedding this afternoon. In light of that I’ve been thinking about love and marriage over the past few days. Having the privilege to pastor gives me the opportunity to interact with couples from different spheres of life, from the newly engaged to couples who have been married for 60+ years. This opportunity allows me to ask questions and see what makes marriages last.
My wife and I have only been married for 4 years so my thoughts about marriage are not merely personal (because learning takes time) but also observational from couples that have been together for decades.
These probably aren’t the most “spiritual” but here are some things I’ve learned from experience and observation:
– The happiest marriages are the most forgiving (advice from a couple married over 60 years).
– “Puppy love” is good for a season but to sustain a marriage needs commitment and sheer will power to love your sinner (I mean spouse).
– Being “cheesy” might be better than being “perfect.”
– Arguments should be viewed as restorative even when it is at 3 a.m.
– God made us to “feel” so take feelings into consideration.
– Sometimes the most “romantic” dates are those that include home made pizza, a movie on Netflix, and a toddler who goes to bed early.
– God reveals a couple’s priorities in the “mundane” of marriage like paying bills and changing diapers.
– Often times the best thing you could say is “nothing.” (You say it best when you say nothing at all – sounds like a song?)
– The “smallest thing” if not discussed and handled can become the “biggest thing.”
– Sometimes the direction of the toilet paper actually matters.
– Being tired is not an excuse for being a jerk. By the way everyone is tired.
– Saying “I’m sorry” is not the same as saying “Will you forgive me?”
– Your presence is important so be “there.” (This includes your kids)
– Quick fixes don’t resolve everything – wait and be patient.
– If you see something that needs to get done – do it. (wise advice from my dad)
– Your spouse is weird but you are probably weirder.
– If it is tough now, just wait, it will get tougher (more advice from an older couple).
– “In sickness and in health” literally means “in sickness and in health.” (watching a couple struggle through months of hospital stays)
– In many cases instead of obsessing over it, just get over it.
– You can’t say “I love you” enough just say it different ways.
– “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22
– Listen to people’s advice but remember taking advice is like eating a fish – eat the meat but spit out the bones.
– Relational boundaries are important so respect them.
– Don’t be afraid to protect your family from those who are “just trying to help.”
– You won’t know how to handle certain issues until you actually have to handle them.
– You can’t judge intentions but you can see someones intention in their actions.
– “Pre-martial counseling” should be called “pre-martial good-luck.”
– Pray to God and talk to each other.
Again these probably aren’t the most “spiritual” but God works within the practical to reveal the profound. What has the Lord showed you over the years of your marriage?