This week I would like to talk about marriage. I think every little girl dreams of meeting her prince charming, planning a spectacular wedding and wearing a beautiful dress, having the white picket fence, children and living happily ever after. She probably also fantasizes about marrying a man who loves her unconditionally, forever. Unfortunately, the happily ever after is harder to obtain than most realize. Why am I talking about love and marriage this week? Well, on May 3rd, my husband and I are celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. Thirty years! Where has time gone?
“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” Migon McLaughlin
Google describes marriage as “the legally or formally recognized union of a man and a woman (or, in some jurisdictions, two people of the same sex) as partners in a relationship.” If I were to describe marriage, I would say, “the union of two individuals, who have different thoughts, ideas, and goals, and who vow before God, their family and their friends to work as a team to build a life together.” Marriage is satisfying. Marriage is fulfilling. But, marriage is hard work.”
“You don’t marry someone you can live with; you marry the person you cannot live without.” Unknown Author
I have been blessed to attend a couple of marriage seminars with Darrell where they reminded us of the importance of never forgetting what attracted us to each other at the beginning of our relationship. I have also read books and articles on what it takes to sustain a great marriage.
I read a blog by Mitch Temple, who wrote about “Ten Successful Tips for Marriage.”. I have shared them below:
Happiness is not the most important thing. Everyone wants to be happy, but happiness will come and go. Successful couples learn to do intentional things that will bring joy back when life pulls it away.
Couples discover the value in just showing up. When things get tough and couples don’t know what to do; they need to hang in there and be there for their spouse. Time has a way of helping couples work things out by providing opportunities to reduce stress and overcome challenges.
If you do what you always do, you will get the same result. Wise couples have learned that you have to approach problems differently to get different results. Often, minor changes in approach, attitude and actions make the biggest difference in marriage.
Your attitude does matter. Changing behavior is important, but so is changing attitudes. Bad attitudes often drive bad feelings and actions.
Change your mind, change your marriage. How couples think and what they believe about their spouse affects how they perceive the other. What they expect and how they treat their spouse matters greatly.
The grass is greenest where you water it. Successful couples have learned to resist the grass is greener myth – i.e., someone else will make me happy. They have learned to put their energy into making themselves and their marriage better.
You can change your marriage by changing yourself. Veteran couples have learned that trying to change their spouse is like trying to push a rope – almost impossible. Often the only person we can change in our marriage is ourselves.
Love is a verb, not just a feeling. Everyday life wears away the “feel good side of marriage.” Feelings, like happiness, will fluctuate. But, real love is based on a couple’s vows of commitment: “For better or for worse” – when it feels good and when it doesn’t.
Marriage is often about fighting the battle between your ears. Successful couples have learned to resist holding grudges and bringing up the past. They remember that they married an imperfect person – and so did their spouse.
Crisis doesn’t mean the marriage is over. Crises are like storms: loud, scary and dangerous. But to get through a storm, you have to keep driving. Crisis can be a new beginning. It’s out of pain that great people and marriages are produced.
If I had the chance to do it again, I would, without hesitation. I know that Darrell loves me. He is faithful and devoted to me. I can ask him for his opinion on any topic, and I know he will always be honest in his response. We always have an incredible time whatever we do, whether it’s a drive on a sunny day, a trip across the country, or an evening at home in front of a bonfire. It’s not as if we haven’t had difficult times during the past 30 years. We’ve leaned on each other at the most difficult times, i.e., the deaths of my parents, his father, his brother and my sister in law. We have had money worries just like most. I am an extremely frugal woman, and I can make a dollar stretch farther than most. We have a modest home that we purchased four months after we were married. My car is in great shape but has 160,000 miles on it. But, I have a husband who loves me, I have sons who are incredibly successful and happy, two beautiful daughter-in-laws, two darling granddaughters, and…..I am happy.
An important part of my life is that I have the opportunity to meet with brides and help them with the promotional aspects of their wedding – the save the dates, the invitations, thank you notes, imprinted napkins, etched wine glasses, attendant gifts, coozies, chocolates and a myriad of other items that make their day memorable. I enjoy listening to the hopes and dreams of my brides. I try to remind them that marriage requires commitment and hard work. I pray they are listening. Marriage can be incredible if you work at it.
I will leave you with this…….
Marriage: Say “I love you!” every chance you get. Always go to bed together. Pray together. Laugh together. Cry together. Do more for them than they do for you & be thankful you have the opportunity to do it. Be supportive. Be an encourager. Have fun together. Live life together as much as possible. Last but not least – be the friend that they never had! Unknown
Have a great week!