This week I want to talk about marriage. I am not talking about the “they lived happily ever after” part of marriage. I want to discuss the “marriage takes a lot of hard work” aspect of marriage. As a little girl, I dreamed of marrying a prince, living in a beautiful home, having children, and taking great vacations. No one told me that marriage wasn’t all fun and games. I had no idea that there would be times when we had to feed our family for a month on what most people spend out at a restaurant for one meal or that to pay the sports and uniform fees for our sons, we would have to juggle some of our bills. These are the things that should be taught in a marriage class. These are the times that make you stronger. Why am I talking about marriage? On Wednesday, May 3, 2017, my husband Darrell and I will celebrate our 31st anniversary.
“You don’t marry someone you can live with; you marry the person you cannot live without.” Unknown Author
When I look at my life, I have to admit that I have truly been blessed. We purchased our home four months into our marriage, we raised our sons to be incredible men, and we have traveled throughout the United States by air and by car. I am happy, truly happy. I love spending the evening in our backyard sitting in front of a bonfire. I enjoy taking our Mustang convertible for a long drive on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I guess that what I am trying to say is that it doesn’t take money to make me happy. I enjoy spending time with my husband, whether it’s working in our yard, working out in the gym, spending a lazy afternoon cuddled in bed watching a movie, or trying a new restaurant.
I am often asked for the secret to a long marriage. I don’t believe there is a single secret that keeps a marriage healthy. Today I will discuss a few important reasons my marriage has lasted into its third decade.
“A strong marriage requires two people who choose to LOVE each other even on those days when they struggle to like each other.” DaveWillis.org
As a child, my mom would often say, “a family that prays together stays together.” I believe that marriage takes three. If God is a part of your marriage, you can get through anything.
Marriage is hard work. I think it is important to find the time to share time together outside of paying bills, cleaning the house and worrying about the children. Carve out a few hours per month to spend quality time alone together. Go out on a date together. Hold hands. Kiss in the car. Laugh. Remind yourselves why you were attracted to each other in the first place.
I am often surprised when I hear that a couple is breaking up. It is usually a couple who to the outside world seemed like a “good fit.” I think you have to be ready to fight for your marriage. My husband and I often disagree. He married a head-strong Norwegian, and I married a stubborn German. But when we stop long enough to listen to each other, we can come up with a solution. The “for better or for worse” line of the vows is in there for a reason. You won’t always agree. Sometimes you have to agree to disagree.
The Grass Isn’t Greener
Sometimes the neighbor’s grass looks greener, but it’s because it has been watered. Let’s face it…life is busy. We often put the needs of others ahead of our own. A plant that isn’t watered will not live long. The same can be said of marriage. It takes nurturing, and it takes commitment.
Never be too busy to talk. If you cannot talk over dinner (believe me I understand, I’m married to a salesman who often isn’t home before 8:30 or 9 pm), spend some time together before turning out the lights at night. That may mean keeping the television off, but really, what’s more important? My husband and I discuss everything. I bounce ideas about my company off of him, and often he plays the devil’s advocate, so I will look at every aspect of the situation.
I will leave you with this:
Most people get married believing a myth that marriage is a beautiful box full of all the things they have longed for; companionship, intimacy, friendship, etc. The truth is, that marriage at the start is an empty box. You must put something in it before you can take anything out. There is no love in marriage. Love is in people, and people put love in marriage. There is not romance in marriage; you have to infuse it into your marriage. A couple must learn the art, and form the habit of giving, loving, serving, praising, of keeping the box full. If you take out more than you put in, the box will be empty. Author Unknown
Have a blessed week!
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